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Robert I. Field

Professor of Law, and Health Management and Policy, Drexel University
Areas of Expertise:

About Robert

Field's research combines legal and public health perspectives to explore the relationship between the public and private sectors in health care. His primary focus is on health care regulation as a tool for policy change, both in the United States and in comparative perspective. An additional area of focus is the legal and ethical basis for vaccination policy. Overarching themes in Field's writing include the role of government programs in creating and sustaining the private health care industry, the evolution of health care regulation and its relation to policy implementation, hospital reforms in the United States and France as reflections of cultural and ethical values, and the balance of ethical values in vaccine mandates. Field serves on the governing and advisory boards of several nonprofit organizations involved in communication, technology assessment, and ethical consultation on biotechnology development. He also writes and edits a blog on health policy issues for a major news website. 

In the News

Opinion: "Coronavirus Lesson No. 1: You Never Know When You, And Everyone around You, Will Need Public Health," Robert I. Field, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 16, 2020.
Opinion: "Coronavirus lesson No. 1: You Never Know When You, and Everyone Around You, will Need Public Health ," Robert I. Field, The Philadelphia Inquirer, March 16, 2020.
Interviewed in "The ACA in 2019: Will it Face a Reckoning?," Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio, Sirius XM, January 11, 2019.
Opinion: "Latest Obamacare Ruling is an Assault on Logic," Robert I. Field, The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 19, 2018.
Interviewed in "Hospitals to List Service Costs Online January 1st due to New Federal Rule," 6ABC-TV, Philadelphia, December 19, 2018.
Interviewed in "No Affordable Care Act Could Cause Chaos in Healthcare System, Local Experts Say," 6ABC-TV, Philadelphia, December 17, 2018.
Interviewed in "Amazon, AI and Medical Records: Do the Benefits Outweigh the Risks?," Knowledge@Wharton Business Radio, Sirius XM, December 7, 2018.
Quoted by Priyanka Dayal McCluskey in "With Beth Israel-Lahey Merger, State Charts New Course on Health Course," Boston Globe, December 3, 2018.
Opinion: "A Lethal Game of Chicken: The Next Trade War with China could be a Matter of Life and Death," Robert I. Field, The Philadelphia Inquirer, September 7, 2018.


"Mother of Invention: How the Government Created 'Free-Market' Health Care" (Oxford University Press, 2013).

Traces the evolution of four key health care industry sectors, pharmaceuticals, hospitals, physician practice, and health insurance, to explain the role of government regulatory and funding programs in creating and sustaining them.

"Evidence-Based Decision Making for Vaccines: The Need for an Ethical Foundation" (with Arthur L. Caplan). Vaccine 30, no. 6 (2012): 1009-1013.

Explains and analyzes ethical conflicts in the use of evidence-based decision making for formulating vaccine policy in developing countries.

"The Malpractice Crisis turns 175: What Lessons Does History Hold for Reform?" Drexel Law Review 4, no. 1 (2011): 7-39.

Traces the history of the perception of a medical malpractice "crisis" to its origins in the 1830s and considers three possible causes for the emergence of this concern: advancing technology, increasing standardization of practice, and expanding professional autonomy. Proposes changes to the nature of physician business autonomy as the most fruitful avenue to meaningful reform.

"Government as the Crucible for Free Market Health Care: Regulation, Reimbursement, and Reform" University of Pennsylvania Law Review 159, no. 6 (2011): 1660-1726.

Explains the importance of government policy in creating and sustaining for the for-profit health care industry, the symbolic relationship between the public and private health care sectors, and the importance of this relationship to passage of the Affordable Care Act.

"A Proposed Ethical Framework for Vaccine Mandates: Competing Values and the Case of HPV" (with Arthur L. Caplan). Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 18, no. 2 (2008): 111-124.

Proposed an approach to graphical analysis of conflicts between ethical principles in government vaccine mandates and applies it to proposed mandates for HPV vaccination of school children.

"Health Care Regulation in America: Complexity, Confrontation and Compromise" (Oxford University Press, 2006).

Explains the nature and history of regulatory programs and agencies that oversee the American health care industry, including physician practice, hospitals, finance, pharmaceuticals, and biomedical research.