Democracy Between the Lines

Medicaid, Federalism, and the People’s Trust

What’s the scope of democracy? Is it defined by formal procedures, such as voting, volunteering, or running for office? Or should we understand democracy, for most people, to include all their interactions with public agencies and programs that shape their view of societal obligations and government? 

In Fragmented Democracy, Cornell University Professor Jamila Michener argues that how people are served or not served by social policy shapes how they perceive their own political power and meaning. Focusing on Medicaid, and the disparities created by its federalist structure, Michener’s work shows that the unequal politics of Medicaid affects not only health but the well-being of American democracy.

Join the Political Reform and Family-Centered Social Policy Programs at New America for an discussion of the evidence that unequal, poorly designed programs decrease public trust and that better state policies can improve the well-being of individuals as well as civic life. Experts across journalism, government, and academia will bring their own perspectives on the connection between policy choices and democratic politics.


Jamila Michener@povertyscholar 
Assistant Professor, Cornell University 
Author of Fragmented Democracy

Perry Bacon Jr., @perrybaconjr 
Senior writer, FiveThirtyEight 
Class of 2015 New America National Fellow

Reggie Gordon, @ReggieGordonRVA 
Director, Office of Community Wealth Building

Avi Green, @AviEGreen 
Executive Director, Scholars Strategy Network 

Leena Sharma, @CCEHI
Project Manager/Senior Policy Analyst of Center for Consumer Engagement in Health Innovation, Community Catalyst 


Rachel Black, @NewAmericaFCSP 
Co-Director, Family-Centered Social Policy, New America 

Reception to follow. 

Copies of Fragmented Democracy will be available for purchase.

Follow the conversation online using #FragmentedDemocracy and following @PolReformNA.