This post introduces a Health Affairs short series “Honoring Tim Jost.” I (Chris Fleming) had the opportunity to collaborate with Tim for many years on his seminal rapid-response work on health reform in Health Affairs Blog, and on the Eye on Health Reform columns in the journal. Thus, for me it is both a personal pleasure and professional honor to feature these posts about Tim.
As Don Berwick said, “Tim Jost is to American health care policy what a GPS is to a dark and unfamiliar road; what Carl Sagan was to astronomy; what Barbara Tuchman was to history. He makes the potentially inaccessible accessible.” And as important as Tim has been to health law and policy, he has been equally important to Health Affairs and those of us who work here. Thanks Tim – we look forward to continuing to enjoy your work and your friendship.
It is our privilege to introduce this Health Affairs Blog short series celebrating the pioneering work of Timothy Stoltzfus Jost. Perhaps no other legal scholar has touched more areas of the field, or done more to explain the field to generations of lawyers, health policy makers, practitioners and government officials. The series grows out of a Zoom “Festshrift” earlier this year at which multiple speakers discussed Tim’s many contributions to health law and policy.
One of us (Rosenbaum) met Tim during the 1970s, doing legal services work. Tim already had emerged as one of the nation’s best young Medicare and Medicaid lawyers. The other one of us (Gluck) met Tim in 2009, when the Affordable Care Act was taking shape, just before Tim launched a decade of masterfully explaining every facet of the ACA, its implementation, and its litigations to the entire nation via Health Affairs Blog.
The Festschrift joyfully revealed Tim’s decades of contributions in one panoramic fell swoop, and this blog series continues in that vein. James Weill introduces Tim the legal services lawyer, detailing Tim’s work at the beginning of his career with the Legal Assistance Foundation of Chicago in the city’s Uptown community. Then there is Tim the educator who, together with Barry Furrow, Tim Greaney, Sandra Johnson, and Robert Schwartz—as they detail in their contribution to the series–created a historic casebook that made health law a respected discipline of study at American law schools.
Later, as described by Mark Regan, there was Tim the advocate, who has influentially shaped the ACA’s course in the Supreme Court. And, perhaps best known to readers of Health Affairs, there is Tim the health policy translator, on whom laypeople, experts and journalists alike have relied to navigate the ACA’s 22,000 pages of statutory text, and subsequently millions of pages of rules and subregulatory documents, and on whom policymakers have relied to understand the challenges that awaited them. In our view, his Health Affairs Blog “Following The ACA” work and piece like his July 2010 Commonwealth Fund report, Health Insurance Exchanges and the Affordable Care Act: Key Policy Issues, are prize-worthy paradigms of the highest quality translational health policy analysis. Sara Collins describes this aspect of Tim’s work, as does Chris Fleming in his editor’s note.
Ted Marmor and Fran Miller write about Tim through the prism of the politics of health reform. Focusing on the struggle to define the values that should underlie health law, Chris Newdick writes about Tim the comparative-health-law legend, as admired by international figures for his work on the health care systems of other nations as he is here in the U.S. And John Jacobi offers a discussion of telehealth policy inspired by Tim’s work.
In expressing their universal admiration and respect, each person who spoke about Tim at the Festschrift earlier this summer or who writes about him for this series shares the same sense of this extraordinary man: Tim has boundless strength, brilliance, and energy. He has incomparable speed and fastidious attention to detail. But above all else, Tim is sincere, decent, honest, and generous to the core. He embodies the concept of the greater good. And his work reflects it across every dimension
Thank you, Tim, for giving us the opportunity to reflect on your life’s work and to think about the long arc of the development of the field you have helped to build. It was a special privilege to share reflections with Tm’s extraordinary spouse Ruth, and his wonderful sons and their families and get a glimpse into aspects of life at home. We learned along the way that, in addition to everything else, Tim is a marvelous cook. Where in heaven does he find the time to cook?
A half century of Tim Jost’s work is not enough, of course, and Tim is far from done from teaching us. But we are delighted to be able to pause here, reflect, remember, and celebrate all that this extraordinary scholar has contributed in the name of justice, fairness, and equality.