Max J. Skidmore

University of Missouri Curators’ Professor of Political Science and Thomas Jefferson Fellow, University of Missouri - Kansas City
Chapter Member: Confluence SSN
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About Max

Skidmore teaches courses in the politics of Social Security and health care at University of Missouri-Kansas City. He is the author of books, articles, and chapters on social insurance. Skidmore is also a member of the Commission on Aging of Mid-America Regional Council (the local AAA); speaks widely on Social Security, Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act; participated in the recent National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare’s White House Summit for Community Leaders; and will also be a participant in the forthcoming AARP national forum on Social Security. He is also the founding editor and current editor-in-chief of the peer-reviewed journal: Poverty and Public Policy: a Global Journal of Social Security, Income, Aid, and Welfare.


In the News

Quoted by Helen Chernikoff in "Honor T.R.? Okay, but Not This Way," New York Daily News, October 15, 2017.
Interviewed in "Professors on Politics," UMCK Independent News, February 22, 2016.
Opinion: "The Young, the Old, and Medicare," Max J. Skidmore, New York Times, July 3, 2011.
Opinion: "The Insurance Mandate: Is It Legal?," Max J. Skidmore, New York Times, December 17, 2010.


"Economics, Adjudication, and (Above All) Politics: Health Care Reform and the Public Good" New Economic Perspectives (April 2012).
Traces the long campaign against social insurance, and counters negative propaganda regarding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
"The Affordable Care Act: Dispensing the Fog of Misinformation" Poverty and Public Policy 4, no. 1 (2012).

Uses a review of Joanathan Gruber’s innovative graphic presentation, "Health Care Reform," to launch an essay examining the cant that pervades discussions of health care today. The essay documents the existence and nature of the deliberate campaign to distort public understanding of the subject, and explores the history of that propaganda campaign.

"The History and Politics of Health Care in America: From the Progressive Era to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act" Poverty and Public Policy 3, no. 1 (2011).

Examines the political history of health care legislation in the United States in an essay that includes – but is not limited to – a review of "Health Care Reform and American Politics" by Lawrence Jacobs and Theda Skocpol.

"Scholarly Support for Social Security: A Political History of Prevailing Beliefs, and of the Growing Number of Works Demonstrating that the ‘Conventional’ Often is Not ‘Wisdom’" Poverty and Public Policy 3, no. 4 (2011).

Discusses the principles of Social Security that counter the prevailing misinformation. Identifies a dozen or so works of the last decade and a half that demonstrate errors in the conventional wisdom.

"Securing America’s Future: A Bold Plan to Preserve and Expand Social Security" (Rowman and Littlefield, 2008).
Goes beyond Social Security and its Enemies, below, to recommend expansion of America’s Social Security system and revision of its financing (removal of the cap on wages subject to FICA, exemption of the first $20,000 of wages from FICA with no penalty to workers, etc.). The recommendations aim at providing a full, portable, retirement system, rather than merely “one leg of a three-legged stool,” while incorporating a mildly progressive principle into the tax structure that supports the program. In addition, the book (prior to the PPACA) recommended a dual system providing a choice between an expanded “Medicare for all,” or a full system patterned on health care now offered through the Veterans’ Health Administration.
"Social Security and Its Enemies" (Westview Press, 1999).
Examines the nature of the opposition to Social Security, and to government programs in general. The book clearly demonstrates the key role in that opposition of Ronald Reagan (both before and during his presidency), and argues that opposition to the system is politically, not economically, based. It argues not only that Social Security is not “in crisis,” but that the system is essentially sound in its financing – if troubles develop, they will be minor and could be easily dealt with; the question is entirely one of political will.