Paul Osterman on ‘The Week in Health Law’ Podcast

By Nicolas Terry and Frank Pasquale

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This week’s pod features labor economist Paul Osterman, Professor of Human Resources and Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research concerns changes in work organization within companies, career patterns and processes within firms, economic development, urban poverty, and public policy surrounding skills training and employment programs.

His most recent book is “Who Will Care For Us: Long Term Care and the Long Term Workforce,” which is the basis for our discussion. Paul digs deep, exposing a byzantine non-system of care for the elderly and disabled. (This week’s episode complements our earlier engagements with eldercare in the work of political scientist Laura Katz Olson (Episode 98) and law professor Allison Hoffman (Episode 73).

He offers a nuanced and multifaceted program for improving the lives of both the disabled in need of care, and the workers who provide that care. He argues that the expansion of the role of direct care workers, including more and better training for them, “will save the system money, both by obtaining better health outcomes—thereby reducing visits to emergency rooms, hospitals, and nursing homes—and by shifting some tasks to lower-paid occupations.” Our discussion covers the demographics of care workers, scope of practice issues, the role of Medicare and Medicaid, possible technological innovations, and quality regulation.

The Week in Health Law Podcast from Frank Pasquale and Nicolas Terry is a commuting-length discussion about some of the more thorny issues in Health Law & Policy. Subscribe at Apple Podcasts, listen at Stitcher Radio Tunein, or Podbean, or search for The Week in Health Law in your favorite podcast app. Show notes and more are at If you have comments, an idea for a show or a topic to discuss you can find us on Twitter @nicolasterry @FrankPasquale @WeekInHealthLaw.

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