Repealing Federal Oversight of State Health Policy: Lessons from the Boren Amendment



The Boren Amendment is frequently cited as an example where judicial involvement markedly shaped the implementation of federal legislation. Unlike other controversial health policies, Boren was eventually rescinded by Congress. Results indicate that the Amendment was repealed because changing socioeconomic, political, and programmatic conditions combined with policy-oriented learning to facilitate a shift in policy venue away from the judiciary toward the President and Congress. This is because during the devolutionary climate of the mid-to-late 1990s, both the executive and legislature proved more conducive to the policy image promulgated by state officials that the Amendment unnecessarily restricted state discretion, than the policy image promulgated by providers that without the Amendment, low reimbursement levels would compromise access and quality. Data for this analysis derive from archival documents, secondary sources, and 101 interviews with state and federal experts.