GERO 496, also Spring, 2005
cross-listed as: Instructor:
Anthropology 498; Bob Binstock, Ph.D.

Bioethics 496;
Epidemiology and
Biostatistics 408
History 480;
Nursing 479 & 579;
Political Science 480;
Public Health 408;
and Sociology 496.


This course meets in the School of Nursing, Room NOA-060, 4:00-6:30 p.m., every Wednesday (with one exception) from January 12 through April 20, 2005. The exception is March 9, during the “Spring Break.”

The instructor is available to meet with students with disabilities to discuss academic accommodations. In addition, the University’s Coordinator of Disability Services can be contacted at 368-5230.

The objectives of the course are to enable students to: (1) obtain an introductory sense of social aspects of aging that are relevant to public policy; (2) gain some familiarity with the underlying political processes through which U.S. public policies are adopted and implemented (and not adopted and implemented), and how they shape the substance of policies; (3) learn the political features, implications, and political contexts of the major policies affecting older persons in the United States; (4) have an understanding of the political behavior of older people and old-age-based interest groups, and their impact on politicians and public policy; and (5) become familiar with the major problems and challenges involving old-age policies in the twenty-first century, and the policy options and political issues involved in dealing with those challenges.

There will be a mid-term exam and a final exam. There will not be a term paper. Although only the required readings for the course are listed below, most of these readings contain a wealth of literature references for students who wish to pursue selected topics in greater depth. In addition, the instructor will serve as a resource for additional literature as requested. Material presented in class sessions will complement the required readings. Some concepts and information will be introduced in class, only.


Required Reading (3 weeks*)

U.S. Administration on Aging, A Profile of Older Americans: 2002, 14 pp., updated October, 2003.

Binstock, Robert H., “Public Policies on Aging in the Twenty-First Century,” Stanford Law and Policy Review, 9, no. 2 (1998), pp. 311-328.

Andrews, Edmund L., “As White House Begins Social Security Push, Critics Claim Exaggeration,” New York Times (2005), January 10, p. A15.

* No reading for the first week. The readings for the course are preassembled. But the instructor has no advance information on the number of students in the class. Consequently, readings are not distributed until the second class meeting so that the appropriate number of sets can be prepared in the days following the first class meeting.



Required Reading (5 weeks)

Henretta, John C., “Work and Retirement” (Chapter 14), in R.H. Binstock & L.K. George, eds., Handbook of Aging and the Social Sciences, 5th edition (San Diego: Academic Press, 2001), pp. 255-271.

Kingson, Eric R., & Williamson, John B., “Economic Security Policies” (Chapter 20), in Binstock & George, 5th edition, pp. 369-386.

Crown, William, “Economic Status of the Elderly” (Chapter 17), in Binstock & George, 5th edition, pp. 352-368.

Feder, Judy, Komisar, Harriet L., & Niefeld, M., “The Financing and Organization of Health Care” (Chapter 21), in Binstock & George, 5th edition, pp. 387-405.

Rice, T., and Bernstein, J., “Supplemental Health Insurance for Medicare Beneficiaries,” Medicare Brief (National Academy of Social Insurance), no. 6 (November, 1999).

McArdle, Frank B., Neuman, Patricia, Kitchman, Michelle, Kerry, Kirland, and Yamamoto, Dale, “Large Firm’s Retiree Health Benefits Before Medicare Reform: 2003 Survey Results, Health Affairs (2004) Web Exclusives, January-June, W4-7-W419.

Stone, Robyn , “Emerging Issues in Long-Term Care,” (chapter 22) in Binstock & George, 6th edition (in press).

Cuellar, Alison Evans, & Wiener, Joshua, M., “Can Social Insurance for Long-Term Care Work?: The Experience of Germany,” Health Affairs, 19, No. 3 (2000), pp. 8-25.

Campbell, John Creighton, & Ikegami, Naoki, “ Long-Term Care Insurance Comes to Japan,” Health Affairs, 19, No. 3 (2000), pp. 26-39.

Binstock, Robert H., “From the Great Society to the Aging Society — 25 Years of the Older Americans Act, Generations, XV, no. 3 (1991), pp. 11-18.

U.S. Administration on Aging, Older Americans Act: A Layman’s Guide, updated August, 2003 (downloaded January 6, 2005).

Kapp, Marshall B., “Aging and the Law” (Chapter 23) in Binstock & George, 6th edition (in press).



Required Reading (2 weeks)

Binstock, Robert H., & Quadagno, Jill, “Aging and Politics” (Chapter 18), in Binstock & George, 5th edition, pp. 333-350.

Binstock, Robert H., “The 2004 Election: Older Voters and Implications for Policies on Aging,” submitted to The Gerontologist (2005).

Binstock, Robert H., “The Contemporary Politics of Old-Age Policies,” in Robert B. Hudson, ed., The New Politics of Old-Age Policies (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, in press).

Rother, John, “Why Haven’t We Been More Successful Advocates for Elders?” Generations, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2004), pp. 55-58.



Required Reading (4 weeks)

Binstock, Robert H., “Old Age Provisions and Economic Status,” in Lois A Vitt & Jurg K. Siegenthaler, eds., Encyclopedia of Financial Gerontology, 2nd edition (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003) pp., 576-579/.

Andrews, Edmund, “Bush Puts Social Security at Top of Economic Conference,” New York Times, December 16, 2004, p. A27.

Thomas, Landon, Jr., “Wall Street Lobby Quietly Tackles Social Security,” New York Times, December 21, 2004, p. A1.

Wehner, Peter H., “Some Thoughts on Social Security,” memorandum from the President’s Director of Strategic Initiatives to conservative allies, January 3, 2005 (Retrieved January 7, 2005, from 

Krugman, Paul, “The Iceberg Cometh,” New York Times, January 11, 2005, p. A27.

Pear, Robert, “In Ads, AARP Criticizes Plan on Privatizing: Campaign Focuses on Social Security, New York Times, December 30, 2004, p. A14.

Wall Street Journal editorial, “AARP’s Tax Increase,” January 5, 2005), p. A11.

Munnell, Alicia H., “A Bird’s Eye View of the Social Security Debate,” Issue in Brief No. 25of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, December 2004.

White, Joseph, “Privatizing Security?” (chapter 8 (pp. 143-169) from False Alarm: Why the Greatest Threat to Social security and Medicare is the Campaign to Save Them (Baltimore, MD: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001).

Walsh, Mary Williams, “Debt Doubles at Agency that Insures Pension Plans,” New York Times, November 16, 2004, p. A1.

Walsh, Mary Williams, “Overhaul Plan for Pensions is Outlined,” New York Times January 11, 2005, p. C1.

Iglehart, John K., “The New Medicare Prescription-Drug Benefit – A Pure Power Play,” New England Journal of Medicine, 350 (2004), pp. 826-833.

Families USA, Approximately Half of Americans in Medicare Are at Risk of Losing Coverage When the New Law Is Implemented, Special Report, October 20, 2004.

“Retirement Plans Subject to New Attacks,” Eye on Elder Issues, January 2005, Vol. 2, No. 1.

Callahan, Daniel, “Setting Limits: A Response,” The Gerontologist, 34 (1994), pp. 393-398.

Binstock, Robert H., “Age-Based Rationing of Health Care,” in David Eckerdt, ed., Macmillan Encyclopedia of Aging (New York: Macmillan Reference, 2003), pp. 24-28.

Juengst, E.T., Binstock, R.H., Mehlman, M.J., & Post, S.G., “Antiaging Research and the Need for Public Dialogue, Science, vol. 299 (2003), P. 1323.

Mehlman, Maxwell J., Binstock, Robert H., Juengst, Eric t., Ponsaran, Roselle S., and Whitehouse, P.J., “Anti-Aging Medicine: Can Consumers Be Better Protected?” The Gerontologist (2004), Vol. 44, pp. 304-310.