Scott W. Atlas

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

Scott W. Atlas, MD, is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution and a member of Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Health Care Policy. He investigates the impact of government and the private sector on access, quality, pricing, and innovation in health care, and he is a frequent policy adviser to government leaders in those areas. Dr. Atlas’s most recent books include Restoring Quality Health Care: A Six Point Plan for Comprehensive Reform at Lower Cost (Hoover Institution Press, 2016) and In Excellent Health: Setting the Record Straight on America’s Health Care System (Hoover Institution Press, 2011). Dr. Atlas has been interviewed by or has published in a variety of media, including BBC Radio, the PBS NewsHour, the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Fox News, London’s Financial Times, Brazil’s Correio Braziliense, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, and Argentina’s Diario La Nacion. Dr. Atlas also advises entrepreneurs and companies in the life sciences, medical technology, and health information technology sectors. 

Dr. Atlas is also the editor of the leading textbook in the field, Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and Spine, being published in its fifth edition and previously translated from English into Mandarin, Spanish, and Portuguese. He has been an editor, an associate editor, and a member of the editorial and scientific boards of many journals as well as national and international scientific societies during the past three decades and has written more than 120 scientific publications in leading journals. As professor and chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center from 1998 until 2012 and during his prior academic positions, Dr. Atlas trained more than one hundred neuroradiology fellows, many of whom are now leaders in the field throughout the world.

Dr. Atlas received a BS degree in biology from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and an MD degree from the University of Chicago School of Medicine

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Recent Commentary

Blueprint for AmericaFeatured

Transformational Health Care Reform

by Scott W. Atlasvia
Thursday, August 3, 2017

The American health care system is on an unsustainable path characterized by government-dominated insurance. Fixing health care begins with changing the incentives and empowering consumers to seek value with their money, while increasing competition among providers. Liberalized HSAs, insurance with lower premiums and fewer mandates, and more options for Medicare and Medicaid enrollees will improve access, choice, and quality of health care.


Fact-Based Health Care Reform

by Scott W. Atlasvia The American Interest
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Handing out subsidies and expanding government programs have become the chief standards by which health reforms are judged. That needs to change.

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Mythbusting Health Care

by Scott W. Atlasvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

How health insurance should work. 

Healthcare Application

Health Care And Health Insurance Are Not The Same Thing - The Fundamental Disconnect In Health Care Reform

by Scott W. Atlasvia Fox News
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Politicians from both sides of the aisle continue to show a troubling disconnect from basic principles in their approach to health care reform. Among their many debates about changing health care, the single most essential reform – reducing the cost of health care itself - is typically underemphasized or even entirely absent from the discussion. Yet that is the fundamental avenue to broader access to care, lower insurance premiums, and ultimately better health.


Is Single Payer Right For America?

by Scott W. Atlasvia
Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Many people support a single-payer health care system because they believe it would cover more people at a lower cost. But it is important to consider the tradeoffs to care, access, and wait times that come with single payer. Expanding coverage to more people is expensive, and high costs mean the government has no choice but to reduce access to certain drugs, procedures, and doctors.


How To Cut The Price Of Prescription Drugs

by Scott W. Atlasvia CNN
Thursday, April 20, 2017

Reducing the cost of medical care, rather than health insurance, is so often underemphasized or even absent from discussions of reforming the health care system. And yet lowering costs of medical care is essential for broadening access to care, reducing insurance premiums and ultimately ensuring better health.

Analysis and Commentary

Policyed Office Hours: The Scholar Responds

by Scott W. Atlasvia
Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The video 'What's Wrong With Health Insurance In America', says that health insurance should focus mostly on unexpected or expensive health care costs, not routine or predictable care. But that raises questions about people with pre-existing conditions, recurring expenses, and those who haven’t been able to save enough for out-of-pocket costs.

Featured CommentaryFeatured

What Should California Expect From TrumpCare? Here Are Five Predictions For The Coming Rx

by Scott W. Atlasvia Eureka
Thursday, January 19, 2017

“Repeal and replace”–the mantra of the Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA)–is about to become a reality.


Replace Obamacare With A System That Cuts Costs And Values Quality Care

by Scott W. Atlasvia CNN
Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Judging by appointments to top posts in health care, the incoming Trump administration is on course to validate its campaign promise to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act.


Giving Patients Control Over Their Health Care

by Scott W. Atlasvia
Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Over time, health insurance has expanded to cover routine and predictable care, shifting away from the true purpose of insurance. This has driven health care costs through the roof. One way to lower costs while also improving the quality of health care is to expand the use of health accounts coupled with high-deductible insurance plans.


Featured Publication: Restoring Quality Health Care

Featured Commentary: In Excellent Health: Setting the Record Straight on America's Health Care

In Excellent Health:  Setting the Record Straight on America's Health Care