Scott W. Atlas

David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow
Research Team: 

Scott W. Atlas, M.D. is the David and Joan Traitel Senior Fellow of the Hoover Institution of Stanford University and a Member of Hoover Institution’s Working Group on Health Care Policy.

Dr. Atlas investigates the impact of government and the private sector on access, quality, pricing, and innovation in health care and is a frequent policy advisor to government and industry leaders in these areas. During the 2008, 2012, and 2016 presidential campaigns, he was a Senior Advisor for Health Care to a number of candidates for President of the United States. He has also advised several members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives and testified to Congress on health care reform. His most recent book is entitled Restoring Quality Health Care: A Six‐Point Plan for Comprehensive Reform at Lower Cost (Hoover Press, 2016). Some of Dr. Atlas's previous health policy books include In Excellent Health: Setting the Record Straight on America’s Health Care System (Hoover Press, 2011), Reforming America’s Health Care System (Hoover Press, 2010), and Power to the Patient: Selected Health Care Issues and Policy Solutions (Hoover Press, 2005). Dr. Atlas had a Fulbright award to collaborate with academic leaders in China on structuring health care solutions for China, and also participated with leaders from government and academia on the World Bank’s Commission on Growth and Development. He has also advised leaders on health care and medical technology in several countries outside the US, including Latin America, Southeast Asia, and Europe. Dr. Atlas has published and been interviewed in a variety of media, including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Fox News, London’s Financial Times, BBC Radio, The PBS News Hour, Bloomberg Radio, Brazil’s Correio Braziliense and Isto E, Italy’s Corriere della Sera, Argentina’s Diario La Nacion, and India’s The Hindu.

Dr. Atlas is also the editor of the leading textbook in the field, the best‐selling Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Brain and Spine, now in its 5th edition and officially translated from English into Mandarin, Spanish, and Portuguese. He has been editor, associate editor, and a member of the boards of numerous scientific journals and national and international scientific societies over the past three decades. His medical research centered on advanced applications of new MRI technologies in neurologic diseases. While Professor of Radiology and Chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center from 1998 until 2012 and during his previous faculty positions, Dr. Atlas trained over 100 neuroradiology fellows, many of whom are now leaders in the field throughout the world.

He lectures on a variety of topics, most notably the role of government and the private sector in health care quality and access, global trends in health care innovation, and the key economic issues related to the future of technology‐based medical advances. In the private sector, Dr. Atlas is a frequent advisor to start‐up entrepreneurs and companies in the life sciences and medical technology.

Dr. Atlas has received numerous awards and honors in recognition of his leadership in the field. He is recognized internationally as a leader in both education and clinical research and had been on the Nominating Committee for the Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology for several years. He has been named by his peers in The Best Doctors in America every year since its initial publication, as well as in regional listings, such as The Best Doctors in New York, Silicon Valley's Best Doctors, and other similar publications. He was honored to receive the 2011 Alumni Achievement Award, the highest career achievement honor for a distinguished alumnus from the University of Illinois in Urbana‐Champaign, his alma mater.

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


Survival Of ObamaCare Is Nothing To Celebrate

by Scott W. Atlasvia Fox News
Saturday, August 5, 2017

Democratic politicians are giddily celebrating that the Affordable Care Act – more commonly known as ObamaCare – will remain in place for now, even though it continues to wreak havoc on U.S. health care.

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.


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