The Players


Date of Birth: Nov. 11, 1931.

Education: B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.B.A., University of California-Berkeley.

Career Path: Stark founded a successful chain of banks in the San Francisco Bay area. He was initially a Republican but became a Democrat because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. Stark was elected to the U.S. House in 1972 and has served as the chairman of House Ways and Means Subcommittee on health for almost 25 years.

Role in Health Care Reform, 1993-1994: Stark was chair of the Ways and Means health subcommittee and authored a bill that called for a Medicare expansion. However, the bill never made it out of the Ways and Means full committee.

Why He's a Player Now: As chairman of the Ways and Means health subcommittee, Stark will be influential in the passage of any legislation. He reintroduced the Americare Health Care Act in January, which would provide universal coverage by maintaining employer-sponsored insurance and offering individuals the opportunity to purchase coverage through a public plan similar to Medicare.

Quote: "Until we have a health system that covers everyone, we will exacerbate disparities in access to medical treatment around our country. We need to reform our health system for the health of us all." (CQ Healthbeat, Feb. 23, 2009)

Read about the other 'Players'.