Gloria Jean Ate Catfood Tonight: Justice and the Social Compact for Health Care in America

17 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2007

See all articles by Lawrence E. Singer

Lawrence E. Singer

Loyola University of Chicago Law School


Gloria Jean's life was good until she was injured in an auto accident. It had not been her fault, but the other driver lacked insurance and Gloria Jean's insurance was poor. She struggled with the pain, and her boss noticed her slowdown and dismissed her. Eventually she found less physically demanding work - for a lot less money. The pain continued and a visit to the emergency room one intolerable night revealed other problems, including diabetes and elevated blood pressure. Medications were crucial for Gloria Jean to have the same quality of life - to have life at all - yet they were expensive. So tonight, like last night, Gloria Jean ate catfood for dinner. And tonight, Gloria Jean saved just enough money to buy her pills for one more week.

This is our health-care system in America. A system where the social contract, premised upon the quid pro quo of hard work and support for democracy, is broken. More than forty-three million people lack insurance. For them there are few health care options. Dermabrasion, Botox, and therapeutic massage are not in their vocabulary. This was not how it was meant to be. This cannot be justice in America.

Keywords: health care reform, uninsured, public health, welfare law, Medicare

JEL Classification: H51, I18, I11, I31, K32

Suggested Citation

Singer, Lawrence E., Gloria Jean Ate Catfood Tonight: Justice and the Social Compact for Health Care in America. Loyola University Chicago Law Journal, Vol. 36, p. 613, 2005, Available at SSRN:

Lawrence E. Singer (Contact Author)

Loyola University of Chicago Law School ( email )

25 E. Pearson
Chicago, IL 60611
United States
312-915-7558 (Phone)

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