Health Disparities, Health Care Reform, Morality, and the Law: 'Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare'

23 Pages Posted: 10 Jun 2011 Last revised: 4 Nov 2011

Frank McClellan

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law

Date Written: June 9, 2011

Abstract

This article contends a declaration by Congress that access to health care is a human right remains an important first step towards promoting health equity. Morally speaking, existing health care policies challenge the notion that each human being is entitled to respect and dignity independent of the amount of his or her wealth. Alarming evidence reveals how particular groups, in terms of race, ethnicity, class, and gender, carry disproportionate burdens of poor health and disproportionate barriers to gaining health insurance coverage. The recent debate over the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act ignored the issue of race because of the potential divisive effects that candid discussions about race pose to the political process in America. However, a colorblind approach to health care reform severely limits the development of effective strategies aimed at promoting health equity. Acknowledgment of the role of race and racism in producing health disparities, together with characterizing health care as a human right, will help change the moral tone of the health care reform debate and build a path towards remedying our societal health inequities.

Keywords: health care reform, health disparities, universal access to health care, morality and law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

JEL Classification: K19, K32, K39

Suggested Citation

McClellan, Frank, Health Disparities, Health Care Reform, Morality, and the Law: 'Keep Your Government Hands Off My Medicare' (June 9, 2011). Temple Law Review, Vol. 82, No. 5, pp. 1141-1162, Spring 2010; Temple University Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2011-37. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1861283

Frank McClellan (Contact Author)

Temple University - James E. Beasley School of Law ( email )

1719 N. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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