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
Date Written: June 9, 2011
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: Suggested Citation