Spreading the Health: Americans' Estimated and Ideal Distributions of Death and Health(care)
25 Pages Posted: 1 May 2020
Date Written: April 29, 2020
The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act intensified debates over the role of government in the distribution of healthcare. A nationally-representative sample of Americans reported their estimated and ideal distributions of healthcare (unmet need for prescription medications) and death (gains in life expectancy). Respondents across the demographic and political spectrum wanted mortality and healthcare to be distributed more evenly among the rich and poor than they estimated them to be. For example, respondents estimated that Americans in the poorest quintile lived 1.5 months longer over the previous 20 years while those in the richest quintile lived 4.7 months longer, but reported ideal figures of 2.5 and 3.6 months – both were far more equal than the actual figures: -1.8 and 7.2 months. Despite heated debates about healthcare, Americans share a consensus belief that current disparities in death and healthcare are far from their ideals.
Keywords: health, healthcare, mortality, inequality, fairness, justice, equity
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