A History of the Right to Health Care

Award Year:
Beatrix Hoffman
Ethics, History of Health Policy and Public Health
Despite current talk of "patient rights," healthcare as a right remains an elusive concept. In this study of assertions and denials of the right to health care in the U.S., Dr. Hoffman will focus on four major topics. They include: legal challenges to the denial of health care; debates over indigent care; rights in the private insurance system including clashes among policyholders, providers, and insurance companies; and the role of race and citizenship in the shifting interpretations of health care rights. By moving discussions from the abstract to the concrete, the project will provide a basis for more effective debate on the role of rights in health care reform. Dr. Hoffman's findings will highlight philosophical and practical contradictions in the health care system that work against equity in access and outcomes.