Healthcare Justice and Activism in 2014: Where Do We Go from Here?.
Un, Katherine C.
- Abstract: The Health Security Act has “the potential for transforming ethnic American communities into a 'new generation of substandard medical ghettos at worst and peripheral colonial outpost health subsystems at best.’ ” This is what Professor Vernellia Randall, Professor of law at the University of Dayton, wrote about Pres. Clinton’s effort for a healthcare reform. Exactly twenty years later, w... read moree have Pres. Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Obama administration promised that the ACA would give the United States a better healthcare system. What can marginalized communities truly expect from the reform? Will the reform rectify health inequities? Or will some communities continue to be served in ‘healthcare ghettos’? I use a four-component definition of health disparities to answer these questions. Healthcare disparities can be measured by the extent to which a person: has access to affordable care; receives superior quality or inadequate medical care; experiences discrimination; and can trust the care to be accessible and affordable on the long term. Drawing on research in public health, history, traditional economics and legal theory, I analyze the impact of the ACA on each of these measures of healthcare disparity. I conclude that the ACA only truly addresses the first of these four components, the affordability of healthcare. But it does so incompletely. I hope that this research will serve health and social justice activists to better describe their goals and strategize for future reform of the United States’ healthcare system.read less