Research on the history of debates over the right to health care in the U.S.

The Foundation's Investigator Awards in Health Policy Research Program was designed to support highly qualified individuals to undertake broad studies of the most challenging policy issues in health and health care facing America. The concept of a right to health care serves as a powerful rhetorical device in discussions of the medical system. Advocates of health reform insist that health care is, or should be, a right, while opponents argue that health care rights are incompatible with market-based medical organization. The purpose of this project is to explore the history of circumstances in which Americans have asserted, successfully or not, a belief in a right to health care. This project will analyze how medical professionals, patients, and the public have talked about a right to medical treatment, and examine debates over indigent care; insurance companies' obligations to policy holders; hospitals' efforts to admit or ban patients based on race, citizenship, or ability to pay; and patient lawsuits. Information secured will help policymakers determine when an emphasis on rights has worked for or against increased justice and equity in the health care system. The final product will be a book manuscript and several articles and conference papers.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $274,832.00

Awarded on: 5/21/2002

Time frame: 6/1/2002 - 5/31/2008

Grant Number: 44600


Northern Illinois University College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

1425 West Lincoln Highway
De Kalb, 60115-2828


Beatrix Hoffman
Project Director