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Uniting AmericaRestoring the Vital Center to American Democracy$
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Norton Garfinkle and Daniel Yankelovich

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780300108569

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300108569.001.0001

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The Ethics of America's Health Care Debate

The Ethics of America's Health Care Debate

(p.67) Chapter 4 The Ethics of America's Health Care Debate
Uniting America
Tsung-mei Cheng, Uwe E. Reinhardt
Yale University Press

American health policy is a paradox: it is extremely generous—as reflected by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990—yet neglects hard-working, low-income families such as those of poorly paid soldiers. This is probably the reason why Americans seem reluctant to debate social ethics head-on. The problems facing Medicare are tied to the wider issue of rapidly escalating health care costs that affect not only the aging but also middle-class families. Trends in health care costs could price an increasing number of American middle-class families out of the market for basic health insurance under existing policies. This chapter explores the ethics underlying the health care debate in the United States. It first provides an overview of health spending and gross domestic product (GDP) trends as well as the growth and distribution of earnings and income before turning to premiums for private health insurance. It then discusses health care for the uninsured, the social dimensions of goods and services, and externalities in health care.

Keywords:   health policy, social ethics, health care costs, health care, health insurance, United States, health spending, gross domestic product, uninsured, goods and services

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