Category Archives: Health

Op-Ed: Blame HUD for America’s Lead Epidemic – The New York Times

Op-Ed: Emily Benfer, Blame HUD for America’s Lead Epidemic – The New York Times, Mar. 4, 2016

New Book: “The Poverty Industry” (forthcoming 2016)

poverty industryNew Book: Daniel L. Hatcher, The Poverty Industry: The Exploitation of America’s Most Vulnerable Citizens (forthcoming 2016).

[Editor’s Note: I recently saw Prof. Hatcher present just a small part of the work related to this book at the poverty law conference and I think it is safe to say that this is a very promising book, to be published soon, covering matters that are not yet part of the standard refrains about poverty programs.]

New Article: “NFIB v. Sebelius and the Right to Health Care: Government’s Obligation to Provide for the Health, Safety, and Welfare of its Citizens”

New Article: Jack M. Beermann, NFIB v. Sebelius and the Right to Health Care: Government’s Obligation to Provide for the Health, Safety, and Welfare of its Citizens, 18 NYU J. on Leg. & Pub. Pol’y 277 (2015).

New Article: “The Neuroscience Of Poverty”

New Article: “The Neuroscience of Poverty” – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

New Article: “No Immunity: Race, Class, and Civil Liberties in Times of Health Crisis”

New Article:  Michele Goodwin & Erwin Chemerinsky, No Immunity: Race, Class, and Civil Liberties in Times of Health Crisis, 129 Harv. L. Rev. 956 (2016).  Abstract below:

This Essay takes up the metaphor of the polluted body, its menacing effect on society, and what this metaphor means for law. It turns to civil liberties in times of health crisis in light of recent immigration debates and the United States’ panic about Ebola. We argue that historically, fears of contagion and infection were as much rooted in racial and class fear and animus as genuine threat of health. For example, many people of color and vulnerable minority groups have been caused great harm in the name of advancing and protecting the public’s health. Unfortunately, during such periods in American history, too frequently courts have failed to protect basic civil liberties, and people have suffered as a result. The Supreme Court sanctioning forced sterilizations of poor Americans provides a powerful example of government abuse of power in this regard, but sadly it is one among many forgotten or lesser known cases even among lawyers. Indeed, children, men, and women have been interned, sterilized, banned from entering the United States, detained, subjected to horrific human research, and otherwise injured by government abuse of power under the cover of protecting or promoting health.

As we explain, the relationship between public health, on the one hand, and race, poverty, and ethnicity discrimination, on the other, is neither new nor distinctly American. In the United States, the intersection between minority rights and public health has a long and shameful history, dating back hundreds of years. On close inspection, the metaphor of the polluted body and its menacing effect in American society persists, no doubt due to its origins rooted so long ago in American slavery, “Yellow Peril,” and early twentieth-century anti-immigration policy.

When analyzed from a distance, law’s vulnerability to prejudice packaged as public health concern crystallizes. For example, judges may make poor judgment calls conditioned on spurious or misinterpreted science, politicians may manipulate the public’s fear for political gain, even scientists and doctors may conflate or exaggerate data, and consequentially, civil liberties may be compromised and constitutional rights trampled. We take up these issues through our review of Eula Biss’s On Immunity.

New Article: “Health Justice: A Framework (and Call to Action) for the Elimination of Health Inequity and Social Injustice”

New Article: Emily Benfer, Health Justice: A Framework (and Call to Action) for the Elimination of Health Inequity and Social Injustice, 65 Am. U. L. Rev. __ (2015).  Abstract below:

Every aspect of society is dependent upon the health of its members. Health is essential to an individual’s well-being, quality of life, and ability to participate in society. Yet the healthcare industry, even at its optimal level of functioning, cannot improve the health of the population without addressing the underlying causes of poor health. The health of approximately 46.7 million individuals, most of whom are low-income and minority, is threatened by economic, societal, cultural, environmental, and social conditions. Poor health in any population group affects everyone, leading to higher crime rates, economic impacts, decreased residential home values, increased healthcare costs, and other devastating consequences. Despite this fact, efforts to improve health among low-income and minority communities are impeded by inequitable social structures, stereotypes, legal systems, and regulatory schemes that are not designed to take into account the social determinants of health in decision-making models and legal interpretation. As a result, a large segment of the population is continually denied the opportunity to live long, productive lives and to exercise their rights under democratic principles. Health, equity, and justice make up the keystone to a functional, thriving society. Yet these principles are unsatisfied when they do not apply equally to all members of society. In this article, I describe the social roots of poor health and how social injustice, health inequity, and poverty are inextricably linked. For example, I provide an in depth overview of the social determinants of health, including poverty, institutional discrimination and segregation, implicit bias, residential environmental hazards (leading to diseases like lead poisoning and asthma), adverse childhood experiences, and food insecurity. I discuss how the law is a determinant of health due to 1) court systems that do not evaluate individual circumstances, 2) the enactment of laws that perpetuate poor health and 3) the lack of primary prevention laws. Finally, I demonstrate how addressing these issues requires true adherence to principles of equality and making justice and freedom of opportunity accessible to everyone. I recommend the creation of “health justice,” a new jurisprudential and legislative framework for the achievement and delivery of health equity and social justice.


New Reports: Census Releases “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014” and “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014” Reports

New Reports: Census Releases “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2014” and “Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2014.”  And N.Y. Times coverage here.

Policy Brief “Income Support May Reduce Violence for Poor Families”

Policy Brief: Katherine Maurer, Income Support May Reduce Violence for Poor Families, Center for Poverty Research – Davis, 2015.

New Symposium Articles: “The Law of Medicare and Medicaid at Fifty”

New Symposium Articles: “The Law of Medicare and Medicaid at Fifty,” Yale J. Health Pol’y, L. & Ethics (2015).  As can be seen from the list below, several are of course poverty related articles [But note, you may have to get these through other services like Lexis, Westlaw, or Hein]:


  • 1 Symposium Issue Introduction: The Law of Medicare and Medicaid at Fifty Abbe R. Gluck


  • 21 Obamacare, Medicare, and Baseball’s Greatest Pitchers Jonathan Cohn
  • 27 Opening Remarks Ezekiel Emanuel


  • 37 Medicare Advantage, Accountable Care Organizations, and Traditional Medicare: Synchronization or Collision?
    Thomas L. Greaney
  • 57 The Reverberating Risk of Long-Term Care
    Allison K. Hoffman
  • 67 The Universality of Medicaid at Fifty
    Nicole Huberfeld
  • 89 Multiple Medicaid Missions: Targeting, Universalism, or Both?
    John V. Jacobi
  • 111 The Accidental Administrative Law of the Medicare Program
    Eleanor D. Kinney
  • 141 Medicare at 50: Why Medicare-for-all Did Not Take Place
    Theodore R. Marmor & Kip Sullivan
  • 185 Medicaid at 50: No Longer Limited to the “Deserving” Poor?
    David Orentlicher
  • 197 Clash of the Titans: Medicaid Meets Private Health Insurance
    Sara Rosenbaum
  • 213 Out of the Black Box and Into the Light: Using Section 1115 Medicaid Waivers to Implement the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid Expansion
    Sidney D. Watson

Op-Ed: Krugman, Race, Class and Neglect –

Race, Class and Neglect –