Category Archives: Health

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 –

Op-Ed: Income Inequality Is Costing the U.S. on Social Issues –

Income Inequality Is Costing the U.S. on Social Issues –

New Article: “Equal Protection: Immigrants’ Access to Healthcare and Welfare Benefits”

New Article: Mel Cousins, Equal Protection: Immigrants’ Access to Healthcare and Welfare Benefits, 12 Hastings Race & Poverty L.J. 21 (2015).

Infographic: Income Inequality: It’s Also Bad for Your Health –

Income Inequality: It’s Also Bad for Your Health –

New Article: “Two Americas in Healthcare: Federalism and Wars over Poverty from the New Deal-Great Society to Obamacare”

New Article: Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Two Americas in Healthcare: Federalism and Wars over Poverty from the New Deal-Great Society to Obamacare, 62 Drake L. Rev. 981 (2014).

New Article: “Health Law as Social Justice”

New Article: Lindsay F. Wiley, Health Law as Social Justice, 24 Cornell J.L. & Pub. Pol’y 47 (2014).  Abstract below:

Health law is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. From a relatively narrow discipline focused on regulating relationships among individual patients, health care providers, and third-party payers, it is expanding into a far broader field with a burgeoning commitment to access to health care and assurance of healthy living conditions as matters of social justice. Through a series of incremental reform efforts stretching back decades before the Affordable Care Act and encompassing public health law as well as the law of health care financing and delivery, reducing health disparities has become a central focus of American health law and policy. This Article labels, describes, and furthers a nascent “health justice” movement by examining what it means to view health law as an instrument of social justice. Drawing on the experiences of the reproductive justice, environmental justice, and food justice movements, and on the writings of political philosophers and ethicists on health justice, I propose that health justice offers an alternative to the market competition and patient rights paradigms that currently dominate health law scholarship, advocacy, and reform. I then examine the role of law in reducing health disparities through the health justice lens. I argue that the nascent health justice framework suggests three commitments for the use of law to reduce health disparities. First, to a broader inquiry that views access to health care as one among many social determinants of health deserving of public attention and resources. Second, to probing inquiry into the effects of class, racial, and other forms of social and cultural bias on the design and implementation of measures to reduce health disparities. And third, to collective action grounded in community engagement and participatory parity. In exploring these commitments, I highlight tensions within the social justice framework and between the social justice framework and the nascent health justice movement. These tensions illustrate, rather than undermine, the power of viewing health law as social justice. They raise important questions that should prompt more fruitful and rigorous thinking within health law activism and scholarship and with regard to the relationships between law and social justice more broadly.