Category Archives: Health

News Article: “Children in Pro-Trump Rural Areas Have a lot to Lose if GOP Rolls Back Medicaid”

Noam N. Levey, “Children in Pro-Trump Rural Areas Have a lot to Lose if GOP Rolls Back Medicaid“, LA Times, July 6, 2017.


News Coverage: “The Senate GOP health bill in one sentence: poor people pay more for worse insurance”

News Coverage: Ezra Klein, “The Senate GOP health bill in one sentence: poor people pay more for worse insurance,” Vox, June 22, 2017.

New Pathways Issue: “State of the Union 2017”

SOTU_cover_smallNew Pathways : “State of the Union 2017” (Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality 2017). Table of contents below:

Executive Summary
Are our country’s policies for reducing racial and ethnic inequalities getting the job done? The simple answer: No.
Even after the recovery, 1 in 9 African Americans and 1 in 6 Hispanics fear a job loss within one year. Why?
We remain two Americas: a high-poverty America for blacks, Hispanics, and Native Americans, and a (relatively) low-poverty America for whites and Asians.
Safety Net
The safety net, which is supposed to serve an equalizing function, sometimes works to exacerbate racial and ethnic inequalities within the low-income population.
Whereas 1 in 6 black and Hispanic households dedicate at least half of their income to housing costs, only 1 in 12 white households do. How did that happen?
Between 1990 and 2015, average academic performance improved for students of all racial and ethnic groups, but grew fastest among black and Hispanic students. The result: White-black and white-Hispanic achievement gaps declined by 15 to 25 percent.
Did you think that all that talk about criminal justice reform has brought about a sea change in racial inequalities in incarceration? Think again.
Large and persistent racial gaps in health are not the product of our genes but the consequences of our policies and history.
Between 1970 and 2010, the earnings gap between whites and other groups has narrowed, but most of that decline was secured in the immediate aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement.
African-Americans have less than 8 cents and Hispanics less than 10 cents of wealth for every dollar amassed by whites.
Intergenerational Mobility
The persistence of poverty has long been stronger for blacks than whites. However, beginning with generations that came of age in the mid-1960s, the white-black gap in the chance of escaping poverty has closed significantly.

News Article: “America is a World Leader in Health Inequality”

Carolyn Y. Johnson, “America is a World Leader in Health Inequality“, The Washington Post, June 5, 2017.

New Op-Ed: “The GOP hates red tape — except when it comes to poor people”

New Op-Ed: Noah Zatz, The GOP hates red tape — except when it comes to poor people, Wash. Post, May 30, 2017.

New Article: “Contaminated Childhood: How the United States Failed to Prevent the Chronic Lead Poisoning of Low-Income Children and Communities of Color”

New Article: Emily A. Benfer, Contaminated Childhood: How the United States Failed to Prevent the Chronic Lead Poisoning of Low-Income Children and Communities of Color, forthcoming Harv. Envtl. L. Rev. 2017.  Abstract below:

Lead poisoning has plagued society for centuries, dating back to the Roman Empire. Children and adults exposed to the neurotoxin regularly experience an elevated risk for permanent brain damage, disability, and, at higher levels, death. Despite scientific evidence of the dangers of lead, the heavy metal was commonly used throughout civilization and quickly integrated into the American home in the form of paint containing up to 70% lead. At the same time, lead smelters and leaded gasoline left a toxic footprint across the United States. Today, over twenty-three million homes contain one or more lead hazards and thirty-eight million have lead-based paint that will eventually become a lead hazard if not closely monitored and maintained; the majority of those homes are located in impoverished and marginalized communities of color. Federal laws and policies have consistently failed to prevent lead poisoning in these areas, depriving low-income, minority children of equal opportunity and trapping generations in poverty. Federally subsidized housing programs are intended to provide safe, decent, and affordable housing for low-income families. These homes are often clustered in areas with high rates of lead poisoning and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimated in 2016 that 450,000 federally assisted housing units were built before 1978 and likely contain lead-based paint. Federal law governing these homes takes a “wait and see” approach that delays lead hazard inspections of a home until after a child is lead poisoned. Rather than requiring lead hazard risk assessments that could identify and control sources of lead poisoning before a child resides in the home, according to federal regulations, the child must develop lead poisoning at levels more than four times the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards before the government requires any intervention. This policy places millions of children annually at risk of permanent neurological damage. This Article describes how lead poisoning policies governing federally assisted housing perpetuate health inequities, increase socioeconomic and racial inequality among low-income and minority children, and thwart the promise of multiple civil rights laws and policies. It examines the legislative history of federal lead poisoning prevention laws, including compromises that resulted in ineffective laws. Finally, with the aim of identifying policies that abide by principles of health justice, this Article proposes urgent reform measures to end the lead poisoning epidemic.

[Self-Promoting Post] New Op-Ed: “Trumpcare and the Successful Campaign to Punish the Poor”

Here: Ezra Rosser, Op-Ed, “Trumpcare and the Successful Campaign to Punish the Poor,”, May 5, 2017.

Article: Rights and Queues: On Distributive Contests in the Modern State

Article: Katharine G. Young, Rights and Queues: On Distributive Contests in the Modern State, 55 Colum. J. Transnt’l L. 65 (2016).

Two legal concepts have become fundamental to questions of resource allocation in the modern state: rights and queues. As rights are increasingly recognized in areas such as housing, health care, or immigration law, so too are queues used to administer access to the goods, services, or opportunities that realize such rights, especially in conditions of scarcity. This Article is the first to analyze the concept of queues (or temporal waiting lines or lists) and their ambivalent, interdependent relation with rights. After showing the conceptual tension between rights and queues, the Article argues that queues and “queue talk” present a unique challenge to rights and “rights talk.” In exploring the currency of rights and queues in both political and legal terms, the Article illustrates how participants discuss and contest the right to housing in South Africa, the right to health care in Canada, and the right to asylum in Australia. It argues that, despite its appearance in very different ideological and institutional settings, the political discourse of “queues” and especially “queue jumping” commonly invokes misleading distinctions between corruption and order, markets and bureaucracies, and governments and courts. Moreover, queue talk obscures the first-order questions on which resource allocations in housing, health care, or immigration contexts must rely. By bringing much-needed complexity to the concept of “queues,” the Article explores ways in which general principles of allocative fairness may be both open to contestation and yet supportive of basic claims of rights.

News Article: The poor ‘just don’t want health care’: Republican congressman faces backlash over comments

News Article: Kristine Phillips, The poor ‘just don’t want health care’: Republican congressman faces backlash over comments, Washington Post (Mar. 9, 2017).

Article: Private Enforcement of the Affordable Care Act: Toward an “Implied Warranty of Legality” in Health Insurance

Article: Christine H. Monahan, Private Enforcement of the Affordable Care Act: Toward an “Implied Warranty of Legality” in Health Insurance, 126 Yale L. Rev. 908 (2017).

For decades, the individual health insurance market failed to provide consumers adequate or affordable health coverage. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) sought to change this state of affairs, establishing a new Patient’s Bill of Rights and instituting other protections that require insurers to make comprehensive coverage readily accessible. However, recent reports have begun to document health plans’ violations of the ACA, such as their failure to pay consumers their required refunds or the illegal imposition of waiting periods for transplant services. Although the ACA preserves a role for states in implementing and enforcing the law, state remedies are often lacking. For instance, many state consumer protection laws do not apply to insurance, while traditional breach of contract claims only provide for recourse when a health insurance policy expressly incorporates ACA provisions. As a result, a critical gap in the law has come to light: the absence of a private right of action. This Note proposes that state courts can address this gap by finding that the sale of individual health insurance comes with an implicit and legally enforceable promise that the policy and insurer administering it are in full compliance with the ACA. In other words, this Note urges courts to establish an “implied warranty of legality” in the context of individual health insurance. Modeled on the implied warranty of habitability, this approach would correct for power imbalances within this market. It would also promote individual rights by empowering consumers to sue when they have been wronged and foster civic engagement by enabling consumers to play an active role in the enforcement of public law. The implied warranty of legality would also have redistributive effects, allowing for the costs of noncompliance to be shared more evenly across the market. Looking beyond the ACA, the implied warranty of legality should also be applied in other regulated markets with similar dynamics, or, if the ACA is scaled back or repealed, to enforce state health insurance rules that seek to protect consumers from unlawful insurer practices.