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Fairness, health, and access

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Abstract

During the past two years, much of my work at The Hastings Center has explored the implementation of health reform in the United States and its implications for poor and vulnerable groups. These projects include a study of access to care for undocumented patients and one that examines state-level decisions about health reform, including Medicaid expansion and the creation of health insurance “marketplaces.” Both raise issues central to bioethics, including fairness, justice, and the stewardship of society's resources. Our nation spent about 2.7 trillion dollars on health care in 2012, and its major public health insurance programs represent over 20 percent of the federal budget. Despite these investments, there are troubling differences in life expectancy, infant mortality, and premature death depending on factors like income, race, ethnicity, gender, and where people live.

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