Research for this article was funded in part by an NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (SES-0413840) and a dissertation fellowship from the Social Science Research Council. The author gratefully acknowledges the generous contributions of Mark Suchman, Catherine Albiston, Howard Erlanger, Myra Marx Ferree, Pamela Oliver, participants in the UC-Irvine Social Movements/Social Justice Workgroup, and the anonymous reviewers at Law & Society Review.
“What Rights?” The Construction of Political Claims to American Health Care Entitlements
Article first published online: 2 SEP 2008
© 2008 by The Law and Society Association. All rights reserved
Law & Society Review
Volume 42, Issue 3, pages 551–590, September 2008
How to Cite
Levitsky, S. R. (2008), “What Rights?” The Construction of Political Claims to American Health Care Entitlements. Law & Society Review, 42: 551–590. doi: 10.1111/j.1540-5893.2008.00351.x
- Issue published online: 2 SEP 2008
- Article first published online: 2 SEP 2008
Despite a growing health care crisis, Americans remain reluctant to treat “health security” as a right or entitlement of citizenship. This article examines the effects of unmet health care needs on the beliefs that individuals hold about family, market, and state responsibility for health security. Drawing on a study of individuals caring for family members with chronic diseases, I find that when imagining solutions to unmet long-term care needs, individuals evaluate a range of alternative social arrangements, but they select the model that is most consistent with previously existing beliefs about family, market, and state responsibility for care provision. This process of discursive assimilation, of integrating new needs for public provision with more familiar ways of thinking about social welfare, produces claims for entitlements that challenge existing social arrangements but do so within a welfare state framework that conceives of only a minimal role for the state in safeguarding social welfare.