Online Program

US efforts to realize the right to health through the patient protection and affordable care act

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 2:50 p.m. - 3:10 p.m.

Benjamin Mason Meier, JD, LLM, PhD, Deparment of Public Policy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
The political acceptance and policy implementation of the right to health long remained uncertain in the United States, leaving it until recently as the only developed nation without policies to realize universal health coverage. By re-engaging longstanding debates on government obligations to secure the health of every American, the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) draws on an internationally recognized conception of a human right to health, seeking to progressively realize the ‘highest attainable standard of physical and mental health' through policies that ensure the availability, accessibility, acceptability, and quality of health care. This presentation examines the evolution, implementation and implications of US efforts to realize health-related rights through health care policy. In the evolution of norms for health, this presentation examines the intertwined history of US development of a right to health in international law and implementation through national health care reforms. Culminating in the promulgation of the ACA, this national policy effort corresponds with the principles of the international right to health – even though it neglects any explicit recognition of the right to health. As the Supreme Court has now largely upheld the Government's constitutional authority for health care reform, the presentation concludes by considering the continuing human rights challenges to the ACA and the precedential impact of this decision on rights-based health reforms throughout the world.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe the evolution of human rights in US health care reform debates. Analyze human rights principles advanced by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Employ human rights to critique the ACA and frame future policy reforms.

Keyword(s): Health Care Reform, Human Rights

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I teach, research, and write at the intersection of health care policy and human rights law.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.