Online Program

The Affordable Care Act, the Right to Health, and the Next American Dream

Tuesday, November 5, 2013: 2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
This session examines health as a human right in the context of US health reform. Acceptance and policy implementation of the right to health long remained uncertain in the United States, leaving it as the only developed nation without policies to realize universal health coverage. Introducing American norms framing health care policy, the notion of the ‘American Dream’ will be chronicled, including its historical development and American's exclusion from the ideals of the dream. Incorporating international law in this analysis, the development of human right to health will be presented, focusing on the role of policymakers. In the evolution of norms for health under international law and the conceptualization of the right in US policy, this presentation examines the intertwined history of US health development in international law and implementation through reform. Culminating with the enactment of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), this presentation analyzes how this policy effort corresponds with the principles of the international right to health – even as it neglects explicit recognition of the right to health. Through this detailed examination, the potential as a rights-based approach to health in the US will be critically debated. Relevant to the global expansion of efforts to achieve universal health coverage, human rights plays an ongoing role in domestic policy. Looking to judicial challenges to the ACA, presenters will give special attention to hallmark features of the ACA: individual mandate, increased regulation of the private health insurance market, provision of public health insurance, the role of the ACA in HIV treatment and prevention, and programs promoting public health. From the US Supreme Court decision, viewing the individual mandate as a tax and expansion of Medicaid as a new program, the presentation reviews continuing rights-based implementation challenges. Reviewing the sweeping trajectory of US health care policy, the presentation will conclude by considering implications for the future of the right to health in the US. Given US efforts to progressively realize health care, the presenters will assess the revitalized role of the United States globally, securing universal health coverage and realizing the highest attainable standard of health.
Session Objectives: Compare national health care models to the US health care system. Examine the role of human rights in the evolution of US health care policy. Identify human rights themes--such as accessibility and non-discrimination--as they relate to the ACA. Analyze the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS to highlight the implications of a rights-based approach to the ACA. Describe the ways in which the ACA may contribute to an expanded notion of human rights in US health care policy and an expanded US role in global health policy.
Benjamin Mason Meier, JD, LLM, PhD
Dabney Evans, PhD, MPH and Benjamin Mason Meier, JD, LLM, PhD

Right to health: The next American dream   
Dabney Evans, PhD, MPH

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: APHA-International Human Rights Committee
Endorsed by: Law, Latino Caucus, Medical Care, Public Health Nursing, Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs, Community Health Planning and Policy Development

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)