Legal solutions to health inequalities

    A conference at Temple today explores why some groups of people are sicker than other groups. But the focus of the conference isn’t health care. It’s the law.

    A conference at Temple today explores why some groups of people are sicker than other groups. But the focus of the conference isn’t health care. It’s the law.

    Listen:
    [audio: 091112kghealth.mp3]

    Typically when people gather to talk about health disparities they focus on which groups suffer more than others, and why. The forum at Temple’s Law School is asking how the law can step in to solve some of those problems.

    Calvin Johnson is the chief medical officer of Temple’s health system. He says if health care is a right, but it’s not distributed evenly, that could raise legal issues.

    Johnson: Some people believe, and quite honestly, can make a convincing argument, that health care and access to health care is a civil right. And we have seen throughout the history of our country many instances where civil rights battles were fought through the courts using the law.

    Health inequalities typically fall on people with low income and little education, or on minorities. Johnson says in Pennsylvania, for example, African Americans and Hispanics lack health insurance at far greater rates than others.

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