The Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of MichiganThe Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan

Article by Matthew Davis appears in JAMA

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

"Equality-in-Quality in the Era of the Affordable Care Act," an article by Matthew Davis on disparities in health care quality across socioeconomic divides, co-authored by Jennifer K. Walter of the School of Medicine, was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The article states that, while the Affordable Care Act places a strong focus on improving health care quality, it does not prioritize equality of treatment in the same way. According to Davis, disparities in treatment between sex, race, class, insurance status and language boundaries are a persistent problem in national health care. The article states that the Affordable Care Act's failure to address these disparities is not only an abdication of a certain amount of responsibility, but will probably also reduce the overall effectiveness of the act. Davis says that, from a philosophical standpoint, a government committed to protecting the range of opportunities available to all of its citizens should recognize that health care is foundational to those opportunities, but also, from a purely quantifiable one, addressing disparity in health care is a demonstrably effective way to prevent disease outbreaks and improve overall public health.

"Although efforts to improve health care quality are squarely in the sights of the ACA, disparities seem to fall in its programmatic blind spot," the article says. "Individuals deserve health care that is not only of high quality, but of equally high quality for all."

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