Reframing the Racial Disparities Issue for State Governments
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law
February 1, 2006
Although racial and ethnic disparities in health have been on the federal government’s agenda since 1985, no policy reforms have significantly reduced disparities. The question arises whether states can effectively address this issue without waiting for solutions from the national government. The purpose of this article is to propose ways of reframing the disparities issue that might give state policy makers more leverage and might strengthen political will to address the issue. I suggest a moral frame based on a concept of distributive justice in which medical care must be distributed according to need. I explain the rationales for such a frame and consider its strategic advantages and disadvantages. In the last section, I suggest some policies based on this framing that are within the power of state legislatures.