Title

Unequal access : a socioeconomic analysis of the delivery of public health in the United States

Publication Date

1-1-2005

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Janaki Natarajan

Abstract

The current research is a phenomenological approach to better understanding inequalities in the health care system in the United States. It is centered around the experiences of five individuals each providing a different context and perspective for analysis on the delivery of health care. The research addresses issues surrounding socioeconomic status and access to health care in the U.S. and focuses specifically on the experiences of people that have compromised access to health care. The research ultimately addresses the question of how the delivery of heath care in the U.S. affects the lives of the poor and uninsured and frames the question within the larger context of society. In-depth interviews over structured periods of time, as well as autobiographies and document reviews, were used as methods to gather information. The data collected points to various ways that a lack of access to health care has depleted the concept of choice and mobility in life in addition to creating a loss of agency in people's lives. The data also reveals how the health care system can contribute to overall inequality through the way that health care is currently delivered in the U.S. This paper is designed to be read by the public individual, public health practitioners, academicians, and policy makers. While not designed at intervention, the research concludes that if the goal of health care is to heal the sick, a health care system based on cost effectiveness and profit cannot exist.

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