Defense Date


Graduation Date

Spring 1-1-2017


Worldwide Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Henk ten Have

Committee Member

Joris Gielen


Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, Healthcare Affordability, Healthcare Ethics, Healthcare policies


Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, It has been questioned whether the right to healthcare in it can be ethically justified. The objection to a right to healthcare in general has been prominent over many decades in the U.S. The concern over higher personal taxes, quality care, and national debt steered the opposition. Responding to these concerns has a direct effect on each individual in society. In particular, the lack of healthcare is very significant.

The idea of a comprehensive national healthcare in the United States caught the attention of the public in the 1970s. It was inspired by the positive results of the Medicare and Medicaid programs which were passed and signed into law in the 1960s. The public would see the benefit of access to healthcare, which led to acquiring the expansion of it. Most people were wiling to accept and agree on providing free healthcare to the elderly and the poor. There was, however, a strong opposition to a system of a national healthcare. The opposition did not dishearten proponents to advocate for the right to healthcare in subsequent decades. After a vigorous congressional debate, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed and signed into law in 2010. This dissertation engages the four standard ethical principles (known as principlism) to justify the right to healthcare that is provided in the Affordable Care Act. In addition, theories of distributive justice and normal functioning are used to argue and justify the provision of Affordable Care Act.