Carolyn Conti

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Fall 2010


Immediate Access

Submission Type


Degree Name



Health Care Ethics


McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Aaron Mackler

Committee Member

Gerard Magill

Committee Member

Charles Dougherty


health care reform, justice, policy, social reform


The American health care system is seriously flawed and in need of reform. American health care is expensive and rationed by the ability to pay. More than forty-five million Americans lack regular access to health care because they have no health insurance and cannot afford to pay for care on their own. An even greater number of Americans have inadequate access to health care because their health insurance provides insufficient coverage. Even well-insured Americans, most of whom get their health insurance through their employers, have problems because their out-of-pocket expenses are escalating while their coverage is shrinking.

Contemporary public discourse suggests that many if not most Americans are dissatisfied with the health care system as it is currently structured and are ready for change but are uncertain about how to achieve reform. Although the American people disagree about what a reformed health care system should be they are nearly unanimous in their dissatisfaction with both access to and cost of health care. The voice of the American people needs to be focused into a coherent, cohesive message calling for reform and the message must be honed and repeated to exert pressure on the government to act in accord with the will of the people rather than that of special interest groups.

This dissertation will address the issue of what the American people can do to effect comprehensive reform of the American health care system, focusing on how to begin the process and not on what the reformed system should be. The thesis of this dissertation is that a social reform movement is in order and might be necessary in order to accomplish comprehensive reform of American health care. The thesis will develop in three parts, examining American health care from three perspectives, justice, policy, and reform. Part One will focus on why reform is necessary. Part Two will focus on why a social reform movement is in order. Part Three will focus on what the American people can do to accomplish the successful reform of the American health care system that has so far eluded the political and legislative processes.