The University of Washington Center for Human Rights (UWCHR) invites faculty, staff and students to attend a presentation and discussion of the arguments for health care as a right of democratic citizenship, as advanced in UWCHR faculty associate Gunnar Almgren’s just-released book Health Care as a Right of Citizenship: The Continuing Evolution of Reform (Columbia University Press, February 2017).
As the nation once more grapples with the question of access to affordable and adequate health care as a right of citizenship versus a benefit of social advantage, Columbia University Press has just released Professor Gunnar Almgren’s new book. In it he argues that the Affordable Care Act’s primary significance is not in its expansion of health care entitlements to millions of uninsured Americans, but rather in its affirming, by an act of Congress, the idea that access to an adequate standard of health care, like access to an adequate standard of basic education, should be a social right of citizenship. It is this idea that is at the heart of the current public controversy over the ACA “repeal and replace” agenda of the Trump administration and the majority party in Congress. Based on a synthesis of the theories of political philosopher John Rawls and sociologist T.H. Marshall, the book argues for a social right to health care based on the requisites of democratic citizenship and the enduring viability of political democracy, and then illuminates the core national health care policy aims that are essential to advancing the substantive realization of such a social right.
The format for the event will be a brief overview of the evolution of American exceptionalism in health care, the current political and social context that motivated the book, and the book’s main arguments by the book’s author, followed by a discussion with and among the audience facilitated by UW Professor of Philosophy Bill Talbott. The event is free and open to the entire three-campus UW community.
About the Author
Gunnar Almgren, PhD, LCSW is an Associate Professor of Social Work and Social Welfare at the UW School of Social Work. He is author of Health Care Politics, Policy and Services: A Social Justice Analysis (selected for the American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award in Public and Community Health), and co-author (with UW Associate Professor of Social Work Taryn Lindhorst) of The Safety-Net Health Care System: Health Care at the Margins. Prior to his academic career, Professor Almgren served as social work director at both public and not-for-profit safety-net hospitals, including the University of Washington Medical Center.