The social contract and health care reform

So a number of years ago, long before the ACA was passed, I realized that my education in political philosophy was lacking. So I spent a long series of summer nights sitting out in the backyard after my kids went to bed reading up on the topic. Yes, I’m that exciting.

Out of that, and many discussions with colleagues, came an idea – that one of the problems with the way we approach health care reform is rooted in the fact that we don’t pitch it in ways that resonate with the way people understand America. So we wrote a paper on that. “Is the Social Contract Incompatible with the Social Safety Net? Revisiting a Key Philosophical Tradition“:

The debate over reforming the United States’ health care system in recent years raises many questions over the efficacy of reforming large social programs in the nation’s safety net. The conflict over the government’s role in the health care system speaks loudly to the foundational principles of the nation. An examination of Hobbes, Rousseau and Locke reveals the heart of the current day debate. Revisiting these philosophers and increasing the nation’s civic literacy will provide clarity in the debate on the current day role of social safety net programs.

Granted, this is outside the usual topics we cover here, but it seems especially relevant to discuss the founding principles of this country on the day we celebrate its inception. You may learn something; I certainly did. Go read.


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