Date of Original Version

4-2013

Type

Thesis

Rights Management

All Rights Reserved

Abstract or Description

This thesis is based upon the premise that access to health care is a fundamental human right and should never be dictated by profit, class, gender, or national identity. Given the quixotism of this objective for universal health care coverage, I am studying the works of the most prominent proponents of socialized healthcare—Rudolf Virchow, Henry E. Sigerist, and Paul Farmer. According to the White House, approximately 18% of our GDP is currently spent on healthcare—a cost that is only expected to rise if we cannot change our fee-for-service healthcare system today that prioritizes medical costs for treating disease over preventative services that maintain public health. Given this status quo, assuming a socialized healthcare system—which would incentivize the maintenance of health—was desirable, how could its implementation even be possible? I am trying to answer this question by exploring the reasoning upon which Virchow, Sigerist, and Farmer based their beliefs. Although each of these physicians lived in different time periods, they all agreed that healthcare is a public good that should not be excluded from those who cannot afford it.

Comments

Advisor: Caroline Acker

Department of History

Embargo Date

2013

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