What kind of health care system should the U.S. adopt?

Edmund Santurri, Joan Tronto and David Craig
(Left to right) Institute for Freedom and Community Director Edmund Santurri (moderator), Joan Tronto of the University of Minnesota and David Craig of Indiana University-Purdue University talk April 19 at St. Olaf College.
Photo by student photographer Kierra Lopac

Two leading scholars of health care policy and ethics address the question: What kind of health care system should the U.S. adopt? The forum was held April 19, 2018, at the St. Olaf College Institute for Freedom and Community.

David Craig said the values we usually consider in health care are expansion, equity, excellence, inclusion, and compassion — which we do moderately well. But there's also cost control, which the U.S. does very poorly. We have, Craig says, a shared responsibility to ensure that there is both personal choice and wellness.

He stressed the importance of solidarity. "I think health care change is going to happen if we can all look at each other and say this is our health care system. How are we going to make it work for everyone?" Rather than a "Medicare for All" approach, Craig proposed a "Medicaid for All."

Joan Tronto said "the American health care system is broken. It is really broken. It is the most expensive health care system in the world and we do not get the kinds of outcomes that you would expect from spending more than anyone else. Let's start over."

"We all have to do the caring work," she added. "It's caring democracy." The system now is "deeply divided by gender, race and class. We don't need a language of moral values per se," Tronto said, "but of citizenship, inclusion and equality."

David Craig is a professor of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the author of "Health Care as a Social Good: Religious Values and American Democracy."

Joan Tronto is a professor of political science at the University of Minnesota and the author of "Caring Democracy: Markets, Equality, and Justice."

To listen to their discussion, and the question and answer session that followed, use the audio player above.

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