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MEDIA ADVISORY: 06.22.12 Is the Mandate Fair? The Bioethics of the Affordable Care Act

(Garrison, NY) However the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of the insurance mandate and other aspects of the Affordable Care Act, the law raises foundational issues for society about fairness as well as justice. These go deeper than technicalities engaged by the law. Being explicit about these values is critical if we are to arrive at a lasting solution to health coverage, according to Hastings Center research scholar Michael Gusmano.

“Those who are critical of the individual mandate suggest that it is unfair, not just unconstitutional, for the federal government to force healthy people to buy health insurance when they have made a rational decision not to do so” says Gusmano, who is a political scientist. “Supporters argue that the mandate is fair because it pools risk across a life course. The Court’s decision has broad implications, not only for the health care system, but about the role of government.”

Gusmano notes that, during oral argument, questions from the Justices suggest that there was hunger for an ethical framework to justify the law’s provisions.

To reach Dr. Gusmano, contact Michael Turton at turtonm@thehastingscenter.org or 845-424-4040 x242.