Eugene Feingold, Ph.D., APHA President, 1994

Improving Access to Health Care

Dan Beauchamp has said, “Public health is ultimately and essentially an ethical enterprise committed to the notion that all persons are entitled to protection against the hazards of the world and to the minimization of death and disability in society.” That’s clearly what this segment of this session is about.

The problem we face is that achieving universal access really requires governmental action. It is not something that can be done privately. At the same time, our society, particularly in recent years, but more generally does not place a very high value on government action. That makes life particularly difficult for those people who are less successful in making their way through life privately.

How we can get around this is the dilemma that I have been struggling with, and I think many people in APHA have been struggling with, and I think we really have to overcome. The less that government does for people, the less reason people have to have faith in government. And therefore the less likely they are to support government action, and the less likely we are to get government action that will give them more faith in government.

We have to find a way to reinspire public trust in government action to try and achieve the goals we want to achieve.

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