Theses Master's

Universal Healthcare: A Path to Health Equity in the United States

Gruberg, Julia

Health equity and social determinants of health are important concepts to understand when forming health policy in the United States. Health equity refers to a state of health and wellbeing that is not differentiated between groups based on marginalized status or history of oppression. Social determinants of health, perhaps more correctly called structural determinants of health, provide a framework for understanding how race and racism, socioeconomic status (SES), gender and sexuality, and other societal (as opposed to biological) factors influence health and the unequal burden of disease. Vast health disparities between Black and White Americans have been widely reported, although the link between health status and racism is not as commonly articulated. An abundance of studies have linked health insurance status to improved physical and mental health. While universal health insurance cannot overcome racism as a fundamental cause of health disparities, it would ameliorate the effects of living in a profoundly racist society. In order to advance health equity in the United States, legislators should make health insurance free and accessible to all.

Geographic Areas


More About This Work

Academic Units
Sociomedical Sciences
Thesis Advisors
Hernández, Diana
M.P.H., Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
Published Here
April 5, 2021


health equity, health disparities, social determinants of health, fundamental causes, racism, SES, universal health care, Medicaid, Affordable Care Act