United States health care remains exceedingly behind in affordability and accessibility compared to other Western countries. Over the course of the last eighty years, policymakers have failed to produce a cohesive, comprehensive health care safety net for low-income and vulnerable persons. Instead, health coverage, which is primarily based in private insurance policies, fosters a consumerist, profit-based system that inaccurately labels the poor as Medicaid-scammers, unwilling to adopt American notions of individualism. Despite the establishment of both Medicaid and Medicare in 1965 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, health care reform continues to alienate low-income individuals and families. Alternative, holistic methods to medical care, like local free clinics, surface as pioneers in transforming the interactions of medical providers and low-income patients. Through a case study of the Viola Startzman Clinic in Wooster, Ohio and the analysis of several religious statements from four major religious bodies in the United States (Catholicism, Reform Judaism, Methodism, and Islam), I argue the utilization of a moral lens with which to evaluate and advocate for a universal health care system in the United States, which would ultimately eliminate the shortcomings of the current health care system.


Kammer, Charles


Religious Studies


Arts and Humanities


health care, morality, free clinics

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



© Copyright 2015 Eleanor P. Bacon