The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a form of healthcare reform designed to make healthcare coverage more affordable for those who have little or no income available to dispense for medical coverage. I argue that the ACA is a small step towards the ultimate egalitarian healthcare reform of universal healthcare. This paper discusses the ethical framework of having affordable healthcare provision for all individuals in a society, and the economic implications of the current healthcare reform. This Independent Study thesis is divided in four chapters. The first chapter discusses the conceptual theories that explain the kind of distribution of healthcare that is optimal for justice as fairness, and for economic goals such as efficiency and equity. It discusses the key aspects of the Rawlsian theory of justice and economic theories that are aimed at achieving the objectives of these theories. The second chapter analyses previous literature to draw on previous works and research that is in support of the conceptual framework. This chapter also consists of critical analysis of the literature, and how it relates to the previous chapter. The chosen articles are relevant to the role of healthcare, income inequality, and their effect on the health of the population of a society. The third chapter focuses on empirical analysis using regression analysis. Empirical models based on the theories from the previous chapters are tested using regression analysis implemented in Stata. The last chapter discusses the ethical and economic implications of this study and critically analyzes this study’s empirical models and theoretical framework.


Burnell, Barbara

Second Advisor

Rudisill, John


Economics; Philosophy


Legal Theory | Macroeconomics | Political Economy | Public Economics


Affordable Care Act, Medicaid expansion, Rawls, theory of justice

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis

Stata_IS.do (4 kB)



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