Ethics and Medicaid: a new look at an old problem.

M. L. Bach, Charles N Oberg, N. A. Bryant, J. L. Boleman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent proposals to reform Medicaid, driven primarily by the need for cost containment, rarely pay explicit attention to values. This paper presents the Medicaid Values Framework, the authors' interpretation of a set of societal ideals embodied in Title XIX of the Social Security Amendments of 1965. The Framework comprises seven interlocking values that are stratified into three interdependent tiers--access, quality, and equity. We use the access and equity tiers to analyze treatment of Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) recipients under Medicaid. We document striking inequities in eligibility standards and in funding for the two groups--inequities that unexpectedly fail to translate into marked disparities in access to Medicaid. In conclusion, we comment on why the present inequities exist and why they are ethically unacceptable.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-447
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of health care for the poor and underserved
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 1 1992


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