Distributive Injustice in Health Care

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Prof. Havighurst

Professor Clark C. Havighurst

Duke Law School will host a scholarly symposium on injustices in the American health care system November 11-12. William Neal Reynolds Emeritus Professor of Law Clark C. Havighurst and Professor Barak Richman are organizing the symposium, which will build on an upcoming paper of which they are co-authors.

“Our thesis, in a nutshell, is that lower- and middle-income Americans are forced, if they are to have any health coverage at all, to pay many dollars more for it than the related marginal benefits to them are likely to be worth,” said Havighurst. “Not only are lower-income consumers forced to buy care that is far costlier than it needs to be, but their premiums go to defray many expenses wholly unrelated to the health care they receive. We hope to spark a detailed consideration of some areas where distributive injustice seems to be a problem.”

The discussion will result in a symposium issue of Law & Contemporary Problems that will offer in-depth, independent analysis of these areas, Havighurst added. Attendees include national scholars with expertise in a range of relevant disciplines including law, economics, and health-care policy. In addition to Havighurst and Richman, Arti Rai, a patent and pharmaceutical expert, and tax specialists Richard Schmalbeck and Lawrence Zelenak, are among the Duke Law faculty taking part.

Duke Law School and Law & Contemporary Problems are pleased to sponsor the symposium and issue in celebration of and tribute to the distinguished scholarship and career of Professor Havighurst, who has been called “one of the true sages in the health policy debate” by Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins. Faculty and invited guests will celebrate his retirement at the Sarah B. Duke Gardens following the symposium on November 12.

For more information download the symposium agenda (pdf) or contact Frances Presma at (919) 613-7248 or