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Health Care as a Social Good: Religious Values and American Democracy, David M. Craig

Reviewed by Kendra G. Hotz



Taking a novel and helpful approach to health care policy debates, David M. Craig explores how religious language and values shape political visions about how to provide health care to citizens. He aims to clarify points of dispute by examining three dominant “moral languages” about health (private benefit, public right, and private choice) and proposing that a fourth (social good) might open space for consensus. By carefully documenting how our complex and fragmented health care “system” currently functions, how the intricate web of policy was woven, where it breaks down entirely, and how each component is tied to fundamental American values that are often misaligned with our public rhetoric, Craig demonstrates that health care already functions “as a social good much more than Americans recognize” and that “religious values can strengthen Americans’ commitment to making health care a more complete social good” (p. 185). Ultimately, Craig argues that Americans need an increased sense of solidarity to undergird a new vision of because “health care only works if everyone is in it together” (p. 214).

The book is divided into two sections. In the first section, Craig explores three moral languages that govern how Americans think about health care and exposes the essentially religious syntax of

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