Citizenship and Healthcare Policy


Despite trends towards universal personhood and international governance, national boundaries still play a large role in defining the rights associated with citizenship. Most advanced, industrialized countries now treat healthcare as a right of citizenship, although they differ in their inclusion of non-citizens. Public discourse and public opinion about health policy often reflect and reinforce boundaries of social exclusion. Growing levels of immigration in many industrialized countries have reignited debates about who deserves health services. Health policy configurations often share three characteristics in the treatment of non-citizens: (1) access is minimal or limited to emergency care; (2) structural barriers exist, even for documented non-citizens; (3) healthcare delivery can entail some level of reporting or surveillance of citizenship status. Public attitudes towards inclusion of non-citizens in government-funded healthcare vary significantly across countries, and in some contexts support differs significantly by gender and education level.

Chapter 34 in The Palgrave International Handbook of Healthcare Policy and Governance, edited by Ellen Kuhlmann, Robert H. Blank, Ivy Lynn Bourgeault, and Claus Wendt.