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

To continue reading, see options above.

About PSQ's Editor


Full Access

Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.


A Purple Agenda For The Next Four Years
June 20, 2024
7:30 p.m.–9:00 p.m. ET


Editor’s spotlight

Virtual Issue

Introduction: Black Power and the Civil Rights Agendas of Charles V. Hamilton
Marylena Mantas and Robert Y. Shapiro


Search the Archives

Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilson

view additional issues

Most read

Articles | Book reviews

Understanding the Bush Doctrine
Robert Jervis

The Study of Administration
Woodrow Wilson

Notes on Roosevelt's "Quarantine" Speech
Dorothy Borg

view all

New APS Book

China in a World of Great Power Competition   CHINA IN A WORLD OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION

About US

Academy of Political Science

The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.

Political Science Quarterly

With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.

Stay Connected

newsstand locator
About APS