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Applying the Health Justice Framework to Address Health and Health Care Inequities Experienced by People with Disabilities During and After COVID-19

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially devastating for people with disabilities, as well as other socially marginalized communities. Indeed, an emerging body of scholarship has revealed that people with disabilities are experiencing striking disparities. In particular, scholars have shined a light on state and hospital triage policies that allow hospitals to ration critical health care and resources, such as ventilators, for people with disabilities if resources become limited and they cannot treat all patients during the pandemic. These injustices deserve extensive consideration from policymakers, legal professionals, and scholars.

Elucidating how the inequities that people with disabilities experience during the COVID-19 pandemic result from deeply rooted historical injustices is crucial. This Article comprehensively analyzes the inequalities that people with disabilities experience before and during the pandemic, focused on examining how law and policy affect these disparities. It builds on, incorporates, and extends the existing scholarship about COVID-19 and disabled people by positioning it within the health justice framework. It also proposes normative legal and policy solutions to address deeply entrenched inequities that will affect people with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

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