National Academy of Medicine

Lessons for Health Equity: Military Medicine as a Window to Universal Health Insurance

By Jeff Hutchinson, Raquel Mack, Tracey Pérez Koehlmoos, and Patrick H. DeLeon
November 28, 2016 | Discussion Paper

Health disparities result from multifaceted variables including access to health care and discrimination associated with socioeconomic status, education, social support, insurance, race, ethnicity, and gender. The purpose of this paper is to identify lessons learned and future research opportunities from the two national health systems that model universal health care: the Military Health System (MHS) and the Veteran’s Administration (VA).  The concept that insurance and access are the primary factors in health disparities is partially supported in the MHS, yet mental health care remains disparate especially in posttraumatic stress disorder treatment and outcomes in the VA system.  The data available from the VA and MHS demonstrate both elimination of disparities and areas where disparities continue despite equal access and resources.  Increased focus on these health care delivery systems has the potential to clarify sources and solutions to health disparities.



Suggested Citation

Hutchinson, J. R. Mack, T. Perez Koehlmoos, and P. H. DeLeon. 2016. Lessons for Health Equity: Military Medicine as a Window to Universal Health Insurance. NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. doi: 10.31478/201611a


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.