This summer has been a challenging one for the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics and its staff, just as it has been for so many of our friends across the United States and around the globe. We were forced to cancel our flagship “Health Law Professors” conference in June 2020, which is our annual opportunity to see our closest friends, members, authors, editors, and readers. We continued to cancel and delay other events through the late summer and fall. However, in spite of the difficulties we face every day, we remain inspired by the resolve and perseverance of our fellow countrymen, many of whom continue to work in the service of others even in the face of their own government’s and elected official’s indifference and incompetence. Stirred by our fellow’s dedication, we at ASLME have tried to remain steadfast in our more modest aims of serving our members and readers. Our HLP conference became instead an online teaching session in the memory of Jay Healey. We have also instituted a series of webinars, many of which focus on issues created or worsened by the coronavirus outbreak. We will continue to work to bring more online content to you in the future, focusing on both our conferences and material originating in our two journals
The one area of ASLME’s work that remains uninterrupted in this time of national crisis is our Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics. The papers that we publish in this symposium originated from a conference hosted by ASLME and American University in the autumn of 2019. In many ways that seems like a lifetime ago, but a close reading will reveal they are more relevant than ever. That conference, “Next Steps in Health Reform,” led to this collection of papers you hold in your hands, guest edited by our great friends Brietta R. Clark, Erin C. Fuse Brown, and Lindsay F. Wiley. In these papers the editors and their authors explore again how we in America can expand access to health care in our country so that it may benefit more people in a fairer way. The fundamental problems with American health care, including access to care, insurance and uninsurance, health parity, structural racism, social determinants of health, and so much more, all have one thing in common: they are closely related to basic issues of fairness. This question of fairness will only become more pronounced and important in the coming months as the inequitable suffering caused by COVID-19 will continue, which has clearly hit some communities and people harder than others. How we face these challenges as a nation is a central theme of these papers, and indeed a central part of why we continue to believe so strongly in the multidisciplinary, inclusive nature of our journal. We thank you for joining us on this journey, even in the most difficult of times.