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Presidential Framing of Health Inequality from FDR to Trump
November 5, 2021

Drew Halfmann, UC Davis

Research on American framing of health inequality finds that government health policy reports give more attention to inequalities by race and ethnicity than by SES. In this paper, I examine another key site of health inequality framing—presidential messages. Through quantitative and qualitative content analysis of ninety years of messages, I find that presidents mentioned low-income people in more messages and in more committed tones than racially-oppressed people for the entire period. The pattern of these mentions also varied by political party and time.