In this article we explore systematically the different conceptions of health equity in key national health policy documents in the United States, the United Kingdom, and France. We find substantial differences across the three countries in the characterization of group differences (by SES, race/ethnicity, or territory), and the theorized causes of health inequalities (socioeconomic structures versus health care system features). In all three countries, reports throughout the period alluded at least minimally to inequalities in social determinants as the underlying cause of health inequalities. However, even in the reports with the strongest attachment to this causal model, the authors stop well short of advocating the redistribution of power and resources that would likely be necessary to redress these inequalities.

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