Distributive Justice and Rural Healthcare

People living in rural areas make up 20 percent of the U.S. population, but only 9 percent of physicians practice there. This uneven distribution is significant because rural areas have higher percentages of people in poverty, elderly people, people lacking health insurance coverage, and people with chronic diseases. As a way of ameliorating these disparities, e-health initiatives are being implemented. But the rural e-health movement raises its own set of distributive justice concerns about the digital divide. Moreover, even if the digital divide is overcome, e-health services may be of an inferior quality compared to face-to-face medical encounters. In this paper, I argue that before we can fully understand the distributive justice implications of e-health, we must first understand what distributive justice means. I argue that five elements—fairness, quality, accessibility, availability, and efficiency—constitute a general conception of justice and that all of these elements must be considered when evaluating e-health for rural health profession shortage areas. In doing so, it may be necessary to make important tradeoffs among these elements. I then examine the development of e-health programs in light of Rawls’s principle of equal opportunity and Daniels’s notion of species-typical functioning. I conclude that in the context of e-health, Rawls’s principle should be expanded to include geography as a prima facie morally relevant criterion for allocating healthcare benefits. I also conclude that Daniels’s notion of species-typical functioning provides grounds for thinking of health and some healthcare services as special goods
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,351
External links
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA
    Similar books and articles
    Norman Daniels (2001). Justice, Health, and Healthcare. American Journal of Bioethics 1 (2):2 – 16.
    Anne Moates (2005). The Rural Urban Health Divide. Chisholm Health Ethics Bulletin 11 (1):4.
    Wei Xiaopin (2008). Distributive Justice, Injustice and Beyond Justice. Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 50:857-872.

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index


    Total downloads

    5 ( #178,728 of 1,088,388 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,601 of 1,088,388 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature

    Start a new thread
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.