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)
DOI 10.5840/ijap200317218
 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: 22,675
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

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

20 ( #205,679 of 1,938,950 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #293,948 of 1,938,950 )

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.