Just caring: Health reform and health care rationing

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 19 (5):435-443 (1994)
Health reform must include health care rationing, both for reasons of fairness and efficiency. Few politicians are willing to accept this claim, including the Clinton Administration. Brown and others have argued that enormous waste and inefficiency must be wrung out of our health care system before morally problematic cost constraining options, such as rationing, can be justifiably adopted. However, I argue that most of the policies and practices that would diminish waste and inefficiency include implicit (and therefore morally problematic) rationing. Critics of rationing see as its most morally and psychologically troubling feature that an identified individual is denied potentially beneficial care. That psychic anguish may not be eliminable, and perhaps ought not be eliminated. But if rationing protocols are fairly adopted through a process of free and informed rational democratic deliberation to which all have access, the moral objections are largely overcome. Such a process is possible only if implicit rationing is recognized and rejected. Keywords: Justice, health care rationing, health reform, democratic decision-making CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/19.5.435
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