A Social Contract for Health Information

Journal of Information Ethics 17 (2):35-45 (2008)
Abstract
Electronic health records are likely to improve health care but in the U.S. they will also enable health insurers to be more selective in deciding to whom to deny coverage or whose premiums to increase. In a Rawlsian social contract (1971) the veil of ignorance does not conceal general scientific information from the hypothetical contracting parties. Nonetheless, this paper shows that social contract considerations rule out risk selection as morally impermissible. Since modern health care must in effect be paid for by public or private insurance, and doing so is efficient, this is a basic part of health care justice. But for information ethics this argument does not extend beyond cases in which provision of information serves to deny a social primary good to members of society
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