Health equity and social justice

Journal of Applied Philosophy 18 (2):159–170 (2001)
Abstract
There is consistent and strong empirical evidence for social inequalities in health, as a vast and fast growing literature shows. In recent years, these findings have helped to move health equity high on international research and policy agendas. This paper examines how the empirical identification of social inequalities in health relates to a normative judgment about health inequities and puts forward an approach which embeds the pursuit of health equity within the general pursuit of social justice. It defends an indirect approach to health equity, which views social inequalities in health as unjust in so far as they are the result of an unjust basic structure of society in Rawls’ sense.
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