Community, Public Health and Resource Allocation

Public Health Ethics 3 (3):267-271 (2010)
If ‘community’ is the answer, what is the problem? While questions undoubtedly arise in allocating resources to public health, such as ‘how much?’ and ‘to whom?’, we already have answers based on (i) the observation that disease and illness are bad, (ii) views of justice and fairness and (iii) an appreciation of market failure. What does the concept of community add to the existing answers? Not nothing, I shall argue, but not much either. In some cases, health providers should take advantage of ties of community to deliver services more effectively. The desire to preserve communities may have some minor implications for devolved health care funding. The value of community may set some limits to inequalities in access to health care. That’s about it. I do consider some other claims of behalf of the concept, e.g. that people would not support justice in health care without a sense of community; but I don’t find these claims very plausible. Finally, I point out some ways in which communities can be damaged by the promotion of public health understood as population health
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DOI 10.1093/phe/phq026
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