Social contract theory and just decision making: Lessons from genetic testing for the BRCA mutations

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 14 (2):115-142 (2004)
Abstract
: Decisions about funding health services are crucial to controlling costs in health care insurance plans, yet they encounter serious challenges from intellectual property protection—e.g., patents—of health care services. Using Myriad Genetics' commercial genetic susceptibility test for hereditary breast cancer (BRCA testing) in the context of the Canadian health insurance system as a case study, this paper applies concepts from social contract theory to help develop more just and rational approaches to health care decision making. Specifically, Daniels's and Sabin's "accountability for reasonableness" is compared to broader notions of public consultation, demonstrating that expert assessments in specific decisions must be transparent and accountable and supplemented by public consultation
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