Journal of Medical Ethics 44 (1):53-58 (2018)

Authors
Phoebe Friesen
McGill University
Abstract
This paper argues against incorporating assessments of individual responsibility into healthcare policies by expanding an existing argument and offering a rebuttal to an argument in favour of such policies. First, it is argued that what primarily underlies discussions surrounding personal responsibility and healthcare is not causal responsibility, moral responsibility or culpability, as one might expect, but biases towards particular highly stigmatised behaviours. A challenge is posed for proponents of taking personal responsibility into account within health policy to either expand the debate to also include socially accepted behaviours or to provide an alternative explanation of the narrowly focused discussion. Second, a critical response is offered to arguments that claim that policies based on personal responsibility would lead to several positive outcomes including healthy behaviour change, better health outcomes and decreases in healthcare spending. It is argued that using individual responsibility as a basis for resource allocation in healthcare is unlikely to motivate positive behaviour changes, and is likely to increase inequality which may lead to worse health outcomes overall. Finally, the case of West Virginia's Medicaid reform is examined, which raises a worry that policies focused on personal responsibility have the potential to lead to increases in medical spending overall.
Keywords responsibility  resource allocation  stigma
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DOI 10.1136/medethics-2016-103478
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References found in this work BETA

Cause and Norm.Christopher Hitchcock & Joshua Knobe - 2009 - Journal of Philosophy 106 (11):587-612.
Lifestyle, Responsibility and Justice.E. Feiring - 2008 - Journal of Medical Ethics 34 (1):33-36.

View all 21 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Solidarity and Responsibility in Health Care.Ben Davies & Julian Savulescu - 2019 - Public Health Ethics 12 (2):133-144.
Taking Responsibility for Responsibility.Neil Levy - 2019 - Public Health Ethics 12 (2):103-113.
From Sufficient Health to Sufficient Responsibility.Ben Davies & Julian Savulescu - forthcoming - Journal of Bioethical Inquiry:1-11.

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