Why Health-Related Inequalities Matter and Which Ones Do

In Ole Frithjof Norheim, Ezekiel Emmanuel & Joseph Millum (eds.), Global Health Priority-Setting: Beyond Cost-Effectiveness Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press (forthcoming)
Alex Voorhoeve
London School of Economics
I outline and defend two egalitarian theories, which yield distinctive and, I argue, complementary answers to why health-related inequalities matter: a brute luck egalitarian view, according to which inequalities due to unchosen, differential luck are bad because unfair, and a social egalitarian view, according to which inequalities are bad when and because they undermine people’s status as equal citizens. These views identify different objects of egalitarian concern: the brute luck egalitarian view directs attention to health-related well-being, while social egalitarianism focuses on health-related capabilities that are central to a person’s status as a citizen. I argue that both views are correct and should jointly guide priority-setting in health.
Keywords Inequality  Health care justice
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