Justice, Scarcity, and Public Accountability for Limits

Norman Daniels and James E. Sabin

in Setting Limits Fairly

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780195149364
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780199865123 | DOI:
Justice, Scarcity, and Public Accountability for Limits

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Justice requires meeting health care needs fairly under resource constraints, and this, in turn, requires limiting care in a publicly accountable way. According to the Health-Is-Priceless Advocate, justice requires that we treat medical needs as more important than nearly any of the other things on which we spend our money. The Scarcity Skeptic insists there is no true scarcity, only waste, or irrationality, or the frivolity of trivial pursuits. There is no real scarcity when billions are spent on unnecessary tests and procedures, or highly paid health care executives, or dividends to investors. This chapter responds primarily to the Health-Is-Priceless Advocate and the Scarcity Skeptic, explaining why although health care is of special moral importance, finite resources mean we must place limits on care.

Keywords: health care; resource allocation; limits on care; Health-Is-Priceless Advocate; Scarcity Skeptic

Chapter.  5731 words. 

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology

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