The Slow Transition of U.S. Law toward a Greater Emphasis on Prevention

Thaddeus Mason Pope

in Prevention vs. Treatment

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199837373
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919499 | DOI:
The Slow Transition of U.S. Law toward a Greater Emphasis on Prevention

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United States law has long emphasized treatment over prevention. Only over the past decade have legal measures begun to materially target many of the root causes of morbidity and mortality. This revitalization of public health law is long overdue. But it presents difficult (and, as yet, largely unanswered) ethical and policy questions. This chapter has four primary aims. First, it describes the traditional neglect of public health law. Second, it describes a built-in bias of the common law toward treatment over prevention. Third, it describes many of the most notable recent legal developments that increasingly emphasize the prevention, rather than the medical treatment, of health problems. Fourth, this chapter examines normative problems raised both by these new, arguably more paternalistic, public health laws and by others that are likely to follow.

Keywords: paternalism; prevention; morbidity; mortality; United States; public health law

Chapter.  10951 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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