Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 23 (4):735-742 (2020)

Luck egalitarianism, a theory of distributive justice, holds that inequalities which arise due to individuals’ imprudent choices must not, as a matter of justice, be neutralized. This article deals with the possible application of luck egalitarianism to the area of health care. It seeks to investigate whether the ethos of luck egalitarianism can be operationalized to the point of informing health care policy without straying from its own ideals. In the transition from theory to practise, luck egalitarianism encounters several difficulties. We argue that the charge of moral arbitrariness can, at least in part, be countered by our provided definition of “imprudent actions” in the health area. We discuss the choice for luck egalitarianism in health care between ex ante and ex post policy approaches, and show how both approaches are flawed by luck egalitarianism’s own standards. We also examine the problem of threshold setting when luck egalitarianism is set to practise in health care. We argue that wherever policy thresholds are set, luck egalitarianism in health care risks pampering the imprudent, abandoning the prudent or, at worst, both. Furthermore, we claim that moves to mitigate these risks in turn diminish the normative importance of the ethos of luck egalitarianism to policy. All in all, our conclusion is that luck egalitarianism cannot be consistently applied as a convincing and relevant normative principle in health care policy.
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DOI 10.1007/s11019-020-09962-3
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References found in this work BETA

What is the Point of Equality.Elizabeth Anderson - 1999 - Ethics 109 (2):287-337.
What is Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resources.Ronald Dworkin - 1981 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (4):283 - 345.
What is Equality? Part 1: Equality of Welfare.Ronald Dworkin - 1981 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 10 (3):185-246.
Health, Luck, and Justice.Shlomi Segall - 2009 - Princeton University Press.

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