Lifestyle Solidarity in the Healthcare System

Health Care Analysis 8 (1):65-75 (2000)
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Abstract

Encompassing health care systems in modern welfarestates embody several forms of solidarity: between thesick and the healthy, the old and the young andbetween those who take good care of their health onthe one hand and fellow citizens who choose to risktheir lives by smoking or unsafe sex on the other. Thelatter form is called lifestyle solidarity. In theNetherlands this type of solidarity has become theobject of a debate between medical ethicists. Mostmedical ethicist seem to want to uphold lifestylesolidarity. Most Dutch citizens agree with them. TheDutch government, however, embarked on a project tochange the health care system by transferring stateresponsibilities to other actors (employers, insurers,individuals). This changing policy may diminish ordestroy lifestyle solidarity despite the fact that noone intended this to happen.

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