Health care and the principle of fair equality of opportunity

Bioethics 8 (4):329–349 (1994)
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Abstract

ABSTRACTIn The Netherlands, the public funding of a number of health care services is controversial. What can we learn from this about the moral concerns that underlie these judgements? And, if there is anything to learn, can we use this improved understanding to scrutinise the adequacy of particular decisions concerning the public funding of health care services? In the present paper, I will analyse three cases: corrective surgey, In Vitro Fertilisation and liver transplantation. I will summarise the arguments that have been used to support or to challenge the public funding of these services. I will then assess the merits of Daniels’fair equality of opportunity account of justice in health care. Can this account improve our understanding of the moral concerns underlying our judgements about the public funding of these services? Can it serve to scrutinise the adequacy of particular decisions that are made concerning the public funding of health care services? My answer to both questions will be a qualified yes. Daniels’account can provide guidance, but not because we can deductively infer from it what is right and what is wrong. Instead, I will argue for a more casuistic use of the concept of fair equality of opportunity

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