Lingering Problems of Currency and Scope in Daniels's Argument for a Societal Obligation to Meet Health Needs
The Journal of medicine and philosophy 2010 Aug; 35(4): 402-14
Norman Daniels's new book, Just Health, brings together his decades of work on the problem of justice and health. It improves on earlier writings by discussing how we can meet health needs fairly when we cannot meet them all and by attending to the implications of the socioeconomic determinants of health. In this article I return to the core idea around which the entire theory is built: that the principle of equality of opportunity grounds a societal obligation to meet health needs. I point, first, that nowhere does Daniels say just what version of that principle he accepts. I then proceed to construct a principle on his behalf, based on a faithful reading of Just Health. Once we actually nail down the principle, I argue, we will find that there are two problems: it is implausible in itself, and it fails to ground a societal obligation to meet health needs.
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Daniels, Norman (1981-12)It is argued that the distribution of health care resources is primarily a social obligation based on the principle of equality of opportunity. The obligations of the individual physician and of the medical profession are ...