Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Ethical Dimensions of the Health Care Reform Debate

To get this whole blog thing going, here’s something to consider – two things, actually. Two very insightful articles about the ethical issues raised by the current debate on health care reform. Cohen talks about the rhetoric used by critics of the public option in the Senate health care reform bill, accusing them of being intellectually dishonest (why don’t we have a Debate Umpire to supervise public discourse?). Singer explains why avoiding any discussion of “rationing” health care for fear of sparking opposition is both unrealistic and unethical. He says that health care will inevitably be rationed in some way or another (by ability to pay, by access to advanced medical technology, etc), and we should not–and cannot afford to – forgo responsibility in making these tough decisions.


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  2. What I find most interesting about health care reform in the United States (reflected by both of these articles) is the intense focus on a single aspect: insurance. In conversation, "access to health care" is synonomous with "access to insurance." Undoubtably the two are connected but is this as far as we go? What about taking a look a system that has obvious flaws beyond who can gets to use it and use it well but what it in fact does for the individual and what it considers "health care."
    Even if every American has insurance and access to care, will that alone give them the opportunity to improve their quality of life? We still have failed address how social forces impact health.