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The ethics of healthcare inequalities.

From an ethical view, the number and degree of health inequities that exist in a wealthy nation like America is not acceptable. However, correcting health inequities is not a simple task. Think of an area of health inequity in your community. Using what you know about ethics and health care, answer the following questions:

a. Why is this health inequity also an ethical issue?

b. What are the current efforts, if any, to address this area?

c. Who needs to be a part of addressing this area?

d. What else can address this area?

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Solution Preview

This is a curious way to phrase an ethical question because the statement presupposes a conclusion. This is clearly an Epicurean view of health, which is appealing to many, but one must realize that a large segment of our society would not necessarily endorse this idea. Jost (2006, attached) details one aspect of how people view this question: the genetics of liberal and conservative points of view. You will find on reading Jost's research, that conservatives endorse the view that people are inherently unequal and due unequal rewards. This view by approximately 50% of our society extends to healthcare. So to say the health inequities are not acceptable in America is, quite frankly, just not the case. Let's consider your questions as an example for a homeless individual, unable to access healthcare.
a. The Epicurean (liberal) point of view would be that this individual has as much right to maximize his/her pleasures as any other individual. By "pleasure" one needs to understand the Epicurean meaning which is essential "good". The Epicurean uses "pain" to indicate "bad". Rem Edwards has written extensively on pleasures and pains and may be worth looking into. However, the Utilitarian point of view would be that this individual does not merit equal access since he/she is not contributing to ...

Solution Summary

One needs to understand that what appears to be healthcare inequality to one person, may not appear so to another. The ethical framework through which we view situations is determined to a significant degree by our genetics, which makes our point of view seem intuitive and logical. Yet, to another person, our point of view may be seen as non-intuitive and illogical. This discussion addresses the utilitarian/conservative point of view in contrast to the epicurean/liberal point of view regarding healthcare inequality.