The American Journal of Bioethics | VOL. 8
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A Broader View of Justice

Publication Date Nov 13, 2008

Abstract

In this paper I argue that a narrow view of justice dominates the bioethics literature. I urge a broader view. As bioethicists, we often conceive of justice using a medical model. This model focuses attention at a particular point in time, namely, when someone who is already sick seeks access to scarce or expensive services. A medical model asks how we can fairly distribute those services. The broader view I endorse requires looking upstream, and asking how disease and suffering came about. In contrast to a medical model, a social model of justice considers how social determinants affect the health of a population. For example, social factors such as access to clean drinking water, education, safe workplaces, and police protection, profoundly affect risk for disease and early death. I examine one important social determinant of health, health care coverage, to show the limits of a medical model and the merits of a broader view.

Concepts

Important Social Determinant Of Health Medical Model View Of Justice Particular Point In Time Health Care Coverage Safe Workplaces Risk For Early Death Drinking Water Protection Early Death Social Determinant

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