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Inequalities in HealthConcepts, Measures, and Ethics$
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Nir Eyal, Samia A. Hurst, Ole F. Norheim, and Dan Wikler

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199931392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931392.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 16 June 2021

Reducing Health Disparities

Reducing Health Disparities

No Simple Matter

Chapter:
(p.178) 12 Reducing Health Disparities
Source:
Inequalities in Health
Author(s):

Norman Daniels

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931392.003.0013

A health inequality between demographic groups is unjust if it is the result of an unjust distribution of the socially controllable factors that contribute to the level and distribution of population health. Even if we have social obligations to meet health needs however they arise, because they constrain an individual’s fair share of the normal opportunity range for a society, we may have extra reasons for reducing unjust health inequalities since they are the results of socially controllable factors. Attempts to reduce those unjust inequalities encounter a series of familiar distributive problems, such as the problem of how much priority to give to worse health conditions, or when an aggregation of a modest benefit to many outweighs a more significant benefit to a few, or when to give priority to the best outcome of an intervention rather than provide people with fair chances at a some benefit. Since reasonable people disagree about how to solve these standard distributive problems, and since reasonable people will disagree about how much weight to give the injustice of a health inequality, policy toward reducing health inequalities will encounter reasonable ethical disagreement. Such disagreements should be addressed by a fair democratic deliberation.

Keywords:   unjust health inequality, unsolved distributive problems, reasonable disagreement, reducing inequalities, fair deliberative process

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