Age-rationing and the just distribution of health care: Is there a duty to die?
The author analyzes the argument that a policy involving distributive justice in the allocation of scarce health care resources, based on the strategy of rational self interest maximation under a veil of ignorance (Rawls/Daniels), would result in an age rationing system of voluntary, socially encouraged, direct termination of the lives of the elderly rather than their medical abandonment. She maintains that such a policy would be a fair response only in a situation of substantial scarcity of resources that cannot be relieved without introducing greater injustices. Battin suggests that some of the current pressure on resources could be reduced by pruning waste and the expenses attributable to paternalistic imposition of treatment and to the practice of defensive medicine. She also advocates reconsideration of societal priorities assigned to various social goods.
University of Chicago Press
Health care providers; Death; Euthanasia
Aged; Delivery of Health Care; Ethics
Battin, M.P. (1987). Age-rationing and the just distribution of health care: is there a duty to die? Ethics, 97(2), 317-40.