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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-28249

Brauer, S (2009). Age rationing and prudential lifespan account in Norman Daniels' Just health. Journal of Medical Ethics, 35(1):27-31.

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Could age be a valid criterion for rationing? In Just health, Norman Daniels argues that under certain circumstances age rationing is prudent, and therefore a morally permissible strategy to tackle the problem of resource scarcity. Crucial to his argument is the distinction between two problem-settings of intergenerational equity: equity among age groups and equity among birth cohorts. While fairness between age groups can involve unequal benefit treatment in different life stages, fairness between birth cohorts implies enjoying approximate equality in benefit ratios. Although both questions of fairness are distinct, the resolution of the one depends on resolution of the other. In this paper, I investigate whether Daniels’ account of age rationing could be defended as a fair way of setting limits to healthcare entitlements. I will focus on two main points. First, I will consider whether the age group problem could be resolved without appealing to a conception of the good. Second, I will demonstrate that the connection between the age group problem and the birth cohort problem runs deeper than Daniels initially thought—and that it ultimately suggests a method for prioritisation in problem solving strategies.


5 citations in Web of Science®
6 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:01 Faculty of Theology > Center for Ethics
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:170 Ethics
610 Medicine & health
Deposited On:22 Jan 2010 14:54
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:48
Publisher:BMJ Publishing Group
Free access at:Official URL. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1136/jme.2008.024398
Official URL:http://jme.bmj.com/content/35/1/27.full
PubMed ID:19103939

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