Dr. Robert MacDougall: Health and Social Justice

D. Robert MacDougall: Guest Lecturer (Philosophy)

Powerpoint: health outcomes

This (well, last) week we discussed health outcomes and health justice.  During that class there were 3 different sets of material principles for understanding health inequalities and determining whether or not an inequality is unjust.

The first stated that for each individual an equal share of health, unless obtained using force or fraud.  That is to say if a person’s health status is the result of force or fraud, than it is unjust.

The second material principle stated that for each individual an equal share of health, unless obtained by choice. That is to say that if a person’s health in unequal, or poor, due to their choices/behaviors that it is not unjust.

The third material principle expresses that for each individual an equal share of health even if it is the result is from one’s own choices/behaviors.  This principle expressed that any inequality is an injustice regardless of why.

YOUR TASK: Please explain which of these 3 principles you feel our country should adopt for health care justice within the U.S.  Consider the following: how might the principle affect detecting illness? Preventing illness? Treating illness? Explain your thinking behind your choice. I look forward to reading your responses.

 

17 thoughts on “Dr. Robert MacDougall: Health and Social Justice

  1. In my opinion, the lecture was quite interesting and the idea of it was to show us, the students, how difference in race, gender, education and socio-economic status (income) would cause different health outcomes. For example, in the Whitehall study, people with higher paying jobs had better health outcomes than people with lower ones. Or female life expectancy is longer than male; or the higher mortality rate among black babies. Unfortunately, the inequality in accessing the health care leads to different health outcomes. I believe that everybody has human right to get equal health care and let’s remove concept of race, because it isn’t correct variable: the socio-economical status matters, not skin color.

  2. This lecture actually made more sense to me, than using race as a variable in determining health risks in people. Also doesn’t help that the US (the country we’re in) health care is ranked pretty low compared to other countries like Japan and the UK.
    People with better access to resources, have a better quality of life (your income, basically determines your quality of life; sadly).

    • Sorry, since I didn’t really do the task:
      Please explain which of these 3 principles you feel our country should adopt for health care justice within the U.S. Consider the following: how might the principle affect detecting illness? Preventing illness? Treating illness? Explain your thinking behind your choice. I look forward to reading your responses.

      I feel like it should probably be a combination of the first and second principle. The first basically says, unless it is through force or fraud, it is unjust; while the second basically states, that unless it is due to the person’s choice, it is not unjust.
      Unless you are “forced” or through “fraud” it is unjust. You can technically be “forced” through picking your job or your health. As was I used the example in class; if a boss told you to come to work today, and you give the excuse that you are sick, vomitting and so forth, the boss doesn’t care and says “come to work, or you’re fired” you are in a sense, forced. At least to me it is. While the second principle counters that you chose it, you are also being forced, so that fact alone makes it unjust. I guess I look at those first two principles like a computer program running through if-else statements.

  3. I feel like the US should adopt the second material principle. America is “home of the free” and embraces self freedom and freedom of choice. This freedom extends to health choices, lifestyles and just about anything else. Not everyone will make healthy choices but some people know the risk and are okay with living that way. There can’t be injustice due to self harm. Everyone in the US has some form of health knowledge and should be held accountable if they choose to live an unhealthy lifestyle. This is not to say they shouldn’t be offered help (if they want it of course) but this is just to say that there was no injustice involved. I feel like the healthcare system is like this now except not everyone has access to healthcare or access to health improving food or activities. I think that is the real injustice.

  4. The principle that i feel should be doubt for health care in the Us is the second material principle. The second material principle states that people is health is unequal, or poor, do to the individuals choices that is is not unjust. The reason behind my decision is that i believe people should have to take accountability for their actions. With people having to live with the health choices they make i think this would make people more conscience of the way the eat and how they live their lives.

  5. The second material principle stated that for each individual an equal share of health, unless obtained by choice. That is to say that if a person’s health in unequal, or poor, due to their choices/behaviors that it is not unjust.

    I agree with the second choice the most and think it should be adopted by our country. Like some of my class mates say before people know the risks that come with certain behaviors and they should be accountable for their actions. Even if a person is already doing something unhealthy for example smoking, there is still a chance to change and live a healthier lifestyle but some people choose not to. Some because they don’t know how or it’s too hard but some don’t want to. So they should take responsibility for it.

  6. I was shocked to see how far the USA when is come health rank,very terrifying and it seems like if we want to live a bit healthy we have to buy our health,a bad even if we do the service is not provide to the mass population. ironicLy speaking it’s like a dead man buying his coffin after his death, The concept of depending how much you make, or environment,the shop that’s near us sell healthy stuff and if they have its so much we are forced to consume more processing food than organic. We are a big and better country we should start carrying for our people,just because smoke they shouldn’t be prevented of certain coverage of health insurance that is really unjustifiable.

  7. I stand behind the third rule. I believe everyone should be treated equally. Needless to say my initial reaction is rule two I believe its unjust to leave people to deal with the consequences of their choices. Someone may smoke and develop lung cancer their consequence is living with that cancer, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve necessary treatment/health care. While someone who doesn’t smoke can choose to work in an environment surrounded by smoke can develop that same cancer some might say he deserves to be treated more than the person who does smoke. Nonetheless they both need to be treated. We all make choices that determine the quality of health we receive. Some forced choices and some guilty pleasures, where we live, what we eat, our activities all play a role in our health. We all deserve equal treatment for the outcome of our choices.

  8. I believe that the United States should adopt the second principle because it gives everyone the freedom to make their own choices when it comes to health. Take for example, most modern day people know that smoking and drinking lots of alcohol will have detrimental effects on their health which may lead to various illnesses but they still end up doing it. This principle will then say, “If you get yourself into the situation, you have to find a way out”. Though I do not like to see people suffer, it would help them to make better choices and think twice before doing certain things and it will also be a form of encouragement which may assist in lessening specific illnesses. I know that this principle would affect detecting illness because if someone is warned about a specific situation and still does it, people will not be too interested in the outcome. So if an illness is developed from smoking, majority of people would not care about its detection or treatment because they would believe that if that person had abstained, he or she would not have be in the situation, so the consequences will have to be suffered.

  9. I believe our country should adopt the second principle for health care justice within the U.S. For each individual an equal share of health, unless obtained by choice. That is to say that if a person’s health in unequal, or poor, due to their choices/behaviors that it is not unjust. People should take accountable of their own lives and be able to make decisions for themselves. If health care is offered without any restrictions and they refuse to take it , it’s on them. There is always a helping hand but if refused, that is a health lifestyle you choose to make.

  10. I believe second principle belongs in the health care justice within the US because health is our main priority concern in life. Health is important to our mental and physical self. If we have a good health habit and healthy body. We can gain our other sub priority concern in our life time. Our health is all equal, when we were born, I’d agree others people might not be as lucky as us who were born in good healthy condition, it because their parent might not be in a good health. Our parent is also the cause of having a unhealthy baby, because they choose to live with an unhealthy habit and choose to have a child. But most baby are born healthy. People should take responsible of their own health and prevent any bad habits to cause any illness to harm their body. If they have any illness, they should take responsible to take medication to cure the illness and not ignore any treatments.

  11. I believe that in the United States, there should be third principle implemented. This principle emphasizes that for each individual an equal share of health even if it is the result is from one’s own choices/behaviors. This principle expressed that any inequality is an injustice regardless of why.
    The reason why I like this principle is that, I also believe that any type of inequality is injustice. Day by day, rich population is getting richer and richer, while the poor population is getting poorer and poorer. It is because of the unequal distribution of economic opportunities. There is nothing much we can do about it to let these opportunities be distributed equally. So, at least in terms of heath, there should always equal access of heath related resources to everyone. No matter what if one can afford it or not. Due to lack of economic resources, poor population cannot have access to education that is necessary for them to survive in this society. They are also derived from the new knowledge and current issues. That is why it is the government’s duty to keep those people inform of any upcoming outbreaks and available resources and also provide them full health coverage without any inequality. If government does not pay attention to poor population, this is injustice in my opinion.

  12. I believe that our country should adopt the second principle for healthcare justice. According to the principle a person has their own choice to make healthy choices. With this principle a person has the choice to visit a doctor every once or twice a year which can help prevent risk of stomach and liver cancer. Taking care of what you eat and avoid bad habits such as drinking and smoking can help you prevent diabetes, cancer, becoming obese, or having high cholesterol. In some cases some illnesses can be effected due to hereditary, which means that the person has the choice to do routine checkups, buy medicine to treat themselves or ignore their checkups and instead of buying medicine they use their money for something else.

  13. I think the most humane approach to health care in the U.S is to follow the 3rd principle, in which all health inequalities are treated as unjust no matter of what bad or good choices in health we take. Whether we are guilty or not of having an specific illness, should not determine the approach to our health care. The reason I prefer this principle is because I believe the other principles fail when preventing and treating illnesses. A good example could be the case of alcoholics with liver cancer. It seems that under the 1st and 2nd principles those alcoholics would be treated differently from other liver cancer patients. Those alcoholics have cancer because they decided to abuse in the use of alcohol and that is the end of the story. While under the 3rd principle, the treatment of alcoholics would be more open to solve other little problems in society that might be causing the alcoholism in the first place.

  14. The lecture was interesting though the material principles were quite confusing in the beginning but later on they became clear to me. I believe that everyone should get health care equally. Different people make different health choices. Health care choices are effected by many things such as sometimes due to circumstances, lack of knowledge, lack resources and in some cases self harm. But I think no matter what choices people make or at what level of their health they are, they should get health care regardless of their choices. Therefore i believe that the third principle U.S. should adopt.

  15. The choice the U.S. and the rest of the world should adopt is choice 3. Everyone should have an equal share and opportunity at health. Even if someone made poor health choices the pain and lifestyle changes they will face is punishment enough. We are human and we all make mistakes. I’m not sure how this affects the detecting and preventing of an illness but i know how it will affect treating an illness. This will provide equality for certain forms of treatment and help everyone that is not in the position to help themselves.

  16. I personally agree with the third material principle. The third material principle expresses that for each individual an equal share of health even if it is the result is from one’s own choices/behaviors. This principle expressed that any inequality is an injustice regardless of why.

    I feel like we live in a world full of people who make mistakes and bad choices due to many different reasons. I do not feel like they should be turned away due to their constant bad choices. Some people have a hard time coping with situations which cause them to do these bad actions. I know that my opinion seems a little far fetch but all people should be given equal opportunity regardless of the situation. Especially if the seek the help themselves.

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