Equal Opportunity and Health Care Rights for the Elderly
The literature on rights to health care — and this volume is no exception — is not shy about pointing to the difficulties talk about such rights brings with it, including problems of specifying their scope, limits, and bases. In this essay, I will try to give some plausible, if abstract, content to the notion of a health care right, indeed to the health care rights of the elderly. But my working assumption in this discussion is that the appeal to a right to health care is not an appropriate starting point for an inquiry into what just health care involves. Rights are not moral fruits that spring up from bare earth, fully ripened without cultivation. Rather, we are justified in claiming a right to health care only if it can be harvested from an acceptable general theory of justice for health care. The theory tells us which kinds of right claims are legitimately viewed as rights. Such a theory also helps us specify the scope and limits of justified right claims. I will appeal to the fair equality of opportunity account of just health care  to specify the content of these derivative health care rights.
KeywordsHealth Care Service Equal Opportunity Health Care Institution Social Obligation Moral Importance
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