Rights, Public Policy, and the State

  • George P. Khushf
Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 38)


Baruch Brody has argued that rights language is not needed to justify a health care program and it is not helpful in addressing the crucial questions of what type and how much health care should be provided ([5]; see also [31], p. 149; [26], p. 210). Since the primary function of the debate on the right to health care is to address public policy concerns, Brody concludes that rights language does not serve its primary function and it should be abandoned in favor of a more fruitful language ([5], p. 113). In this essay I accept Brody’s contention that rights language has not proven very helpful in the past.1 But I believe this fact is only accidental and not inherent in rights language. In fact I think that rights language is especially useful because it allows us to appreciate the complex interaction of moral and nonmoral concerns that are involved in deliberations on public policy. The purpose of this essay is to develop rights language in a way that makes its relevance clear. I do this by placing the debate on the right to health care in the broad context of the justification of public policy and the nature of the state.


Moral Obligation Policy Debate Moral Concern Moral Argument Negative Function 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • George P. Khushf
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of ReligionHoustonUSA

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