Justice and the Allocation of Health Care Resources

  • Christine K. Cassel
  • Ruth B. Purtilo


This book thoroughly addresses problems confronting elderly individuals, particularly with respect to their health care problems. In this chapter we draw on such considerations but focus on the additional challenges created by acknowledging that elderly persons as a group are contenders for society’s inevitably limited resources. One goal of a good society is to arrive at an approach to the allocation of scarce resources that takes into account the unique values and goals of individuals while supporting fairness overall. But whenever prized resources are in limited supply, groups generally viewed favorably, with sympathy, may become viewed as competitors, or even threats, to other groups. It follows that elderly persons may come to be viewed as an economic threat under current circumstances, with the outcome being less than our society’s highest ideals and values would support. To understand why this can happen and how it can be avoided requires a careful evaluation of priorities, values, and trends.


Distributive Justice Health Care Resource Dependency Ratio Normal Life Span Military Spending 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christine K. Cassel
  • Ruth B. Purtilo

There are no affiliations available

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