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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Nancy A.S. Jecker
B H 474
Seattle Campus

Justice in Health Care

Examination of the ethical problem of allocating scarce medical resources. Emphasizes the fundamental principles of justice that support alternative health policies. Recommended: prior courses in philosophy or ethics. Offered: jointly with PHIL 411.

Class description

This course examines the ethical problem of allocating scarce health care resources. Our emphasis throughout is on fundamental principles of justice that support alternative health policies. The first part of the course introduces students to several influential theories of justice, and considers the support these theories lend to the idea of a right to health care. The second section turns to consider alternative approaches to rationing health care. We examine arguments for and against rationing based on a patient's ability to pay; likelihood, length, or quality of medical benefit; social value; and age. We also consider the criteria of random selection; first come, first served; and favored group status. In the final section of the course, we discuss recent U.S. health care system reform. All readings are from contemporary philosophy and medical ethics literature. There are no prerequisites, but a previous course in ethics, medical ethics, or social philosophy is recommended. (Joint with PHIL 411) TEXT: Journal articles from the course website

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

There are no prerequisites, but a previous course in ethics, bioethics, or social philosophy is recommended.

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Annette R. Bernier
Date: 11/06/2012