Allocation of Health Care Resources
Health Care Programs for the Aged
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AbstractThe fair innings argument maintains that for healthcare resources to be distributed fairly every person should receive sufficient healthcare to provide them with the opportunity to live in good health for a normal span of years. What constitutes a normal span of years is often defined as life expectancy at birth, but this criterion fails to provide adequate grounds for the equal distribution of healthcare across and between generations. A more suitable criterion for the normal life span is the idea that the human life span is biologically limited. Many current gerontological theories argue that the biological limit to human life spans is related to the ageing process. If technological advances in medicine can retard the ageing process by treating and preventing the diseases and disorders associated with it, human longevity will be limited only by the developments in and the successful application of medicine. In consequence, the fair innings argument will no longer be able to justify denying people healthcare resources because they have lived longer than the normal life span.
Journal of Medical Ethics 2009 January; 35(1): 53-56