Theories about the justice and allocation of health-care resources

  • Laura Palazzani


The question of the allocation or distribution of health resources is an extremely important aspect of the current bioethics and bio-legal debate. Everyone would obviously like to see an ideal situation with sufficient resources available for every need. But both the empirical data regarding the finiteness of the health resources and, on the other hand, the increasingly felt need for access to treatment, which should be more extensive in terms of quantity and better in terms of quality, intensifies the problem of the distribution of health resources. As a result of this, there is a strong need to answer the following questions: “what”, “how much”, “when”, and “how” to distribute, “who” distributes and above all “to whom” to distribute in the health sector. Thus the ethical and legal relevance of the question rises.

Even though everyone agrees on distributing the health resources “fairly”, not everyone agrees on how to conceive fairness, in the context of the philosophical pluralism which characterizes the current debate.

By studying the various theoretical models of the problems connected to the micro-allocation and the macro-allocation of the resources and to the concepts of fair distribution and fair commutation, that is, individualistic liberalism, social utilitarianism, one can see how the application of the personalistic and doctrine of natural law makes it possible to identify a theoretical model which opposes both collectivism and individualism by weighing the individual rights to freedom and the collective social rights, in the search for the right to life and the protection of health of the individual within the context of solidarity and social responsibility in view of an overall improvement of the common good.



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How to Cite
Palazzani, L. (1996). Theories about the justice and allocation of health-care resources. Medicina E Morale, 45(5), 901 - 921.