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Adequate health care and an aging society: are they morally compatible?


Author: Callahan, D.
Year: 1986
Type: Journal Article


The ever-escalating health care costs of the elderly result in focus on such issues as cost effectiveness, allocation of resources, insurance strategies, priorities in research & delivery, etc; but the skewing effect of our aging society is raising disturbing questions concerning the effect of these rising costs on the welfare of younger generations & society as a whole. Society will soon have to face severe moral questions about the desirability of never-ending medical innovation, the value of preserving & improving the health of the elderly, & the comparative rights of different generations to the necessary resources of life. Solutions to these problems will be sought at three stages: (1) given present social values, options will be sought to control costs & thereby forestall significant reduction in adequate health care to the elderly; (2) there will be a move away from existing values & commitments to examine the moral foundations of health-care programs & benefits for the elderly; & (3) there will be discussion of more fundamental & difficult issues concerning aging & its place in life. Some form of balance between the needs of the young & the old will have to be created. This balance will include limits on the length of individual lives that a society can sensibly be expected to maintain.

Further Details

Pages 247-267
Volume 115
Issue 1
Accession Number 27.3.03
Electronic Resource Number
Keywords older, health improvement

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