January 11, 2010


Blumenthal, David and James A. Morone, The Heart of Power: Health and Politics in the Oval Office (Berkeley & Los Angeles: U. of California Press, 2009) (In the end, perhaps health care simply stretches indefinitely into the future. It is, after all, the place where politics and interests meet the human condition, the issue that reflects the greatest challenges to any society: how well do we minister to our fellow humans? Seen this way, health care will always challenge the head and the soul of the vulnerable human who sits at the heart of power.” Id. at 420.).

Lord, Alexandra M., Condom Nation: The U.S. Government’s Sex Education Campaign From World War I to The Internet (Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2009) ("The ensuing debates over sex education have often been portrayed as debates over the issue of medicine and morality. President Ronald Reagan tackled this issue directly when he insisted that sex education 'can not be what some call "valve neutral." After all,' he asked, 'when it comes to preventing AIDS, don't medicine and morality teach the same lessons?' Reagan's question was a troubling one for public health experts. It lacked the nuanced understanding they have repeatedly demanded when teaching adolescents and even adults about sex. Medicine and morality are not, many sex educators would say, diametrically opposed--nor are they synonymous. Rather, they are two different and unrelated issues. Throughout the long history of American sex education programs, the desire to conflate these two issues or to set them up in opposition to one another has caused incalculable and often irreparable damage to both privately and federally funded sex education programs." Id. at 3 (citations omitted).)

Segall, Shlomi, Health, Luck, and Justice (Princeton & Oxford: Princeton U. Press, 2010) (“What is the just distribution of health and health care? The answer this book seeks to offer is deceptively simple perhaps: Differences in health and health care are unjust if they reflect differences in brute luck.” “The invocation of luck in accounts of egalitarian justice has become increasingly salient in recent years. In fact, ‘luck egalitarian’ can be said to be the main rival to John Rawls’s dominant theory of justice. According to luck egalitarians, distributive justice requires correcting disadvantages for which individuals cannot be held responsible. In other words, the theory seeks to compensate individuals for the effects of bad luck on their lives. . . . It may be surprising, perhaps, but despite the prominence of this egalitarian theory, to date there has not been any systematic attempt to apply luck egalitarian to the study of justice in the distribution of health and health care. In fact, some critics have commented in passing that the application of luck egalitarianism to health and health care leads to counterintuitive results. That is precisely the challenge that this books seeks to meet: to offer and defend a luck egalitarian account of justice in health care and health.” Id. at 1. “Luck egalitarians, I have tried to emphasize throughout this book, are only indirectly concerned with what individuals are responsible for. Their true concern is with the factors that shape our lives and for which we are not responsible. The ambition to neutralize luck . . . has radical implications for the extent of society’s duties of justice. It allows us to say that society ought to address every disadvantage for which the individual is not responsible. That . . may lead to extensive, never before taken, action by society to address disadvantages in the sphere of health. . . .” Id. at 174. This is a very thoughtful read, one which anyone seriously interested in healthcare law cannot responsibly avoid reading.).

Stein, Mark S., Distributive Justice and Disability: Utilitarianism Against Egalitarianism (New Haven & London: Yale U. Press, 2006) ("This book is about the contest between utilitarianism and egalitarianism. Utilitarianism, as a theory of distributive justice, tells us to help those who can most benefit, those who can gain the greatest increase in welfare. Egalitarianism theories of distributive justice tell us to help those who are in some way worse off. I advocate utilitarianism." Id. at 1. This is a worthwhile read, which is not to say that I think he gets it right.).