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Rationing Is Not a Four-Letter WordSetting Limits on Healthcare$
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Philip M. Rosoff

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780262027496

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262027496.001.0001

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Limits to Fairness in a Democracy

Limits to Fairness in a Democracy

(p.157) 6 Limits to Fairness in a Democracy
Rationing Is Not a Four-Letter Word

Philip M. Rosoff

The MIT Press

This chapter discusses the politically and morally contentious issue of whether strict fairness and justice in a rationing system can be accomplished in a democracy like the United States. Fairness dictates that similar cases should be similarly treated, and morally irrelevant facts about people should be exactly that: irrelevant. However, it seems difficult to imagine (for example) that undocumented immigrants would be offered the same benefits under a comprehensive and rationed healthcare system as citizens, due to public opposition. On the other hand, the “better angels of our nature” have occasionally prevailed against apparent dominant opinion, such as in the case of civil rights. However, it is acknowledged that the tyranny of the majority may have to be mollified if that would ensure acceptance of comprehensive healthcare reform.

Keywords:   Prejudice, Bias, Undocumented immigrants, Fairness

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