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Books, Journals, New Media
December 9, 1998

Health CareThe Health Care Future: Defining the Argument, Healing the Debate

Author Affiliations

Harriet S.MeyerMD, Contributing EditorJonathan D.EldredgeMLS, PhD, Journal Review EditorRobertHoganMD, adviser for new media


Not Available


by James J. Pattee and Orlo J. Otteson, 227 pp, $27.50, ISBN 1-889279-04-8, Plymouth, Minn, North Ridge Press, 1997.

JAMA. 1998;280(22):1961. doi:10.1001/jama.280.22.1961

In the fierce and continuing battles about health care in the United States, the conflicts have centered on such specific, practical, and detailed matters as fee-for-service vs managed care, the role of government, and access to emergency rooms. The Health Care Future undertakes to reframe the policy debates about health care in the United States in terms of underlying value-laden ethical and cultural issues.

The initial section sets out some of these issues. It asks, for example, to what extent individuals are entitled to make claims on society's resources and how far society is obligated to meet such claims. It notes the potential tension between the role of physicians as caregivers to individuals and as citizens responsible for using society's limited resources optimally. It summarizes key ethical concepts such as justice and equity in allocating resources.

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