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April 20, 1994

Ethical Foundations of the Clinton Administration's Proposed Health Care System

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Philosophy and the Center for Biomedical Ethics, Brown University, Providence, RI (Dr Brock), and the Department of Philosophy, Tufts University, Medford, Mass (Dr Daniels).

JAMA. 1994;271(15):1189-1196. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03510390059030

IMPORTANT, widely shared ethical principles and values are involved in both the design of and the debates over the Clinton health care system reform proposal. In the first section of this article, we discuss 14 principles and values that guide policy decisions and choices about central features of the reform proposal. These principles and values are neither pulled from thin air nor selected simply to conform to the proposed system. They are deeply anchored in the moral traditions we share as a nation, reflecting our long-standing commitment to equality, justice, liberty, and community. Different moral, religious, and cultural traditions within our society may emphasize different elements of these principles and values or weigh them differently when they conflict. Nevertheless, there is a widespread consensus on their central role in defining our common community, as we show briefly in the second section of this article.1-3

These principles and values do

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