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January 2, 2008

Market Justice and US Health Care

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Health Administration and Policy, College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma City.

JAMA. 2008;299(1):92-94. doi:10.1001/jama.2007.27

In the United States, health care competes for consumers with other items in the marketplace. Individual resources and choices determine the distribution of health care, with little sense of collective obligation or a role for government. Known as market justice, this approach derives from principles of individualism, self-interest, personal effort, and voluntary behavior.1 The contrasting approach, social justice, allocates goods and services according to the individual's needs. It stems from principles of shared responsibility and concern for the communal well-being, with government as the vehicle for ensuring equity.1 Social justice in health care requires universal coverage and ensured access to care, whether through social insurance, private insurance, or some combination.

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