Department of Political Science

Tough Luck and Tough Choices: Applying Luck Egalitarianism to Oral Health

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Luck egalitarianism is often taken to task for its alleged harsh implications. For example, it may seem to imply a policy of nonassistance toward uninsured reckless drivers who suffer injuries. Luck egalitarians respond to such objections partly by pointing to a number of factors pertaining to the cases being debated, which suggests that their stance is less inattentive to the plight of the victims than it might seem at first. However, the strategy leaves some cases in which the attribution of individual responsibility is appropriate (and so, it seems, is asking people to pick up the tab for their choices). One such case is oral health or significant aspects of this. It is appropriate, the paper argues, to hold people responsible for a number of factors that affect their oral health. A luck egalitarian approach inspired by John Roemer can assess whether people have acted responsibly by comparing their choices to those of their peers. A luck egalitarian approach to oral health would recommend prioritizing scarce resources in a responsibility-weighted queuing system and include copayment and general taxation among its measures of financing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Medicine and Philosophy
Pages (from-to)342-362
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • luck egalitarianism, health inequalities, Shlomi Segall, oral health, dentistry, distributive justice, distributive justice in health

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