The United States : Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, And Health

1447 Words6 Pages
I. Introduction The American Medical Association (AMA) approximates that at least 25 cents of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. is allocated to the management of diseases or debilities that stem from personal behaviors that can be changed by the individual (Andre et al)1. To what extent are people responsible for their own personal conduct and poor health decisions that result in serious, yet avoidable illnesses and disabilities? Will charging people higher health insurance premiums help curb poor health habits? In Health Disparities in the United States: Social Class, Race, Ethnicity, and Health - Edition 1 by Donald Barr, the author explores the questions, “What is health? How should we define it? How should we measure it?” Barr addresses the “danger of approaching health as a moral imperative” and references Faith Fitzgerald, who points out the “tyranny of health”, where those who are unhealthy in some way are deemed to have behaved poorly. The author explains that people cannot be judged for their bad habits and resulting poor health2. Yet, in some cases, how can people not be held liable for their harmful decisions? It is unfair to encumber those citizens who make healthy lifestyle choices with the health care costs of those who have made detrimental decisions and behave in manners that create risks to their health and wellbeing. People should be held liable for the predictable consequences of voluntary actions; those who knowingly engage in
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