In which out dear readers are exposed to 2 ethical issues concerning health care.

Concurring Opinions: Genetic Testing: Further Debate with Richard Epstein and Lawyers, Guns, & Money have put up a few posts recently concerning health care.

Concerning the last LG&M link, it seems that the Target corporation (a large US discount retailer along the lines of Walmart and K-mart) is hiding behind the Civil Rights Act in a controversy over the filing of a contraceptive prescription. If you follow the link you will find that the “Lawyers” part of LG&M is true and that Target has got some ‘splainin to do.

The first three links concern employer-employee relations and health insurance. Walmart wants to hire only healthy people to bring their health insurance costs down. Advancements in genetic analysis are making it easier for health professionals to predict an individual’s risk for disease based on their genetics, and IBM has said that they will not gather this information – others may disagree.

I think we can distill the issue down to this:

  1. Current US corporate policy is directed towards maximum short-term shareholder value
  2. Health insurance is a major cost to US corporations

So anything that can bring down the cost of health insurance can be seen as a requirement. Hiring only healthy people (including predictions of possible future risks) is an easy and obvious way of reducing cost. The wonder is not that corporations are beginning to think about this, the wonder is that it has taken so long. If you think that these policies are unfair, then I submit that the only solution is to make health care costs revenue neutral to corporations. The most tried, true, and global solution is universal healthcare. The randite fixation on individual responsibility in the US is blinding them to the fact that it is costing them money without providing results.

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