Book chapter

Introduction : what's wrong with health inequalities?

Published inInequalities in health : concepts, measures, and ethics, Editors Hurst, S.A., Eyal, N., Norheim, O.F. & Wikler, D.
PublisherOxford : Oxford University Press
Publication date2013

Essays in this book address a wide range of ethical issues that bear on health inequalities. This introduction identifies these issues and discusses them in relation to broader notions of distributive justice, fairness, choice, and welfare. Since health has many determinants, these essays focus on inequalities in health rather than only on disparities in access to health services. The aim of this chapter is not to summarize or repeat the arguments examined in this book, but rather to ask the right questions and stimulate interest in these crucial issues about how we organize our societies, how we live and die, and how health is distributed by nature and by us. The introduction is organized around five key topics, including: concepts and measures of health inequality; what inequalities in health that matter, as seen from different normative perspectives; how to understand inequalities between individuals and between groups; inequality and discrimination; and how egalitarian theories deal with uncertainty.

  • Health inequality
  • Health inequity
  • Measures of health inequality and health inequity
  • Determinants of health
  • Health policy
  • Public health
  • Distributive justice
  • Fairness
  • Choice
  • Uncertainty
  • Welfare
Citation (ISO format)
HURST, Samia et al. Introduction : what’s wrong with health inequalities? In: Inequalities in health : concepts, measures, and ethics. Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2013. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199931392.003.0001

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