Fair Innings and Time-Relative Claims

Bioethics 30 (6):462-468 (2016)
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Greg Bognar has recently offered a prioritarian justification for ‘fair innings’ distributive principles that would ration access to healthcare on the basis of patients' age. In this article, I agree that Bognar's principle is among the strongest arguments for age-based rationing. However, I argue that this position is incomplete because of the possibility of ‘time-relative' egalitarian principles that could complement the kind of lifetime egalitarianism that Bognar adopts. After outlining Bognar's position, and explaining the attraction of time-relative egalitarianism, I suggest various ways in which these two kinds of principle could interact. Since various options have very different implications for age-based rationing, proponents of such a rationing scheme must take a position on time-relative egalitarianism to complement a lifetime prioritarian view like Bognar's.
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