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Unformatted text preview: Jacob Sullum, “ What the Doctor Orders ”, Reason Magazine, 1996 1. Disease and control efforts have had an effect on the quality of life for people 2. For the most part, Americans die of things you can't catch: cancer, heart disease, trauma 3. The public health establishment has become the most influential lobby for ever- increasing government control over Americans' personal choices. 4. He does not think that we should control people’s behavior to lessen non- communicable diseases : i. Behavior cannot be transmitted to other people against their will ii. People do not choose to be sick, but they do choose to engage in risky behavior; the choice implies that the behavior, unlike a viral or bacterial infection, has value and also implies that attempts to control the behavior will be resisted iii. Argues that the behavior to smoke is not a disease or a disorder 5. Argues that banning smoking ads does not affect whether or not children smoke 6. Alcohol abuse is considered a disease in the public health world but he does not see it that way: “Assuming a tax hike did reduce alcohol problems, it would not necessarily be justified on utilitarian grounds” 7. Obesity: Argues that cannot pass tax on weight gain for people to realize the burden that they have on society 8. Violence: “The public health research on gun ownership, like the research on other kinds of "unhealthy" behavior, is driven by the expectation that people will change their ways once they realize the risks they are taking” 9. Argues people will continue to do bad things because they are willing to take the risk for the pleasure- Not realistic to try and control behavior 10. “Most public health practitioners would presumably recoil at the full implications of the argument that government should override individual decisions affecting health because such decisions have an impact on "society as a whole" Conclusion: Responsibility for disease rests on the individual Daniel Wikler, Personal and Social Responsibility for Help 1. A health need is a health need equally deserving of concern and attention a. On the other hand, if we caused ourselves damage, our disease cannot be on par with other unavoidable health needs 2. Responsibility for Health and Health Care: a. Before it was suggested that people pay more fees for health insurance or that their health needs would not get much priority i. The alternative would be to have people pay their insurance up front if they partake in risky sports b. Now, we consider the effect that socioeconomic background has on health 3. The potential significance of personal responsibility for health a. Emphasis on lifestyle choices after realization that tobacco caused cancer b. Many have argued that it is a public duty to preserve individual health because of its large effect on society c. The first way to ensure that people do not burden others is to : i. Require drivers to wear seatbelts ii. Enforce that motorcyclists use seatbelts. d. Some questions in the past have been:...
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This note was uploaded on 03/14/2012 for the course GEN-ED ER24 taught by Professor Davidwikler during the Spring '11 term at Harvard.
- Spring '11