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Rationing healthcare: Should life-style be used as a criterion?

Alpinar, Zumrut
Civaner, Murat
Ors, Yaman
Health is considered as important due to its impacts on individuals' lives. Although individual health level is determined partly by the accessibility of the services and their quality, there are many other factors that may influence an individual's health condition, which are mainly social determinants. Since there are many factors that determine health conditions of the individuals, it would be wrong to hold someone totally responsible for her health condition on the basis of her life-style; such as prudency. Indeed, before deciding about whether the patient was prudent or not; first, we have to look at those determinants of health, and investigate whether there is an effective intervention to avoid those determinants. Furthermore, life-styles of the individuals, which are thought to be the personal choices, are just one of the relatively less effective factors that may influence a person's health and also the autonomy of those choices is controversial. In our paper, we will endeavor to develop an argument showing that since health is one of our primary goods that needs to be protected as one of our basic human rights, and since the health status of individuals are not determined only by their personal choices, we claim that it would be unfair to consider accessing healthcare as something removable or limitable based on conditions other than medical criteria. (Anadolu Kardiyol Derg 2010; 10: 367-71)