Ethical Issues in Health Care System Reform:  The Provision of Adequate Health Care

John Glasson, MD; Charles W. Plows, MD; Oscar W. Clarke, MD; James H. Cosgriff Jr, MD; Drew Fuller; Craig H. Kliger, MD; Victoria N. Ruff, MD; Robert M. Tenery Jr; George T. Wilkins Jr, MD; David Orentlicher, MD, JD; Karey M. Harwood; Jeff Leslie
JAMA. 1994;272(13):1056-1062. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520130094039.
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AS AMERICAN Medical Association (AMA) policy states, society should afford every citizen access to adequate health care: "The patient has a basic right to have available adequate health care."1 In this report, the Council discusses the ethical foundations of society's obligation to ensure that none of its members is denied access to adequate health care because of an inability to pay for it. This obligation rests primarily on the belief that a just society affords its members reasonable protection from illness and disability to ensure that they have a fair opportunity to pursue their goals in life.2,3

The Council also discusses the definition of "adequate health care" in this report, because determining an adequate level of health care is an essential step in guaranteeing meaningful universal access. The Council believes that the definition should follow sound ethical principles and fair procedures and take the form of a basic


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