Whoopie Pies, Super-Size Fries: “Just” Snacks? “Just” Des(s)erts?
It is estimated that 35% of cancers and 94% of diabetes cases can be avoided through behavioral change. Personal choices to satisfy desires for salty snacks, cigarettes and sugary desserts can contribute to diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure or lung cancer, which impose costly consequences on others. Should a just society tolerate, regulate, discourage, forbid or punish personal health choices that impose costs on others? Are individuals who don’t protect their own health rightly judged to be acting unjustly? Would this justify Medicare or some other insurance plan denying these individuals costly life-prolonging care if their need for care was related to a persistent bad health choice?
Leonard Fleck, PhD
Professor in the Center for Ethics and Humanities in the Life Sciences and Department of Philosophy at MSU
Recorded January 18, 2012