Conflict of interest statement: No conflicts declared
HOW DO WE WANT TO GROW OLD? ANTI-AGEING-MEDICINE AND THE SCOPE OF PUBLIC HEALTHCARE IN LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES
Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
How to Cite
SCHWEDA, M. and MARCKMANN, G. (2012), HOW DO WE WANT TO GROW OLD? ANTI-AGEING-MEDICINE AND THE SCOPE OF PUBLIC HEALTHCARE IN LIBERAL DEMOCRACIES. Bioethics. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8519.2012.01960.x
- Article first published online: 16 APR 2012
- anti-ageing medicine;
- distributive justice;
- public healthcare;
Healthcare counts as a morally relevant good whose distribution should neither be left to the free market nor be simply imposed by governmental decisions without further justification. This problem is particularly prevalent in the current boom of anti-ageing medicine. While the public demand for medical interventions which promise a longer, healthier and more active and attractive life has been increasing, public healthcare systems usually do not cover these products and services, thus leaving their allocation to the mechanisms of supply and demand on the free market. This situation raises the question on which basis the underlying preferences for and claims to a longer, healthier life should be evaluated. What makes anti-ageing medicine eligible for public funding? In this article, we discuss the role of anti-ageing medicine with regard to the scope and limits of public healthcare. We will first briefly sketch the basic problem of justifying a particular healthcare scheme within the framework of a modern liberal democracy, focusing on the challenge anti-ageing interventions pose in this regard. In the next section, we will present and discuss three possible solutions to the problem, essentialistic, transcendental, and procedural strategies of defining the scope of public healthcare. We will suggest a procedural solution adopting essentialistic and transcendental elements and discuss its theoretical and practical implications with regard to anti-ageing medicine.