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Theoretical Medicine

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 301–309 | Cite as

The ethics of selectively marketing the Health Maintenance Organization

  • Mark H. Waymack
Article

Abstract

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) administrators have been accused of engaging in ‘selective marketing’. That is, through such strategies as tailoring the benefits package of the program or advertising in styles or in media that do not appeal to certain ‘undesirable’ audiences, the administrator can minimize the percentage of persons in the HMO who are heavy users of health care services.

By means of analyzing what ‘insurance’ is (philosophically) and what it means for something to be a free market commodity, the author argues that, as long as American society chooses to regard health insurance as a commodity or service of the free market, the use of such strategies is within the moral rights of health administrators.

The author concludes by noting some morally undesirable results of treating health insurance as a market commodity.

Key words

charity ethics health administration health care as a commodity health insurance as a commodity Health Maintenance Organization insurance justice selective marketing 

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References

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    Pellegrino ED, Thomasma DC. For the Patient's Good: The Restoration of Beneficence in Health Care. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988.Google Scholar
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    Menzel P. Strong Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press (in press).Google Scholar
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    Churchill L. Rationing Health Care in America. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Friedman M. The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits. New York Times Magazine 1970 Sep 13: 33,122–6.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark H. Waymack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyLoyola University of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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