Inclusion of Assistive Technologies in a Basic Package of Essential Healthcare Service
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This paper outlines the potential and necessity of the development of assistive technologies (AT) for people with intellectual disabilities (IDs). We analyse a policy recommendation designed to determine the contents of a basic health package supplied by the state, known as the Dunning Funnel. We contend that the Dunning Funnel is a useful methodology, but is weakened by a potentially relativistic understanding of “necessity” in relation to the requirements of people with IDs (i.e., community standards will determine whether AT are necessary). We remedy this defect by using the capabilities approach as outlined by Martha Nussbaum. We argue that this approach provides a strong normative case for ensuring that communities provide help to people with IDs, if those communities are to achieve a minimal standard of justice. However, the capabilities approach does not offer much specific guidance on how AT ought to be distributed, nor does it offer guidance on risks, like the bottomless pit problem. We propose that the Dunning Funnel used in combination with the capabilities approach will provide a suitable heuristic for determining the distribution of AT in a basic health package.
KeywordsAssistive technologies Intellectual disability Justice Distribution Basic health package Capabilities approach
This research was supported by funding from the charity RESPECT and the People Programme (Marie Curie Actions) of the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under REA Grant Agreement No. PCOFUND-GA-2013-608728.
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