The Price of Health

  • George J. Agich
  • Charles E. Begley

Part of the Philosophy and Medicine book series (PHME, volume 21)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxx
  2. Medical Economics and Ethics: Some Theoretical Considerations

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. George J. Agich
      Pages 23-42
  3. Costs and Benefits in Medicine: Some Philosophical Views

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 43-43
    2. E. Haavi Morreim
      Pages 45-69
    3. Paul T. Menzel
      Pages 91-111
  4. Economics and Ethics in Health Policy

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 133-133
    2. J. Michael Swint, Michael M. Kaback
      Pages 135-156
    3. Gerald R. Winslow
      Pages 199-215
    4. David D. Friedman
      Pages 217-224
  5. Controlling Costs/Maximizing Profit: The Role of Providers

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 225-225
    2. Charles E. Begley
      Pages 227-244
    3. Marc D. Hiller, Robin D. Gorsky
      Pages 245-261
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 273-280

About this book


Medicine, morals and money have, for centuries, lived in uneasy cohabitation. Dwelling in the social institution of care of the sick, each needs the other, yet each is embarrassed to admit the other's presence. Morality, in particular, suffers embarrassment, for it is often required to explain how money and medicine are not inimical. Throughout the history of Western medicine, morality's explanations have been con­ sistently ambiguous. Pla.o held that the physician must cultivate the art of getting paid as well as the art of healing, for even if the goal of medicine is healing and not making money, the self-interest of the craftsman is satisfied thereby [4]. Centuries later, a medieval medical moralist, Henri de Mandeville, said: "The chief object of the patient ... is to get cured ... the object of the surgeon, on the other hand, is to obtain his money ... ([5], p. 16). This incompatibility, while general, is not universal. Throughout history, medical practitioners have resolved the problem - either in conscience or to their satisfaction. Some physicians have been so reluctant to make a profit from the ills of those whom they treated that they preferred to live in poverty. Samuel Johnson described his friend, Dr. Robert Levet, a Practiser of Physic: No summons mock'd by chill delay, No petty gain disdain'd by pride; The modest wants of ev'ry day The toil of ev'ry day supplied [3].


economics ethics health health policy hospital morality quality of life

Editors and affiliations

  • George J. Agich
    • 1
  • Charles E. Begley
    • 2
  1. 1.School of MedicineSouthern Illinois UniversitySpringfieldUSA
  2. 2.School of Public HealthUniversity of Texas Health Science CenterHoustonUSA

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 1986
  • Publisher Name Springer, Dordrecht
  • eBook Packages Springer Book Archive
  • Print ISBN 978-94-010-8592-2
  • Online ISBN 978-94-009-4704-7
  • Series Print ISSN 0376-7418
  • Buy this book on publisher's site