Healthcare Rationing Cutoffs and Sorites Indeterminacy.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Rationing is an unavoidable mechanism for reining in healthcare costs. It entails establishing cutoff points that distinguish between what is and is not offered or available to patients. When the resource to be distributed is defined by vague and indeterminate terms such as "beneficial," "effective," or even "futile," the ability to draw meaningful boundary lines that are both ethically and medically sound is problematic. In this article, I draw a parallel between the challenges posed by this problem and the ancient Greek philosophical conundrum known as the "sorites paradox." I argue, like the paradox, that the dilemma is unsolvable by conventional means of logical analysis. However, I propose another approach that may offer a practical solution that could be applicable to real-life situations in which cutoffs must be decided (such as rationing).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Rosoff, PM

Published Date

  • July 29, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 44 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 479 - 506

PubMed ID

  • 31356664

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-5019

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/jmp/jhz012


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States