In recent works, Shlomi Segall suggests and defends a luck egalitarian approach to justice in health. Concurring with G. A. Cohen’s mature position he defends the idea that people should be compensated for “brute luck”, i.e. the outcome of actions that it would be unreasonable to expect them to avoid. In his defense of the luck egalitarian approach he seeks to rebut the criticism raised by Norman Daniels that luck egalitarianism is in some way too narrow and in another too wide to uphold justice in health and health care distribution. He points out that a pluralistic outline of luck egalitarianism taking into account the moral requirement of meeting everyone’s basic needs can avoid this line of criticism. In this article I argue against the application of such pluralistic luck egalitarianism in matters of health distribution. First of all, Segall has not shown that luck egalitarianism handles well health distributions above a threshold of basic needs. Secondly, his way of avoiding Elizabeth Anderson’s abandonment objection is theoretically problematic. Finally, I argue that luck egalitarianism in general fails to acknowledge the moral foundation of health and health care as a basic human entitlement. Thus I conclude that luck egalitarianism fails to take health needs seriously and that it cannot therefore uphold justice in health.
Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 2013, Vol 16, Issue 3, p. 407-416