In the first section, this essay will consider questions the new era in health care poses for a health-care ethics of ends. The second section will address the question this emerging era raises for a health-care ethics of duty. Under the rubric of an ethics of ends, the essay examines, more particularly, the ends of health and efficiency. Under that of duty, it addresses the duties of respect for the dignity of the human person; respect for the covenant of treatment; and respect for justice in distribution. In each case, it seeks to identify the basis for an adequate response in the constitutional orders of the United States and Germany.
The purpose of the essay is to offer an account of the contemporary challenges to an adequate ethics of health care, and to draw the reader's attention in very broad outlines to the framework that exists in American constitutional law for considering them. In the course of so doing, it seeks to point, in general terms, to contrasting elements in German constitutional law.
The essay intends to provide a basis for evaluating responses to the present situation in American health care, with general reference to the potential role of the German constitutional order as a source of insight in comparative law, which might enhance, in its own distinctive way, the prospects of success of American jurists, ethicists and policymakers, as they seek to formulate a health care ethics for a new era.
William J. Wagner, Constitutional Values and the Ethics of Health Care: A Comparison of the United States and Germany, 18 J. CONTEMP. HEALTH L. & POL’Y 619 (2002).