Brennan’s article, written during the Clinton administration—over a decade ago—is just as relevant now as it was then. Brennan puts forward several statements, including his assessment that medical care has, at its base, ethical roots. Because of this, “ethical roots ought to inform the institutions to which they give rise and their attendant financing arrangements”. He states, in his introduction, that ethics is generally left out of debates about finance reform, and that these debates are predominantly governed by economics and politics. This is logical; it’s hard to argue with real numbers and data, which is what economics can provide.
After presenting three solutions: health care insurance reform, health care financing reform, and health care cost reform, he concludes that financing and cost reforms are necessary to remedy the situation, and that an insurance reform is simply not enough. Whether or not Brennan’s assertion about ethics being at the root of health care is true, is not as important. Ethics is inherently linked to any social industry; working for the good of people. Ethics should be considered in any debate when an outcome will affect the well being of people.
However, the problem is figuring out how to get ethics involved. Right now, Congress, a room of politicians, decides on reforms. Brennan mentions, “The plan is only now taking shape…what will eventually emerge from Congress is impossible to predict.” He is referring to the issues of health care costs and restricted access that were addressed during the Clinton administration. However, as we all are very much aware of, the health care system is still dysfunctional. “The plan”, or any plan for that matter, has not yet seemed to work.
Right now we are in the beginning stages of Obamacare, a plan significantly based on reforming insurance. However, it seems unlikely that any big “plan” is likely to work, unless the way in which plans are created and approved is reformed. It will take more then just allowing ethics to enter the “debate”, ethics must take a main role, instead of the backseat position it has been holding for a long time. If the medical system is to indeed become the social institution that it logically should be, integrating ethics—an entity to speak on behalf of people’s health—is imperative.