Do patients have responsibilities in a free-market system? A personal perspective


NURSING ETHICS, vol.15, no.2, pp.263-273, 2008 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 15 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0969733007086024
  • Title of Journal : NURSING ETHICS
  • Page Numbers: pp.263-273


The current debate that surrounds the issue of patient rights and the transformation of health care, social insurance, and reimbursement systems has put the topic of patient responsibility on both the public and health care sectors' agenda. This climate of debate and transition provides an ideal time to rethink patient responsibilities, together with their underlying rationale, and to determine if they are properly represented when being called 'patient' responsibilities. In this article we analyze the various types of patient responsibilities, identify the underlying motivations behind their creation, and conclude upon their sensibleness and merit. The range of patient responsibilities that have been proposed and implemented can be reclassified and placed into one of four groups, which are more accurate descriptors of the nature of these responsibilities. We suggest that, within the framework of a free-market system, where health care services are provided based on the ability to pay for them, none of these can properly be justified as a patient responsibility.