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As a matter of justice, what do we owe each other to promote and protect health in a population and to assist people when they are ill and disabled? This is the fundamental question of Norman Daniels’ new book on justice and health.1 Just health is in many ways a successor to Daniels’ seminal classic Just health care.2 As foreshadowed by a 2001 target article in the American Journal of Bioethics,3 Just health integrates Daniels’ account of the special moral importance of health and healthcare2 with his interim work on the social determinants of health4 and the fairness of health sector reform and limit-setting in healthcare.5 6 The change of title already indicates that Just health no longer focuses solely on the provision of healthcare, but spans all socially controllable factors of health. The book’s ambitious aim is to provide an integrated theory of justice and health.
In order to understand what justice requires with regard to health, Daniels argues, we must address three focal questions. First, is health of special moral importance? Second, when are health inequalities unjust? And third, how can we meet health needs fairly under resource limits? Daniels’ answers to all three …