Kantian Ethics and Healthcare Essay Example

The paper presents the issues that are associated with the application of Kantian ethics to modern healthcare. It evaluates the related moral principles with respect to contemporary moral dilemmas, bioethics, and broader medical practice. Observations of the human need for healthcare, analysis of realities of the healthcare marketplace, the government and the management of the healthcare sector, as well as the healthcare means of information management are incorporated. They assist in exploring the extent, to which Kantian ethical principles are involved with the challenges of healthcare practice and theoretical research. It is suggested that they are useful for overcoming barriers and improving both medical theory and practice. It is also assumed that the state’s participation is necessary for the successful delivery of complex health services.

Kantian deontology continues to generate interest in contemporary debates on ethical theory. Also, it is the basic element of the numerous arguments in biomedical ethics. Kant argued that the human act is praiseworthy if it is done not for the sake of personal interests or out of fear of consequences but because it is perceived as a moral obligation. He believed that the act is a moral obligation if it provides for the rule that is universally applicable and, therefore, rational.

When considering issues of the medical treatment and research, the four traits of Kant’s ethics are of particular importance. Despite the potential consequences, lying is always wrong. One should treat people including oneself as a goal and never merely as a means. The act is correct when it meets the categorical imperative. Finally, perfect and imperfect moral obligations provide the foundation for the claims that certain rights should be recognized (Altman, 2014).

Ethical Principles of Kantianism

The paper will explore the application of Kantian ethical principles in modern healthcare. It will review the ethical principles of Kantianism and the relevant outcomes involved, define the contemporary challenges of the human need for healthcare. The manual will outline the realities of the healthcare marketplace, discuss the extent, to which the government is and should be involved in the industry, and highlight the role of ethics in healthcare information management. It will also provide a rationale for assumptions that, although there is no clear Kantian ethics in modern medicine, ethical principles defined by Kant are useful in resolving contemporary dilemmas and addressing problems in medical practice.

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There are two main approaches or two schools in the theory of morality. The utilitarian perspective (represented by Bentham and John S. Mill) believes that the utility is the purpose of moral behavior and recognizes the goal of the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people. The criterion of morality in utilitarianism is defined by benefit, profit, pleasure, good, and happiness.

Another point of view belongs to Immanuel Kant. The philosopher believed that morality is not primarily related to benefit. He proposed the elements of matching moral obligation, moral principles and, above all, ethical categorical imperative. The latter is a universal mandatory norm, in contrast to the maxim which stands for a personal principle. It reads: “act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law without contradiction”. Kant also suggested another formulation of his fundamental law of ethics: “act in such a way that you treat humanity, whether in your own person or in the person of any other, never merely as a means to an end, but always at the same time as an end” (Singer, 2012).
It could be argued that the issues of modern healthcare are associated with the application of the two moral approaches. For example, opponents of euthanasia follow the principle of not causing harm, despite the apparent economic irrationality, practical infeasibility and crying anti- humaneness of saving lives of patients in a vegetative state. On the other hand, the supporters of the practice evaluate the situation on the basis of ‘good’ for society, family and the patient, contrary to the traditional principle of ‘do no harm’.

Kantian ethics was largely applied by the means of bioethics that carries new barriers in different areas of medical practice. It specifically addresses the issues of abortions and new reproductive technologies, ethical sides of modern psychiatry, organ transplantation, and human and animal testing (Kushe & Singer, 2009).

An action plan based on Kant’s statements would not make the medical decisions easier. For example, medical researchers are more comfortable if they are not to tell their patients that they participate in the research program. Patients, thus, are becoming objects without knowing it. Also, the related risk would be reduced in most of the cases. According to Kantian principles, the decision would be wrong even if it did not contain an explicit lie. The reason is that aforementioned researchers treat people only as a means and not as an end.

The second application of the action plan would involve a physician, who has an imperfect duty to recognize his/her patient. The doctor has a responsibility to use practical knowledge and talents to treat patients, but one cannot legally insist on being the beneficiary. It is up to the doctor how to perform the duty. However, it would be outside of the responsibilities to impose the kind of treatment that the patient disagrees to accept. According to Kant, it is impossible to impose the duty on anybody. If any person should be treated as a goal and never as a means, the action plan involving such principle would provide for the elimination of legitimate exploitation of one person for the benefit of the others.

The implementation of the Kantian plan is suggested for the areas of medical research and in a context concerning the relationship between the patients and professionals responsible for them.

Relevant Principles Involved

In recent decades, the traditional model of doctor-patient relationships and basic principles of medical ethics have been revised. Traditional, paternalistic or authoritarian models of the physician-patient relationship assumed that the doctor was a senior or a ‘father’ figure, while the patient was a foolish child. According to the aforementioned models, the doctors may have the right or even the legally authorized obligation to solve the most important questions regarding life and health of the patient without his/her consent. The patient did not participate in the decision-making, because it was assumed that he lacks competence. Moreover, being a sick person, a patient’s judgement cannot be trusted in resolving important issues. The patient may have been informed in some situations, for example in the case of an unfavorable diagnosis. The doctor was likely to notify the patient about his/her condition and treatment only when it was necessary to comply with the prescriptions and required procedures.

The authoritarian practice is contrary to the ideology of priority of human rights. A patient was, in fact, getting deprived of his/her inalienable right to be an autonomous person. Moreover, a doctor exercised full control, and the patient could not determine the most important events of life. The solution to the problem depends on the correlation of rights and interests of individuals, society and the state, and definition of physician’s responsivity to the state, patient and society. The moral issues are beyond the competence of a doctor. They became a topic of studies in different sciences, a source of public debate, and a research subject in a new scientific field of bioethics.

The findings are being intensively discussed in academic fields. Moreover, some are fixed in regulatory documents and laws of different countries and international medical organizations. They generated debates about the basic principles of medical ethics that either epitomized traditional approaches, or developed and specified them, or offered new perspectives (Loughlin, Upshur, Goldenberg, Bluhm, & Borgerson, 2010).

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The modern models of physician-patient relationship are based on the principles developed in theoretical studies of bioethics. The standard of confidentiality of medical information is supplemented with short list of accurately expressed cases of exceptions. They typically include sexually transmitted diseases and epilepsy. A doctor is responsible for the spread of the diseases and must inform authorities of the cases to prevent the escalation. The authorities need to have the data on epilepsy patients because they are not permitted to drive. The exception of patients with AIDS is at the stage of improvement. On the other hand, the principle of priority interests of the patient requires that in all cases, except the limited number of precisely regimented episodes, a doctor must be guided solely by the interests of the patient, and not the state or society (Kushe & Singer, 2009).

Finally, the principle of informed consent declared in the Nuremberg Code (adopted during the Nuremberg Trials after World War II) is the most important one. Ethical and legal doctrine of informed consent radically revises the purpose and basis of relations between a doctor and a patient. In terms of the traditional model, the main objective of the doctor was to improve his/her state of health. Moreover, the qualified personnel decided on the methods. The modern approach absorbed the traditional model. It involves different and broader objective. Its goal is to improve patient well-being, which is characteristic to the systematic healthcare approach.

The basis for the modern approach is the realization of advanced opportunities to choose different options for diagnosis and treatment without excluding the alternative of no treatment. The approach is a fundamental recognition of patient’s individual value system. He/she is seen as guided by a doctor in choosing among the alternatives. Thus, where one may prefer a more risky intervention that will provide a chance for an active life as it is of great value to one, the other may choose the preservation of life itself. In some cases, for example, it can be essential for young woman to preserve her visual appeal. An optimal choice of treatment for a given patient may only be made on the basis of consideration and approval of medical factors, and one’s life plans, values and individuality. The doctor is usually more competent in the first group of factors (Moulton & King, 2010).

The basic principles of biomedical ethics also include the ideologies of non-maleficence, beneficence, fidelity, responsibility, and integrity. The principles are used under the rules of honesty, privacy, confidentiality, reliability, and informed consent. Integrity requires improving oneself in terms of virtue and intelligence. The principle of non-maleficence is one of the oldest medical standards, which prescribes the obligation not to cause harm to the patient whether directly or indirectly. The principle of beneficence urges to improve the conditions of other people based on virtues, intelligence and enjoyment. The moral obligation of fidelity required to tell the truth, to fulfill the actual or implied promise, and not to tell fiction for reality. The final principle of responsibility means that one must correct the injustices should he/she had caused them to other person.

Human Need for Healthcare

The researchers today are striving to avoid evaluating healthcare only on the scope of treating the disease. The approach is considered narrow and one-sided. It can only be attributed to specific areas of medicine (Zimmerman, 2011). Healthcare is not only the area of healing sicknesses but also improving human health. It aims to prevent disease, promote health, and extend the active life longevity.

The modern healthcare responds to many new ethical issues that have emerged because of the contemporary medical technologies. A few decades ago, the content of medical ethics was exhausted by two problems: the medical staff conduct towards patients, and the relationships inside the medical corporation (United Nations, 1982). The new problems today include limited resources and the issues associated with organ transplantation, artificial reproduction, euthanasia, human testing, genetic engineering and patient’s rights.

The emergence of new ethical debates has led to the need for an integrated approach to the problems and, above all, to the need to introduce theoretical medicine (Tyremen, 2011). Original ethical and deontological principles have been formulated on the so-called genetic imperative involving the maximization of lifespan and reproduction of all individuals. As for the mental illness, the trend is aimed at ensuring objectivity when considering a diagnosis of mental illness as a dysfunction of personality’s behavior and feelings.

The issues associated with transplantation of organs are becoming more acute and complex in relation to determining the moment of death, ethical use of cadavers, selling organs, using embryos’ tissues, etc. It is assumed that in all cases, it is necessary to follow three principles: voluntarism, altruism and independence (McCormack, Manley & Titchen, 2013).

Healthcare improves human growth and development index. Modern medical practice, despite the unpreceded economic progress made by mankind, faces the problem of limited resources. Currently, there are huge lines for the complex surgeries funded by the state. One can fail to live long enough for his/her turn. The introduction of mandatory insurance is proposed as a solution to the displacement of corporate healthcare. However, the proposition leads to a violation of the principles of equality and equity.

The US healthcare stimulates inequalities between patients because it cannot afford to provide healthcare to all the citizens at the same level. A modern market-oriented understanding of equity aggravates the situation in terms of social security. For example, manufacturers of drugs and medical products compete in price and quality. As a result, there is an increasing number of expensive counterfeit medicines that the regular citizen may not differentiate from the original ones.

The concept of equity combines moral principles such as self-sacrifice, independence, compassion, and mercy. The most appropriate solution is to support the implementation of the original and ultimate goal of healthcare – the healing of a person. Therefore, the doctor should not only be inclined to equity, but also be able to choose equity over all other professional reasons, circumstances and judgment.

The distribution of healthcare services in the developed and underdeveloped countries differ significantly. However, the global life expectancy is growing. Moreover, the underdeveloped countries are experiencing economic progress which is likely to affect the healthcare equality in the future.

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Healthcare provides specific knowledge that can serve as a means of achieving different goals. To illustrate the assumption, Kant used the following example: “a prescription required by a doctor in order to cure his man completely and one required by a poisoner in order to make sure of killing him are of equal value so far as each serves to effect its purpose perfectly” (Altman, 2014).

The Millennium Development Goals provided for the means to address the most alarming problems, such as AIDS spread and unequal access to healthcare services. However, the issues associated with the growing prevalence of chronic disease remain underdeveloped and require more attention (McCormack, Manley, & Titchen, 2013).

The situation in biomedical research is significantly different from the mentioned unresolved problems. The modern approach was enshrined in the Tokyo Declaration of the World Medical Association in 1975. It recognized the right of the researcher to conduct biomedical experiment with the public, but in compliance with some rules. At the same time, it proclaimed the right of society to ethical audit of the planning, execution and results of research. Moreover, testing can only be conducted on volunteers, who are either healthy or have the disease not connected to the purpose of testing.

Development of theoretical framework of bioethics is completed in conjunction with organizational measures such as the establishment of regional ethics committees. They confirm the results of bioethical research and pose theoretic questions about the problems that arise in modern medical practice (World Medical Association, 1975).

Realities of the Healthcare Marketplace

Healthcare is one of the largest sectors with enormous resources of the US economy. The medical industry takes one-seventh of the entire national economy and employs more than 10 million people. The activities of the state in the health sector have a multifaceted impact on American society. Health policy affects the essential interests of almost all layers, groups, and classes of society. It is at the center of the political life of the country. Private medical insurance system exists within the national legislation, which determines the direction for its development, and imposes the state control. The tax policy of the state largely stimulates the formation of the private health insurance system and can, therefore, be considered a parastatal.
Kantian ethics are applied in insurance case as providing for the legal protection of the patient. It is the most important property of healthcare in the United States. The system of legislation defines mechanisms to protect patients’ rights and establishes conditions that nearly eliminated the arbitrariness in human health, either from healthcare providers or the state. The mechanism is organically integrated into the system of a democratic society paradigm.

However, healthcare, as perhaps no other socio-political field, generates many issues which cause certain fragility and a relative instability. One of the major causes of social failure of the US healthcare lies in the existence of many sources of payment for medical services. They create chaos and overlapping. In other Western countries, medical services are also covered by the third parties, but they do not claim the market nature of healthcare. Most civilized countries have a universal health budget and well-coordinated system of healthcare financed by a single payer. In the US, there is no global budget and no tangible coordination among parts of the system. Instead, there is a chaotic system of payers, insurers and providers that operate independently and usually follow different objectives. The desynchronization increases the cost of medical services and, as a consequence, their inaccessibility. Kant’s requirements for universals rules of governing are, therefore, not followed. It should be emphasized that the US Congress plays a vital role in deciding the fate of healthcare in the country.

The organizational structure of medical support in the US is characterized by pluralistic nature, the diversity of health care, and the lack of a unified central government.
In the US, there are three types of hospitals: public, private profitable (commercial) and private non-for-profit. Private profitable or commercial hospitals stand for ordinary private business enterprises with their distinct features. They form their capital on individual, group and shareholder base. Public hospitals are funded by federal and state government, i.e. entirely by taxpayers. They usually serve government officials, war veterans, disabled persons, and persons with mental illness and tuberculosis. Non-for-profit private hospitals are local municipalities with public and private funds, as well as donations from various organizations and charities. They are private corporations. Their initial capital is formed by the subscription of the founders. Like other commercial organizations, they provide services for a fee. Non-profit status is widely used in the US by various foundations, organizations, institutions and companies with the purpose to avoid paying taxes. The definitions of non-profit do not mean that the hospitals provide medical care free of charge (Dougherty et al., 2012).

Medical institutions of the non-profit type are in many ways similar to commercial hospitals corporations. They establish health maintenance companies and preferred provider organizations, rehabilitation centers for persons suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction, run other hospitals, and invest in real estate.

The US hospitals are characterized by short periods of hospitalization. They hold intensive treatment of acute diseases providing after-care in nursing homes. In terms of medical care, the latter ones can be subdivided into three types: nursing homes of high quality care, homes for the elderly and the elderly with a medical slant, and home-shelters for the elderly and infirm poor. The central figure of the healthcare system in the US is a private medical practitioner. Many doctors own shares in hospitals, health centers, diagnostic laboratories, and medical corporations. The profit motive in healthcare is the same as in other industry of the economy. The American Medical Association, which unites half of all private practitioners in the US, directs and supervises their activities.

Over the past three decades, the US has seen a growing trend towards specialization and overspecialization of medical professions. However, the United States has generally established mechanism of control over the quality of health and appropriate use of funds from the state treasury. Congress had developed a legislation aimed at curbing harmful practice in the American healthcare. It is important to emphasize that in doctor-patient relationship, each party has the legal mechanism to protect its interests. Patients are not vulnerable to the doctors. They have an opportunity to defend the right to receive quality medical services in court. In the case of damage due to improper, careless or incompetent treatment, the patient can seek compensation. The effectiveness of the legal protection of the client is indicated by the existence of insurance against unfair practices acquired by the American doctors.

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Moreover, there is also a different form of organization of medical care in the US that deviates from the prevailing system of private medicine and the traditional institution of health services. Employers and insurance companies have resorted to greater use of options of managed healthcare. Health maintenance organizations, independent practice associations, and preferred provider companies are the most typical examples of managed care. Due to the presence of regulation of patients’ and providers’ actions, medical association is usually referred to as managed care. Participants in the non-traditional organizational structures are deprived of full freedom of choice on each side. The patient must use the services of the doctors and nurses who are members of organizations. The latter, in turn, are not free to set prices as they are defined in advance as a result of arrangements (McCormack, Manley, & Titchen, 2013).

The Government and the Management of the Healthcare Sector

Any state, regardless of economic progress, perceives healthcare sector development as a necessity objective. Regulatory functions are inherent to the US health policy. They cover relations between different social groups, citizens and the state. Relatively independent, health policy has a strong impact on the economic activity of the country. The state regulations in the field of healthcare, as part of social policy, provide comprehensive control of the authorities over the entire medical system in the country, despite the diversity of its forms and methods, and the state of health of the population.

The measures undertaken by the state in healthcare from the broad point of view stand for the economic, social, psychological, environmental, political and cultural factors. The environments have the cumulative impact on the comfort of human life in society, and the state of population health. Thus, all economic and socio-political decision-making in the state is assessed through the prism of the interests of public health. The means of preventing environmental pollution and maintaining the quality of environmental conditions are very important. Therefore, it is hard to claim that the US has formulated and implemented a deliberate long-term and integrated health policy, although its components are undoubtedly present.

The United States, since the era of Franklin Roosevelt, and especially after World War II, is rapidly developing in the social area. In the mid-1960s, the state took care of the medical provision of a large part of the population. Two of the biggest public health programs – Medicare and Medicaid – absorb 60% of total public expenditure on healthcare. Medical costs are one of the fastest growing components of the federal budget. Over 20% of the state and local budgets are spent on health services. Healthcare accounts for over a quarter of the federal budget for social security (Holahan & McMorrow, 2012).

Medical government programs cover a large part of the population. Their influence is not confined within the programs. 95% of workers pay social security taxes. State support allows healthcare system to help only older people without limit.

Health problems, including the organization of system of health services, their financing, development of medical science and technologies are considered primarily in the context of human rights. There are two important aspects, in which the state’s involvement is necessary. Firstly, the right of citizens to quality of life, which is a priority component of health, is affected. Second, the citizens’ right to privacy is violated.

Medical services in the US are, therefore, provided by the individuals and institutions. Various commercial, private, charitable and governmental organizations offer outpatient and inpatient services. The private sector outpatient care is represented by the personal doctors (specialists in internal and family medicine, and pediatricians), narrow specialists (gastroenterologists, cardiologists, pediatric endocrinology, etc.), nurses, and other medical personnel. The complexity of the modern healthcare system requires the allocation of significant resources in order to provide successful treatment. The US government has the capacity to institute strategic partnerships by the means of collaborating with healthcare sectors in the country to create the patient-centered doctrine of healthcare. Thus, Kant’s ethical theory may help in enduring the task as it clearly states that patients should be perceived as the end of care and never as its means.
The government is can handle healthcare issues. The problem lies in the distribution of the related services and products. There are barriers to their successful delivery. Moreover, political unions affect the different levels by the phenomena of Nepotism, corruption, bureaucracy, red tape, procurement and supply chain management manipulations.

The state has to be involved in the healthcare resources management and allocation by the means of taking the responsibility for health sectors that are either unprofitable to private medicine or objectively require the nationwide support. The activities of the government clearly reflect the tendency to comply with the interests of society as a whole, while the main players of health care aim at maximizing profits. The situation is one of the major contradictions of American healthcare, which generates the crisis of the medical system. Although the US has developed a firm concept of patient-centered care, which is in the spirit of Kantian ethical principles, it fails to bring the work up to its logical conclusion.

Healthcare Information Management: Ethical Practices

Depending on the nature, content and scope of the healthcare information (HI), it is divided into a few sectors. The first is scientific HI, which is the information from empirical and professional publications that adequately reflects the current state of medical science and practice of objective laws in the field of medicine, public health and related scientific disciplines. The second is data arising in the course of medical care as reflected in the records, statistics, and public health information, including official reports about health policy, sociological information about the needs of the population in medical care. It also consists of the popular scientific medical knowledge, focused on laying the foundations of a healthy way of life of the population. The third is information, publicity, and market data on new technologies, drugs and medical equipment in the health industry.

Medical information is required for decision-making at any level of healthcare management. Recently, the information is seen as a common and valuable resource, which, like other resources, should be planed, regulated, funded, and renewed.

The rapidly increasing flow of publications, often referred to as the information explosion, generates problems. They include difficulties in finding data scattered in numerous journals; problems in access to literature due to financial constraints; physical challenges in the development of the entire flow of publications on any medical issue. Moreover, information explosion poses the need to assess the quality of research contained in HI, linguistic and terminological difficulties in expanding the medical vocabulary, and a delay in the consumers by of published scientific HI. The mentioned factors lead to under consumption of the necessary data and the hunger for information (Bali, Troshani, Goldberg & Wickramasinghe, 2013).

The need for studying and solving the information problems has led to the emergence of a new medical discipline – scientific medical informatics. It conducts new technology research and information activities in the industry through the use of computer science. It studies the general properties and structure of scientific information, and the processes of its creation, processing and transmission.

However, the scope of circulating information has raised many questions about its availability to the related agencies and individuals. Kantian ethical principles have provided for finding the right answers to the questions. The principle of moral autonomy of the individual and the recognition of his key role in decision-making laid the ground for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). It is a federal law, which establishes the rules for the exchange of personal health information and means of protecting it from unauthorized use. It is applied to the information in the hospitals, doctors’ offices and other places of health services, as well as business enterprises that help service providers manage their data storage. Information may be on paper or in electronic medical records. The law allows people directly involved in the implementation of patient care or payment for services to access data. However, it is not available to the employers, marketing firms, experts fundraising and other people who want to get it (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996).

HIPAA law is based on two key ideas in patients care: privacy and confidentiality. The human right to limit access to information about the patient’s medical condition belongs to the privacy concerns. The Act also includes the right to have conversation about healthcare services in the places where other people cannot overhear them. Confidentiality obliges the specialist to store health data in a way ensuring that it will not be disclosed without the patient’s consent, except when required by law or deemed necessary for clinical reasons.

Assumptions

There are no medical ethics in healthcare that could be called Kantian in the strict sense of the word. However, the Kantian ethical principles help in solving the problems of modern healthcare. An ethical dilemma surrounding the human embryos could be applied to explain the value of Kantian ethical principles.

Under normal circumstances, utilitarian ethics objects killing adults on the basis that they have certain personal qualities. The characteristics include the ability to feel pain, consciousness and self-awareness, and the skill to operate freely. The latter means the opportunity to act on the personal decisions, as well to have the desire and set individual goals for the future. The type of argumentation binds the prohibition on killing with facts of personal consciousness, which a healthy adult possesses. Consequently, one can say that the human person worthy of protection is not the merger of gametes, e.g. it does not exist as such from the first day of embryonic development. It begins to exist only in the moment of embryonic growth, or, even after the birth. The ethical position is based on the allegation that there are people who are not personalities.

It leads to ethical medical issues. The argument of Kant stated that the human dignity cannot be empirically observable feature of an individual. Dignity is seen as a characteristic inherent to the entire human race and associated with unlimited regulatory requirements. The generic attribute is human freedom, e.g., the capacity for self-determination, or, as Kant put it otherwise, the ability to be one’s own master. The freedom is the skill to set long-term goals not based solely on one’s natural needs and inclinations but subjecting to reasonable or universal standards. However, the capacity for morality as a sign of a genus, cannot appear in the course of human development at the certain stage. It cannot be added to other empirical properties of an individual. On the contrary, it must be recognized as man’s peculiarity and it essentially refers to the concept of human rights (Kant, 1998).

The concept of man has significance for human embryo. It indicated that the human embryos from the very beginning of their existence have personal status and the right to protection. The claims are the basic provisions of Kant’s philosophy of morality that can be applied to the current bioethical debate on the right to the protection of the human embryo. However, they entail a wide scope of discussion, distinctions and modifications.

Kantian ethical principles also enable solving some specific moral disagreements about medical experimentation and practice. They protect healthcare specialists from doubt and hesitation. The doctors know that they must never lie, even for the greater good. Kant’s categorical imperative can justify the principle of equity by giving the principle of equal liberty and stressing the priority of human rights. Kantian ethics completely excludes the possibility of legitimate exploitation of some for the benefit of others.

Activities of the United States government in the area of healthcare management are necessary. On the one hand, there is an urgent need for compliance with national priorities in the field of public health. On the other hand, there is a need to combine the real capabilities of the state with the interests of individuals and groups of society that sometimes oppose each other. Meeting the objective needs of the people is the essence of the activity of state agencies in the area of public health. Kantian ethical principles can be applied to improve the concept of patient-centered care. It should be expended to cover the government decision-making on the distribution of healthcare resources, instead of being limited to performing regulatory function limited in the spontaneous medical practice.

Conclusions

The paper has explored the evolution of healthcare in terms of applied ethical principles. It outlined the key revised components that are related to the basic principles of Kantian ethics. It has revealed the complexity of modern healthcare with respect to the theoretical, market, government, and informational challenges. Kant’s principles were assumed as vital in solving contemporary moral dilemmas. In particular, the issue of abortion was analyzed and resolution was suggested by the application of the said principles. Bioethics and medical practice proved to be the areas that require the argumentative power of Kantian definitions of morality. The research also highlighted the role of the state in addressing public health problems.