Meaning of Justice for Mississippians with Regard to Health Care Pricing
CommitteeShoup, Brian D.
Cossman, Jeralynn S.
Throughout most of human history, justice has been perceived as an extremely important virtue. The primary objective of this study is to investigate the meaning of justice with a focus on a particular subject—pricing, specifically as it pertains to healthcare. In addition to the primary goal, there are also some secondary objectives: uncovering the procedure of healthcare pricing, revealing the role of government in achieving justice of healthcare pricing, and identifying the influential factors that affect the formation of people’s understanding of justice regarding healthcare pricing. The findings indicate that the equity perspective and the perspective of the need principle have substantial influence on the formation of people’s understanding of justice with regard to healthcare pricing. From the equity perspective, people believe that a just healthcare pricing should be reasonably based on cost. From the need principle perspective, people believe that just healthcare pricing should guarantee the affordability of healthcare, especially basic care. In regard to the role of government, a majority of participants believe that the government-market mixed mechanism is the most just pricing mechanism and government should play the role of a regulator. Government interventions should strive toward assisting the spontaneous forces of the market competition. Finally, findings in this study state that the participants’ general belief of distributive justice exerts a significant effect upon their understanding of justice regarding healthcare pricing. However, there is no one-to-one correspondence between these two. These findings prove that people have the tendency to treat healthcare as a special good and view justice of healthcare pricing as a particular subject to which the general belief of distributive justice may not be applicable. By focusing on justice of healthcare pricing, this study bridges the research gap and contributes to the literature on ethical study of pricing. The identifications of the popularly shared understanding of justice regarding healthcare pricing and the proper role of government provide important reference information to governments and policy makers, enlightening people with new solutions to some pressing healthcare issues.