Balancing Act

cover art
224 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878405848 (0878405844)

March 1995
LC: 94-37058

Clinical Medical Ethics series



Balancing Act
The New Medical Ethics of Medicine's New Economics
E. Haavi Morreim
Medicine's changing economics have already fundamentally, permanently altered the relationship between physician and patient, E. Haavi Morreim argues. Physicians must weigh a patient's interests against the legitimate, competing claims of other patients, of payers, of society as a whole, and sometimes even of the physician himself.

Focusing on actual situations in the clinical setting, Morreim explores the complex moral problems that current economic realities pose for the practicing physician. She redefines the moral obligations of both physicians and patients, traces the specific effects of these redefined obligations on clinical practice, and explores the implications for patients as individuals and for national health policy. Although the book focuses on health care in the United States, physicians everywhere are likely to face many of the same basic issues of clinical ethics, because every system of health care financing and distribution today is constrained by finite resources.
E. Haavi Morreim is a professor in the Department of Human Values and Ethics, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee.
H. Tris Engelhardt and Kevin Wm. Wildes, Series Editors
"An important, thought-provoking book informed by a detailed understanding of medical economics, health care law, and the clinical setting."—Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics

"The economic pressure on clinical caregivers to be cost-conscious in health care decisions is the greatest new ethical challenge facing physicians today. . . . None focuses as sharply and effectively on pressures experienced by the practicing physician at the bedside as Haavi Morreim's Balancing Act."—JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)

"Morreim has thoughtfully addressed some difficult issues."—Business Economics

"A thoughtful discussion of the implications of the changing economics of medicine for the obligations of physicians and patients toward one another and toward society as a whole. . . . An excellent book. It applies sophisticated reason and careful scholarship to an extremely important issue at the intersection of philosophy, medicine, economics, and law."—The Journal of Clinical Ethics

"A useful, original, and in many ways refreshingly practical book that challenges contemporary assumptions about doctor-patient relations. Specialists in bioethics will benefit from her lucid account of cost-containment mechanisms; physicians who feel themselves drowning in a sea of paperwork will find light cast on the dark corners of their daily ethical concerns."—Medical Humanities Review