Aging and the Rising Costs of Healthcare in the United States: Can There be a Solution?

Hengameh Hosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


As a result of the aging of American society and the fact that older persons require a great deal more healthcare and much more expensive treatments, the costs are on the rise and  spiraling out of control. As a solution, ethicists Daniel Callahan and others have proposed healthcare rationing on the basis of age. On the basis of utilitarian ethicist, these writers have argued that age-based rationing will lead to the provision of healthcare to the greatest number of people. Of course, utilizing other ethical theories other writers have opposed the rationing of healthcare on the basis of age. The paper presents the arguments made, and the ethical theories employed, by both sides, which suggest an ethical dilemma, thus most probably a debate about age-based rationing in the future. The author found it interesting to seek the views of professors teaching healthcare –related courses about this type of rationing. Utilizing grounded theory/ quantitative research methodology, designing a questionnaire that included some 14 questions, the author interviewed some 18 professors of healthcare courses in Pennsylvania. Utilizing grounded theory in the analysis of the results of the interviews led to some eight interesting themes, which are presented and analyzed in the paper. After presenting the results of that study, and not finding the application of age-based rationing feasible, the paper also discusses other alternative solutions for reducing healthcare costs, including the notion of fair innings suggested by Allan Williams. All these alternatives are discussed in the paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-247
Number of pages19
JournalAgeing International
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 18 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)


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