262497 Ethically Distributing Public Health Resources Among Generations in Turbulent Times

Monday, October 29, 2012

Patricia M. Alt, PhD , Health Science Department, Towson University, Towson, MD
Choices have to be made about the allocation of public funds and potential changes in entitlement programs during difficult economic times. This paper explores some of the assumptions which lie behind governmental choices about reducing entitlements and service programs for senior citizens. After a national history of defining elders first as dependent and needy, then as entitled to public support, there is a more recent trend toward seeing them as “greedy geezers” competing for scarce resources which would be better used in serving others. What are some of the key pressures behind this shift in perspective, and how can a more balanced view be achieved? This presentation examines the ethical aspects of policy debates and choices to reduce and/or shift public health funds among age groups at the national, state and local level. It pays particular attention to the stereotypes employed in these discussions and media coverage of them.

Learning Areas:
Ethics, professional and legal requirements
Public health administration or related administration
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. Analyze choices being made about redistribution of public health funding for different age groups. 2. Discuss the pressures influencing those policy choices, including tightened budgets and a growing older population. 3. Describe the ethical dilemmas faced in balancing public health care for older adults and the young.

Keywords: Ethics, Public Health Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have done the research entirely myself, and have been involved in aging policy and ethical research for over twenty years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

Back to: 3282.0: Poster Session I