Autonomy and Paternalism in Health Policy
5 Pages Posted: 11 Apr 2014 Last revised: 21 Jan 2015
Date Written: April 15, 2014
In the United States the delivery of health care traditionally has been hierarchical and strictly controlled by physicians. Physicians typically provided patients with little information about their diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment plan; patients were expected to follow their physicians’ orders and ask no questions. Beginning in the 1970s, with the widespread adoption of the doctrine of informed consent to treatment, the physician-patient relationship began to be more collaborative, although the extent of the change has been subject to debate. At a minimum, physicians began to give patients more information and asked them to consent to recommended treatment, the therapeutic privilege to withhold information from patients lost support and eventually was repudiated, and physicians embraced – at least in theory – a more patient-centered conception of health care.
Keywords: Health Policy, Bioethics, Autonomy, Paternalism, Personal Health Records, CLIA, Direct-to-consumer genetic testing, soft drink regulation
JEL Classification: K31, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation