By Bill Gardner
The Incidental Economist
Originally published May 30, 2014
I have been warned my whole life that I shouldn’t smoke. The evidence that smoking affects health is overwhelming. Suppose I understand all this, but I smoke anyway. And then I get lung cancer. Am I responsible for what happened to me, given that I was aware of the consequences yet behaved recklessly anyway?
Whether we are responsible for our health affects how we think about health policy. The ACA subsidizes insurance, and thus the cost of health care, for millions of Americans. Many people feel that it is right to care for those who are ill through no fault of own, but they do not understand why they should be responsible when someone becomes sick through reckless behaviour or self-indulgence. Our intuition is that such people are (to some degree) morally responsible for their fate.
The entire article is here.