Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population Essay

Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population Essay

According to the CDC, “in the United States, the proportion of the population aged >65 years is projected to increase from 12.4% in 2000 to 19.6% in 2030,” (CDC, 2003, para. 2). Caring for this aging population is going to be one of the greatest challenges facing the health care industry. Not only will the number of individuals requiring care rise, but so will the cost. As poignantly stated by Crippen and Barnato, “unless we change the practice of medicine and reduce future costs, and explicitly address the ethical dilemmas we face, there may come a time when our kids simply cannot afford us” (2011, p. 128). In this Discussion, you will examine the ethical issues that the United States and other nations must address when faced with the health care challenges of an aging population. To prepare: Consider the ethical aspects of health care and health policy for an aging population. Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population Essay. Review the Hayutin, Dietz, and Mitchell report presented in the Learning Resources. The authors pose the question, “What are the economic consequences, now and for future generations of taxpayers if we fail to adapt our policies to the changing reality of an older population?” (p. 21). Consider how you would respond to this question. In addition, reflect on the ethical decisions that arise when dispersing limited funds. Contemplate the impact of failing to adjust policy in accordance with the changing reality of an older population. Reflect on the ethical dilemmas that arise when determining expenditures on end-of-life health care. Discuss an explanation of the ethical standards you believe should be used in determining how resources should be allocated for an aging population and end-of-life care. Then, provide an analysis of the ethical challenges related to the preparation for the provision of such health care.

Rationing and Allocation of Scare Healthcare Resources

Rationing and allocation of scare Healthcare resources is the allocation of the scare healthcare resources based on the societal values and interests. This practice ends up discriminating against the elderly patients, leading to them being dump (Hirose & Bognar, 2014). The political process of resource allocation and rationing has seen formulated many healthcare policies touching on aging population healthcare but none has ever addressed the need for equitable resource allocation. None the less, this practice is against the ethical obligation of providing healthcare to the elderly.

The Ethical Standards that should be used in Determining how Resources should be Allocated for an Aging Population and and-of-Life Care

The first ethical standards that should be used in the resource rationing is the level of impoverished, disadvantage, and disproportionate economic status of the elderly which makes them less productive in the society. Besides the correct medical choice must be made in respect to the needs of the aging population when allocating resources for their healthcare needs (McKie, Singer & Richardson, 2016). In addition, fairness must be used as the premise of allocating healthcare resource to the elderly to prevent patient dumping which amounts to a denial of healthcare services to the elderly on the premise that they are uninsured and thus do not qualify admission. Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population Essay.

The level of indigent of the patients must thus form the basis of allocating healthcare resource to promote self-respect for the dignity of the elderly in the society. Therefore, the healthcare rationing must observe the equitable distribution of healthcare resources to achieve long-term viability (McKie, Singer & Richardson, 2016). The compact and simple laws should be used as the guiding ethical principles to achieve effective healthcare resource rationing to find a link between the competing social values and interests. This policy would enable healthcare providers to balance the economic utility of healthcare need to the value and cost of the provision of the care.


The policy of resource allocation for the elderly should be done in line with the perception of the society on the elderly healthcare.  However, the capability of the medical facilities to cater to the needs of the indigent elderly patients must also take a center stage in this aces (Hirose & Bognar, 2014). Ethical values must be incorporated into this policy formulation process to safeguard the personal dignity and value of elderly patients.

The Ethical Challenges Related To the Preparation for the Provision of Health Care to Aging Population

The motive to generate profit form the provision of healthcare must be overlooked and the avocation of resource complies with the ethical principle of autonomy and beneficence. Thus, license to provide healthcare services with a profit motive should only be issued subject to the compulsory provision of healthcare to the indigent elderly citizens to reduce cases of patient dumping (Hunter, 2016). None the less, the ethics of the American Medical Association which provides that the firsts consideration when allocating resources is to consider the concern for the patients’ needs which should overlook the societal need to subject healthcare costs to control.

The social altruistic of the elderly must also be taken into consideration when determining the resource allocation as opposed to viewing them as rational consumers who have been relegated to poverty after retirement (Matthews & Russell, 2016). A consumerist image should be adopted to overlook the situations of emergency physician-patients relationship. In addition, all the conflicting values of the elderly and the young patients must be scrutinized and then interlinked to find a common ground here allocation of social resources would not compromise the needs of the young patients. Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population Essay.


In conclusion, healthcare rationing involved allocating resources, especially critical and expensive healthcare needs to patients, based on their age and premised on the fact that age determines productivity and consumerism.  However, this is an unethical practice that discriminates against the healthcare needs of the indigent elderly patients who are in much need of the healthcare services. Given the fact that the elderly are more susceptible to sickness than any other population in the community, elderly discrimination in healthcare resource distribution devalues their status. In essence, access to healthcare should be made a priority to this most vulnerable group without much restriction. To avert this unethical practice and injustice against the elderly, there is a need to integrate ethical and moral reasoning to the social rationale of cost saving in healthcare.



Hirose, I., & Bognar, G. (2014). The ethics of health care rationing: an introduction. Routledge.

Hunter, D. J. (2016). Desperately seeking solutions: Rationing Health Care. Routledge.

Matthews, E., & Russell, E. (2016). Rationing medical care on the basis of age: The moral dimensions. CRC Press.

McKie, J., Singer, P., & Richardson, J. (2016). The allocation of health care resources: An ethical evaluation of the QALY approach. Routledge. Discussion: Ethical Issues With an Aging Population Essay.