Justifying his proposal for “health savings accounts,” which would allow individuals to set aside tax-free dollars against future healthcare needs, President Bush has said that “Health savings accounts all aim at empowering people to make decisions for themselves.” Who could disagree with such a sentiment? Although bioethicists may be among those who express skepticism that personal health savings accounts will be part of the needed “fix” of our healthcare financing system, self determination has long been part of their mantra. Indeed, the field of bioethics played an important role in advancing this idea in the medical world when physician paternalism was regnant. Has its popularity caused it to become so vapid as to be ripe for misuse?
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