The Veil of Ignorance and Solidarity in Healthcare: Finding Compassion in the Original Position

Michał Zabdyr-Jamróz

About author

Michał Zabdyr-Jamróz
Health Policy and Management Department
Faculty of Health Science
Jagiellonian University Medical College
ul. Grzegórzecka 20
31-531 Kraków

Michał Zabdyr-Jamróz is a teaching assistant at Health Policy and Management Department of the
Faculty of Health Science at the
Jagiellonian University Medical College. He is also a
PhD student at the Faculty of International and Political Studies at the Jagiellonian University.


In this paper I will juxtapose the concept of the veil of ignorance – a fundamental premise of Rawlsian justice as fairness – and solidarity in the context of the organisation of a healthcare system. My hypothesis is that the veil of ignorance could be considered a rhetorical tool that supports compassion solidarity. In the concept of the veil of ignorance, I will find some crucial features of compassion solidarity within the Rawlsian concept of “reciprocity” (actually, not being reciprocity at all) – located between “impartiality” and “mutual advantage”. I conclude that, even behind this “thick” veil, some essential, yet “particular” facts on health and wealth redistribution are available to decision makers. Lastly, I discover that by means of the assumption of self-interest in the original position the veil aims to convert egoism into empathy, thus invoking the solidarity of compassion that in turn could be translated into principles of the organisation of a healthcare system.

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