At a time of COVID-19 Pandemic, Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been presented as a potential public health ‘upstream intervention’. Research indicates a possible impact on health by reducing poverty, fostering health-promoting behaviour and ameliorating biopsychosocial pathways to health. This novel case for UBI as a public health measure is starting to receive attention from a range of political positions and organizations. However, discussion of the ethical underpinnings of UBI as a public health policy is sparse. This is depriving policymakers of clear perspectives about the reasons for, restrictions to and potential for the policy’s design and implementation. In this article, we note prospective pathways to impact on health in order to assess fit with Rawlsian, capabilities and perfectionist approaches to public health policy. We suggest that Raz’ pluralist perfectionist approach may fit most comfortably with the prospective pathways to impact, which has implications for allocation of resources.