IS HEALTH CARE A RIGHT OR A PREVILAGE. The debate on whether access to universal health care is a fundamental human right has dominated political debates in recent times. Governments around the world are focusing on health care reforms to improve the accessibility to quality health care (Christopher & Caruso, 2015). However, there are differing views regarding the restructuring of the health care systems. Some people argue that access to health care is a human right and that the government has a responsibility to provide health care to all citizens. Those of a different view argue that access to health care is an individual privilege. Nonetheless, access to quality health care is a necessity to survive in today’s society. Therefore, health care is a fundamental right.
Firstly, access to quality health care is a legal right. The right to health care falls under the rights enumerated in the bill of rights and in the declaration of independence. Every citizen has a right to liberty, life and pursuit of happiness. Failure to provide quality health care interferes with the citizens’ life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. In fact, Maruthappu, Ologunde and Gunarajasingam (2013) propose that accessible health care for all citizens is a legal right. The human rights documented in the constitution, in the bill of rights and in the declaration of independence make health care a legal right.
IS HEALTH CARE A RIGHT OR A PREVILAGE
Secondly, accessible health care is a moral right. Health care is a necessity in today’s society. Some people are unable to access quality care because of the disparities that exist in the society (Jones & Kantarjian, 2015). Distributing health care resources unevenly is unethical. Those who argue that health care is a right claim that denying people access to health care because they cannot pay for it is a fundamental injustice (Maruthappu et al, 2013). Therefore, to promote justice in the society, health care must be made accessible to all citizens.
However, considering accessibility to health care a fundamental right is difficult because it is dependent on a society’s resources. Supporters of the view that health care is a fundamental right maintain that the right to heath can be ensured through government action. However, the ability of a government to meet the health care needs of its populace is dependent on the resources the society have. Maruthappu et al (2013) argue that because the capability to meet the health care needs of the public is reliant on the resources the society have, there would still be a disparity in healthcare provision for people between different societies. Therefore, heath care can be considered a privilege.
Additionally, considering health care violates the rights of taxpayers and those of health care providers. Arguing that health care is a fundamental right means that the taxpayers are forced to pay for the services provided. Also, a right to health care implies that the health care providers would be forced to provide care to individuals without considering the costs incurred. However, health care should only be provided in circumstances that do not violate human rights. Therefore, quality care can only be availed in a free market and in voluntary contributions from charitable organizations and donors.
Health care is both a legal and moral right. Availability of quality care enables individuals to enjoy the right to liberty, life and pursuit of happiness. Also, it is unethical to deny individuals access to health care when they need it. Although some people oppose the argument that health care is a right, denying vulnerable people access to quality care is an injustice.