Health Care As A Privilege Or Right

HealthCare As A Privilege Or Right

HealthCare As A Privilege Or Right

Morethan 45 million Americans are either under insured or not insured atall with most cases of poor health status being seen among people wholive in poverty .Severalfactors such as level of education, income level, employment, andrace play an important role when it comes to determining the abilityof a person to access quality healthcare. It is therefore importantto consider these factors when deciding whether healthcare should bea right, or privilege. The worth of every human must be preserved andregarded as important in all aspects whether socially, religiously,economically or even politically.

Afterall, the right to healthcare is acknowledged globally as a humanright. As stated by the Universal Declaration of Human rights, everyhuman has a right to health. The United States and some 47 countriessigned the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. According tothe declaration, every person has a right to a standard of livingsufficient for the health and wellness of self and one’s familyincluding but not limited to health care (, n.d). Thismeans that each person has the right to the utmost achievablestandard of health mentally and physically. This includes access toenough food, health services, sanitation, healthy conditions to workin, clean environment, as well as decent accommodation (,n.d). However, this declaration is not a treaty in itself, but anexpression of the basic values which all members of the internationalcommunity have in common (Australian Human Rights Commission, n.d).For this reason, it doesn’t directly exert legal responsibilitiesfor any country. It has greatly influenced the development of laws oninternational human rights. Though not legally obligatory agreement,the declaration has attained the status of being customaryinternational law. This is because people have considered it auniversal standard of achievement for every person and all countries.The constitution of the United States contains most of rights similarto those found in this declaration, particularly those that touch onpolitical and civil rights (Discover Human, n.d). However,the constitution has failed to recognize the social, economic, andcultural rights as pledged in the declaration. For instance, right toadequate living standards like medical care, food and shelter are notconsidered as rights entitled to all people.

Thoseadvocating for right to healthcare state that the wealthy nationsshould not be without healthcare and that it should be an essentialservice provided by the government. They maintain that makinghealthcare a right would bring about several advantages such asimproved public health services, general reduction in healthcareexpenditure, and stop bankruptcies in healthcare sector.

Aright to healthcare can help save lives. A study conducted in 2009indicated a link between lack of health insurance and occurrence ofdeaths as many as 44,789 each year. This means that people who arenot insured have about 40% increased risk of dying due to lack ofeffective and well-timed healthcare services (, n.d).

Providingcitizens with right to health can lead to improved economicproductivity. This is because access to good healthcare means betterlives and less off duties, hence more contribution to the growth of acountry’s economy.

Vigorouscompetition in healthcare market can result into reduced costs, morechoices, and greater quality of services. Price competition usuallyleads to lower prices, and consequently, this creates a wider accessfor products and services in healthcare .The U.S spends a lot onhealthcare as compared to other countries. While the government fundsapproximately half of healthcare spending, there are proposals thatregulating prices might control the cost of healthcare hence helpobtain a better deal for individuals, taxpayers, and employers whopurchase health coverage. Regulating prices can help in cutting thecost without necessarily undermining the quality of healthcare(Annas,2011).

Thehealthcare industry in the U.S is over-regulated. This is forinstance seen in the mandates imposed on the insurance companies bythe states, like coverage of the cost incurred in normal deliveries.This type of coverage does not have much to do with insurance thatcovers against unforeseen healthcare costs, while coverage ofcomplicated deliveries costs is an appropriate security against anyunforeseen health risks (Annas,2011).Considering that health care is a right, the governmentoverregulation is necessary to ensure people regardless of theirsocioeconomic status are covered.

However,the government has not been able to offer free services toindividuals as individuals also have some sort of responsibilities toensure that they are covered. The government should do more byensuring that health services across the country are freely andeasily accessible.

Asa nurse, I might encounter various challenges relating to health careas a right. The constitution provision such as the freedom toreligion sometimes conflict with the idea of health as a right. Somereligious beliefs do not allow people to receive medical services.This may present challenges in my work as a nurse to offer services.Nevertheless, the ethical code of conduct for nurses stipulates onthe handling of such dilemma.


Annas,G. J. (2011). The health care proxy and the living will. PalliativeCare: Transforming the Care of Serious Illness,33,167. Right to Health Care. ShouldAll Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?Retrieved February 26, 2015).

DiscoverHuman (n.d) Human Rights and The U.S. Howhas the United States handled human rights issues in the past andtoday?Retrieved March 1, 2015).

AustralianHuman Rights Commission (n.d) whatis the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Retrieved (AccessedMarch 1, 2015).

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