Health Care, Right or Privilege

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Health Care, Right or Privilege
American Intercontinental University Online
Robert Arnold
August 21, 2010

In this assignment I was instructed to choose one of eight presented questions and discuss the topic. I chose the question, Is health care a right or privilege in the United States? I will utilize all resources at my disposal to support my position with evidence while linking medical ethics to my answer when appropriate. I will cite the sources that I use in addressing the question I selected in the paper and in the references.

Health Care, Right or Privilege
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Jefferson, 1776) This quote from the Declaration of Independence was agreed upon by the founding fathers during the Revolutionary War. But, when it comes to health care are all men created equal? And, is life worth living without your health? The answer is a resounding no to both questions.

Because of this modern day fact, health care has become a privilege in the United States. "Attainable only by the wealthy, provided as a benefit solely at the discretion of an employer, a government subsidized insurance plan for the elderly or a charitable gift provided based on the goodwill of others." [ (Haft, 2003) ] Yet there is "only limited constitutional language specific" [ (Haft, 2003) ] to this privilege that should be a right. Currently, in the United States, incarcerated individuals "are the only group who are specifically granted the right to health care." [ (Haft, 2003) ] This "right" is provided through the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution." [ (Haft, 2003) ] This has been upheld by the Supreme Court and requires detention facilities, "as part of their humane treatment...