To What Extent Can It Be Argued That State Healthcare Should Be Withdrawn from People Who Have Made Lifestyle Choices That Have Damaged Their Own Health?

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To what extent can it be argued that state healthcare should be withdrawn from people who have made lifestyle choices that have damaged their own health? Health care involves the diagnosis and treatment of all diseases, illness or injury, either physical or mental. It is provided by doctors and nurses through primary, secondary and tertiary care. Our topic is restricted to healthcare provided by the state as a public good. Healthcare is one of the most important sectors of an economy. Healthcare can be maintained privately or through state (NHS). The fact is, most of the population cannot afford private healthcare therefore they heavily depend on the government. It is considered a duty of the government to provide healthcare to the public. Healthcare is a basic right of people under a welfare state. Healthcare can be a huge burden for the government and the taxpayers. The expense on healthcare is increasing rapidly, preventing investment in new projects. On the other hand, the taxes keep on rising to facilitate government expenditure, posing a burden on the taxpayer. There are multiple factors contributing to rising healthcare problems. The increasing population of the U.K. means a higher number of ‘patients’ every year. In 2010 the population of U.K rose by half a million (Doughty, 2011).Higher number of patients, require more services and the doctor to patient ratio decreases. Due to this extra pressure of health care on the government, the health system is deteriorating. Number of doctors available and the maintenance of healthcare facilities have been very low (Telegraph, 2012). Some of the major healthcare problems recently have been related to obesity, alcoholism and drug abuse. The controversiality of this topic has given rise to questions like, ‘Are people putting their life in danger deliberately knowing that the state will eventually come to their rescue?’ There is an on-going debate between people whether healthcare should be withdrawn from those, whose health is damaged by their own lifestyle choices. These people include the obese, smokers, and heavy drinkers. Obesity is a major cause of concern especially in the UK, as it is estimated that by 2050, 60% of adult men, 50% of adult women and about 25% of all children under 16 could be obese (Chipperfield & O’Brien, 2007). Obesity can be caused by a number of reasons other than over eating. It tends to run in the families and therefore is unavoidable for some. It can also be caused by some drugs such as anti-depressants and pregnancy-control pills (Galletta, 2012). Women mostly gain around 8-10 pounds after a pregnancy and this can compound each time (Simmons 2011). Being fat is not a blessing, and who would deliberately do that to themselves? Smoking, drinking and drug abuse have become part of our modern culture. The first reason for the use is the pressures of life everyone faces. Due to the hectic and tension filled lives, we often let ourselves go when we have free time and drink or use drugs to have a good and relaxing time. It’s very hard to avoid these things if one has to stay within a social setting. The amount of peer pressure and perception of people causes one to indulge in these things. The biggest reason that teenagers get involved in these things is to look ‘cool’. Although some end up getting addicted to them, but the society encourages further, relying on alcohol and drugs. People who are addicted either to food, cigarettes, alcohol or drugs, do make some bad choices in their life and act irresponsibly but they shouldn’t in any case, be treated differently from the rest of the society. One cannot simply let these people die because they committed some mistakes. Or deny the fact that fat people are not fat by choice but due to inevitable consequences. Politicians and groups can say such things in public only, but can any one of them imagine their family member dying because of non-provision of medical facilities? Obesity, smoking, drug...
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