Privilege Or Right

Topics: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Health insurance, Healthcare reform, Barack Obama / Pages: 6 (1253 words) / Published: Mar 18th, 2016
Is healthcare a right or a privilege? With the advent of the Affordable Care Act in 2010, and the next presidential election less than a year away, such a profound philosophical question is no longer confined to mere academic debate, but instead already has, and will continue to have, major policy implications. Proponents claim that countries such as the United States, which remains one of the few industrialized nations that does not not guarantee health care coverage to its’ citizens, represents nothing less than a medieval moral monstrosity. Critics, however, contend that universal health care efforts run contrary to the founding ethos of the United States, and represents a dangerous usurpation of state power. This essay aims to …show more content…
Without proper physiological or psychological health, one’s pursuit of happiness is almost certainly compromised to a significant extent. Further, if one’s basic health is not in order, they cannot fully exercise more complex freedoms, such as economic liberty, freedom of speech, voting rights, etc. After all, most people would agree that all children deserve the right to a public education, even though this this right undoubtedly constitutes a positive right. Further, welfare programs such as food stamps, public housing, etc. are also designed to ascertain that people have access to other essentials such as food, water, shelter, etc. Hence, proponents view universal health care as a natural and necessary extension of the social safety nets and other progressive measures that were established in the U.S. starting in the 19th century and continuing today, and takes aim at the notion that there is no such legal or moral precedent for universal health care in American …show more content…
Such an answer is highly dependent upon one’s precise definition of rights, and whether one’s conception is limited to negative rights, or also encompasses positive rights. As a matter of practical policy considerations, I think handwringing of whether health care constitutes a right or a privilege tends to obfuscate the more far more important question of whether universal health care will ultimately augment the well-being and conscious experience of the majority of the American people, or not. In other words, one’s definition of rights is highly subjective and lacks any metaphysical basis of being correct, and thus it would be dangerously misguided for public policy to be contingent upon finding the correct answer to this question. Hence, if I had to choose, I embrace the notion of health care being a right, to the extent that it would likely improve the general welfare of the American people. That being said, however, I also concede that supporting state efforts to expand healthcare, while still maintaining that health care nevertheless does not constitute a right, are not mutually exclusive

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