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Healthcare Right vs Privilege

The controversy over healthcare on whether it is a right or privilege has really been making me think about what I believe and what it is to be a citizen of the United States. The healthcare system in the United States has long been a debatable issue, especially when it is discussed by supporters of publicly funded healthcare. Unlike in many developed industrialized countries (including Canada, Australia, United Kingdom), the United States healthcare system is less socialistic, and thus a subject too many debates and disagreements.

On one hand, a private healthcare system like in the United States is a great contributor to the national economic system from healthcare spending. On the other hand, such private system restricts certain members of American society from receiving appropriate healthcare or even from receiving healthcare at all. Since over 40 million Americans cannot afford healthcare insurance, they lack appropriate medical care (Sanders, 2009). However, those who belong to a higher social class enjoy an ample level of healthcare services.

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In such a system, discrimination often takes place when the rights of people that are the same in every other aspect accept their ability to pay for their health care. Hence, I believe that the United States healthcare system should be a right, rather than a privilege. It should be the right of each and every human to be healthy, and to have access to appropriate medical care. According to Denier (2005), there is a collective moral obligation on the part of society to ensure that everyone has some level of healthcare services.

Denier (2005) also argues healthcare needs are considered to be basic needs. Healthcare needs are classified by those things that are needed in order to maintain or restore normal and healthy functioning. These needs include adequate nutrition, shelter, sanitation, unpolluted living and working conditions, and preventative and/or curative medical services. Universal healthcare has many advantages over a private healthcare system. One of these advantages is that it costs less than a privately owned system.

The reform of healthcare system in the United States, however, would cause health insurers to lose huge numbers, and the providers would not be happy either. The economy would be influenced in a negative way as well because of the shift to publicly funded healthcare. But are all these mentioned earlier more important than lives of Americans and their well-being? Current capitalistic approach brings money to the rich by depriving the poor their health. This moral aspect of American healthcare system also proves its inefficiency.

Contrarily, with universal healthcare, everyone would have an access to medical care. In addition, with universal healthcare, everyone would be equal in terms of health. Although there are few public healthcare providers in the United States that are financed by taxes, namely Medicare and Medicaid, generally healthcare is provided by legal private entities. Medicare and Medicaid provide healthcare services to elderly people and to low-income families.

However, there are millions of residents, who do not qualify for Medicare or Medicaid coverage, and do not have insurance through their employers and/or cannot afford financially to purchase individual insurance coverage. Interesting enough, those who do not receive healthcare are usually people of the lower social and economic class. These people are usually workers, who work in skilled labor positions. Since their jobs are physical and often require manual labor, there is a higher probability for them to seek medical assistance than for the white-collar employees.

It is very hard for me to see a person who works hard but does not receive a very good wage be denied some sort of medical care coverage. But, at the same time, it would be virtually impossible to give every single citizen the same healthcare coverage. There needs to be some sort of middle ground whether that is a universal health plan or expansion of Medicare to those that are less fortunate, something needs to be done. After our class discussions, I do still believe that healthcare is a right that should be granted to all citizens.

The way this right is distributed still has me confused. Basic healthcare should be provided to every citizen by the government. What a person considers to be basic healthcare is where it can be confusing. Basic healthcare to one person may not be adequate for another so in the end who has the obligation to make that decision? I also believe that a person has the responsibility to take care of their own health and not just rely on somebody else to heal them when they have made rresponsible choices regarding their own health. In the end, it is still a complicated issue that will probably be debated for years to come. References Denier, Y. , (2005). On personal responsibility and the human right to healthcare. Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics, 14(2). 224-234, Retrieved from ProQuest. Sanders Bernie. (2009, June 8). Health care is a right, not a privilege. [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://huffingtonpost. com/rep-bernie-sanders/health-care-is-a-right-no_b_212770. ht..


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