Healthcare: A Right or A Privilege?

Healthcare: a Right or a Privilege?

The major ethical concern at hand may be the question of whether health care is a right or a privilege. The following pages will look at its numerous facets through utilitarianism; in an effort to dissect and resolve this concern. The utilitarian tries to find an “act” which results in the “greatest good” given to the majority of people. I will explore this frenzied subject, using the tenants of utilitarianism theory and contrast the rejoinder with the perspective of ethical egoism. I will use various resources on healthcare such as books and journal articles in providing evidence that shows that; although, health care may be viewed by numerous people as either a privilege or a right; I consider it a privilege.

Stipulated that healthcare services were guaranteed as a right in the U. S., most likely a good number of people would be taken advantage of this right in a similar manner to how they currently abuse the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). When people consider something as a right; sometimes they take it for granted and misuse it. If health care was a right, most probably there would be an increase in the figure of hypochondriacs’ doctor appointments and frivolous visits to emergency rooms. This would, in turn, create a problem with “patient management” and probably cause a revamp not only in the insurance aspect but also in the entire medical industry. Moreover, I believe that we have a crisis with ‘over-medication’ in the United States. Currently, if one can reach the doctor, and explain to him or her correct symptoms, in that case, one can leave with a full prescription for anything he or she wants. With healthcare being universally accessible, it would be much simpler and easier for a person to obtain prescription medications. Even though legal, I do not consider this is as a beneficial moral ramification for America’s citizens today.

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From a utilitarian point of view, healthcare services offered by the government would assist and benefit scores of people. Currently, a number of people cannot afford insurance coverage, in this case, a state or federal-run program would be promising since it would make it possible for each and every U. S. citizen to visit a doctor when needed. Besides, one ought to be able to remain healthy, as a “basic human right”. The requirement of citizens to have insurance may be a completely different subject altogether. The article in “Modern Healthcare” states that, “the United States Supreme Court would hear five and a half hours of oral arguments on four questions that were raised in petitions so as to review a decision made on 12thAugust from the Atlanta eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that had struck down the individual insurance mandate by the healthcare reform law” (ModernHealthcare, 2011).

The question whether any parallelscan be drawn linkinghealth insurance and automobile insurance coverage rises. It may be reasonable to oblige car drivers to endow with liability insurance in case they were to get involved in a car accident. In addition, that also has the implication that the individual chose to rent, borrow, own, or else possess an automobile so as to drive, if not the accident possibly couldn’t have occurred. However, how does a person justify the involvement of the “equipment” facet in health care circumstances? For example,isone obliged to obtain “liability” health insurance on condition that you ‘operate’ your body?  Would this have the meaning that as long asone decides to come into contact with others or even go into the public, insurance is obligatory? These phrases may be hard to define while relating “automotive insurance” to health care. There may be numerous ways to injure “oneself” that may be beyond the control of a person; these, sometimes never involve other individuals. Furthermore, most things may be hereditary and the person involved does nothing to bring these maladies upon their selves, either willingly or otherwise.

The health of an individual in a society directly affects the rate of society’s survival. “utopian world healthcare” would be universally free and accessible to everybody, at whichever time.  Mosser states that “each time a society enacts a law, there may be the potential that the law may conflict with views of several individuals in the same society” (Mosser, 2010). People may think that by paying for a service (through insurance and taxes) that they don’t or may never use, serves to be pointless. In a “utopian society”, each person would as well share similar opinions or have an extremely advanced type of government to agree on something.

We will presumably remain at an impasse until the “financial aspect” of this subject is resolved.The reporter in “Hospital Topics” writes that,“even though both countries have “privately delivered healthcare”, the principal difference lies in the arrangements of funding for the financing of physician and hospital services. There is public funding in Canada (i.e., government funding) of these services, while in the U. S., funding is largely private, with the exception of Medicaid for the indigent and also with the exception of Medicare for the aged”(Rakich, 1991). The benefit of a public funding system may be transparency and easier management of finances.  The health care taxes of each person are managed from one giant pool; although the government may also have a monopoly on its operations. On the other hand, the benefit of a private funding system may be the“free market mentality”, where competition optimistically lowers prices and also offer maximum choices by the consumer. For instance, dissimilar insurance companies may have diverse“provider networks”.

“Ethical egoists” may think that healthcare coverage ought to be decided on a personal basis. The existing system involves private companies offering insurance coverage to individuals who can afford it.  The TLC Family notes that:the current health insurance plans may be dominated by the “managed-care model” that is found in POS, HMO and PPO plans. The insurance company generates a complete list referred to as a “provider network” of facilities and doctors, in these plans, from which you have to choose. This provider network is composed of hospital physicians that provide health care services to existing members of the specific health insurance plan(Jeffries, 2007).

To me, I would prefer a system or a scheme that is “state-funded”, and provided one is tax-paying and a legal citizen, then one may be entitled to free or discounted prescription assistance and medical care. I believe there ought to be a minimum coverage that may be similar to “liability car insurance”. This scheme would have premiums that are low with high deductibles. This way, citizens who seldom use the insurance, would have the ability to afford the taxation. Moreover, they would have some form of coverage stipulated that visit the emergency room; however, they would have to shell out higher bills than individuals who pay monthly premiums that are higher. The scheme ought to be supported by current and newly-fangled“startup insurance companies” so as to have plenty of consumer choices and promote competition in the market.


I have put forward several arguments as to why I believe that healthcare ought to remain a privilege. There may still be plenty of room to have a scheme that is state-run, running side-by-side with the existing“privately-backed” scheme. With each compromise, all parties ought to sacrifice something.Americans ought to address the issue of healthcare soon. Without appropriate healthcare for its citizens, America may not exist in the near future.


Jeffries, M., (2007, April). “Provider Networks.HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved on April10, 2013

Light, D., (2003). Universal Healthcare: Lessons from the British Experience. American Journal of Public Health. Retrieved on April 10,2013; from,http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447686/

Modern Healthcare., (2011, November). Healthcare Reform and the Constitution. Vol. 41 Issue 47, 11.Ebscohost.com.

Rashford, M., (2007). A Universal Healthcare System: Is It Right for the United States. Nursing Forum.42(1):3-11. Retrieved on April 10, 2013

Rakich, J., (1991). Canada’s universal-comprehensive healthcare system. Hospital Topics, 69(2),14-19.

Mosser, K., (2010). Ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, Ca: Bridgepoint Education Inc. Print.

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