Running Head: HEALTH CARE, RIGHT OR PRIVILEGE Health Care, Right or Privilege HCM310-1003B-01 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?
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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 during incarceration, to be guaranteed the right to health care. ” [ (Marshall, 1976) ] When the Constitution was drawn up “health care was generally available to all citizens. [ (Haft, 2003) ] Also, there wasn’t an issue concerning “lack of affordability or lack of access to care” [ (Haft, 2003) ] so there is “only limited constitutional language specific to this right. ” [ (Haft, 2003) ] However, if the founding fathers had known how health care would grow it is possible they would have extended the same standard of treatment to every citizen. Now from an ethical stand point it’s a no brainer, amend the Constitution to include health care as a right to all citizens. So, why hasn’t Congress done this already?
In a word, greed. Lobbyists for insurance companies and wealthy constituents entertain and donate campaign money to block attempts to make this happen. This is because the health care system is extremely expensive to maintain. For example, in 2000 the cost of health care was over a trillion dollars and consumed “13. 2 percent of the gross domestic product. ” [ (Haft, 2003) ] Even as the costs and intricacy of health care rose, interim methods for funding health care were developed. This funding was utilized by most citizens.
But, even as the capabilities to reduce pain and prolong life grow, “the financial ability to provide these services to all citizens is steadily declining. ” [ (Haft, 2003) ] The detachment “between health care and the financial ability” [ (Haft, 2003) ] for citizens to access healthcare clarifies the essential question, is health care a right or privilege? Because of the piece meal development of funding health care in the U. S. , a large percentage of the population are in the unstable situation “of being unable to access and afford basic health care. [ (Haft, 2003) ] This came about through a sequence of events were the processes of paying for health care were developed in an attempt to pace the growth “of health care development and rising costs. ” [ (Haft, 2003) ] This situation will continue until the leaders in the U. S. do the right thing by amending the Constitution, and make health care a right not a privilege. In this assignment I chose one of eight presented questions and discussed the topic. I chose the question, Is health care a right or privilege in the United States?
I utilized all resources at my disposal to support my position with evidence while linking medical ethics to my answer when appropriate. I cited the sources that I used in addressing the question I selected in the paper and in the references. References Haft, H. (2003, February). Health Care Industry; Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege? – Health Policy. Retrieved August 21, 2010, from BNET, The CBS Interactive Business Network Website: http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m0843/is_1_29/ai_96500897/ Jefferson, T. 1776, July 04). The Declaration Of Independence: The Want, Will and Hopes ofthe People. Retrieved August 21, 2010, from USHistory. Org Website: http://www. ushistory. org/declaration/document/index. htm Marshall, J. B. (1976, November 30). ESTELLE V. GAMBLE, 429 U. S. 97 (1976). Retrieved August 21, 2010, from Justia. Com U. S Supreme Court Center Website: http://supreme. justia. com/us/429/97/ Williams, S. J. , & Torrens, P. R. (2008). Introduction to Health Services 7th Edition. Clinton Park: Delmar Cengage Learning.