Access to Health Care Based on Humanity not Income

Essay by r__tellCollege, UndergraduateA, April 2006

download word file, 9 pages 4.0

One of the most basic of any human goods is certainly health. Health is a major determinant in almost all human activities, from productivity to procreation. Following that, the health and well-being of its population should be of utmost importance to any nation. Employing this principle depends on a country's philosophy of distributive justice and their ethics on resource allocation. There are about as many approaches to this matter as there are countries, but the two countries in question, Canada and the United States, take opposing stances: the former, of egalitarianism and the latter, of libertarianism. The present issue is to decide which view is correct, which is a daunting but important endeavour and it will inevitably boil down to a matter of human rights.

From the standpoint of human rights, one must inexorably conclude that "the proper ground of the right to receive medical treatment... is ill health [not income]" .

Therefore, the dissemination of health care should draw from a general principle of justice that guarantees everyone equality of opportunity for care.

Firstly, one must understand the argument of libertarianism. Traditionally, the United Sates has accepted the free market ideal that distribution of health care is best left to the market. This is to say that health care for the public is not a protected right, but a private value. The libertarian believes it is unfair and unjust for the government to impose taxation for healthcare because this infringes on their right to freedom. Freedom in this view is the highest value: freedom to trade goods and services, freedom to choose health care providers, and in turn a health care provider's freedom to choose his or her clients. This all sounds well and good, but it has some dangerous implications.

According to Norman Daniels, a physician under the...