Healthcare is a hot topic in our nation right now. With the Presidential election and the recent Supreme court ruling upholding the health care reform act known as “Obamacare. ” The ethical question raised by all in this debate is if healthcare is a right or privilege. Health is defended in the Constitution as being right of all people. So caring for our health also known as healthcare is indeed preserving this very right to health. The constitution also mandates that our rights are fundamental and cannot be taken away for any reason.
Therefore, our right to care for our health and in turn healthcare cannot be denied because of our ability to pay, economic status, race, state of residence or religion. “Utilitarianism is the theory that people should choose that which maximizes the utility of all those who are affected by a given act. ” (Mosser, 2010. p. 1. 7). Utilitarian ethicist would argue in favor of healthcare as a right, when it comes to overall access to care. This is deeply divisive among those who are for against it for one main reason, the cost. Healthcare is not cheap and splits support among the lines of who should pay for it.
Normal working families work hard to provide a comfortable life for their families, save for retirement and provide their children’s education. Having to live in fear of a family member developing a catastrophic illness which would completely wipe out all the years of savings and hard work in medical bills. Having insurance is no guarantee as insurance companies often haggle or flat out refuse to pay for treatments for certain illnesses. Even in the past insurance companies have been able to drop coverage in the event of an illness.
The healthcare system in the United States, a private system (HMOs, PPOs, etc) fails to provide Americans with quality care. Even working, middle class families who have health insurance, where both parents have a stable income struggle to pay for it. Or they have to risk losing their homes because their providers might bail out on them when in the time of need. (Haft, 2003. P. 26). Health Care 3 Although in the last couple of decades, we have observed many potential solutions to this growing problem healthcare reform did not occur. To make matters worse, premiums soared and coverage’s we were reduced.
If the private system lacks the ability to cover the millions of uninsured Americans, then the time to change to something more efficient and effective has arrived. To Americans who are unfamiliar with the healthcare system in the U. S. (the HMO), this system allows healthcare providers to charge premiums for health insurance. The healthcare provider decides whether or not they should cover your condition. Often times, these health insurance providers bail out on their customers. Over the last few years, insurance companies tripled their profit. (Eleftheriadis, 2012. 269).
We should definitely be making universal healthcare a reality. Everyone has a right to healthcare, especially in the respectable democracy we live in. Due to the recession, many Americans become one of the 47 million uninsured. (Nursing Economic$, 1986. 66). These citizens need quality and affordable health care. The U. S. can afford it especially when we spend twice as much per capita and providers tripled their profit in the last couple of years. (Orlando, 2009). By making universal healthcare happen, there would be less bankruptcy, a better economy and everyone would be better off.
In the United States, everyone is not fortunate enough to obtain health insurance. Problems such as being unemployed from our troubled economy, restrictions coverage, or not receiving coverage at all, are problems some Americans are facing. For those who are employed, one isn’t able to choose their own health insurance. Other problems such as being labeled as a high risk factor can deter insurance companies from becoming willing to accept one as a client. With the increasing amount of problems and flaws within the system, health reforms where created to fix the problems.
“What may be some of the reasons why insurance companies deny health insurance? ” What are the credentials Americans have to obtain to be qualified for health care, and most important who makes the final decision? ” The way the Health Care 4 health care system is running is wrong in many aspects. It’s starting to draw a line between who will have a higher risk of falling ill, and may even die, and people who are insured and able to afford health care. The way that health care is currently provided to American citizens is truly complex and often difficult to understand.
It has so many nuances and legal definition that many, if not most Americans do not truly understand how their care system works. This is not entirely avoidable, due to the general complexity of what it takes to make a system with so many components and factors viable. How we currently procure care can be governed by income, pre-existing conditions, age and gender. The cost to obtain private insurance is unattainable for many low income citizens and, without some form of insurance, the cost of care can bury people in debt.
There has been a lot of talk about ObamaCare, Medicare, Medicaid, insurance and other ways we pay For medical care. What there has not been is talk about our values and ethics. Is it OK to let someone die because they are they are not insured? A Harvard Health study estimates that 45,000 people die each year because they are not adequately insured. (Haft, 2003. P26). Is it OK to have to declare bankruptcy due to medical illness? A study by the American Journal of Medicine estimates that 62 percent of bankruptcies are due to medical illness and 75 percent of those people had insurance. (Haft, 2003. p27).
Is it OK to have the emergency room be the only care available to millions of people? Currently 50 million people do not have insurance, that is 16 percent of the population and many more are underinsured of have interrupted insurance. (American Nurse, 3). Chronic medical conditions cannot be treated in the emergency room, managed by ignoring the problem or intermittently treated due to intermittent insurance. It does not work to ignore hypertension until someone has a stroke. Chronic medical conditions are best managed in a clinic with a primary- care doctor with whom you have a long term relationship.
I believe medical care is a right that a civilized country provides its citizens. I do not think that medical Health Care 5 care is something you deserve if you are lucky enough to work for the right employer. Perhaps if we start from the proposition that medical care is a right, we can design a better, smarter and more effective health care system. Perhaps we can invest in more research for diabetes, Alzheimer’s, austism, cancer and other diseases that are incredibly expensive to treat. Perhaps we can invest in better public health, including support to help people make healthier choices.
Perhaps we can address our problems together as a country that cares about all its citizens. Most countries around the world that have healthcare have decided that healthcare is a right and that everyone should have it, no matter what. In the United States, we’ve not been about that. Our system of healthcare has been one of a privilege. Health insurance was devised to support those catastrophic things: hospitalizations, car wrecks, that sort of thing. It wasn’t meant to cover the day-to- day maintenance of healthcare. Of course, this evolved over time. Our medications become more expensive.
You know the whole story. Health insurance broadened, so instead of being something for that panic moment, when some terrible thing happens, it became maintenance for us. It became our day-to-day livelihood. If you had a job, you got health insurance with it. It started to become a right of the employed. However, we didn’t take care of those who didn’t have health insurance, except that we did. If you don’t have health insurance in the United States today, what happens? You show up at the emergency department and we’ll take care of you. Who pays for that? We all do in the cost of our healthcare on the other side.
We have over 40 million people who are uninsured in the United States. (Nursing Economic$, 1986. 66). That equals the entire country of Canada, the number of uninsured in the United States. What the healthcare debate is about is how to take care of those people. We are a nation about self. We are not about others all that much. We are debating between freedom Health Care 6 and government oversight. It’s really what it comes down to. You have the freedom to not have health insurance. Fine. However, then it’s my job, those who have health insurance, to rescue you when you fail.
It gives you the freedom to fail, but if you then do fail, we catch you on the other side. If health insurance is a privilege and we don’t force people to buy it, then how are we going to catch them? Are we just going to say, “Forget it, you were stupid. You didn’t buy health insurance; therefore, you can’t come into my hospital”? Or are we still going to catch them in some way? This is the balance that we are struggling with in our country. I actually thought, now that I really drilled down on it, that the forcing of purchasing of insurance was a balance between freedom and government oversight.
You had the choice of what kind of healthcare to buy, and you had to buy it in order to consume the product, but you weren’t forced to have some government healthcare insurance. It was a balance between the two. What are we going to do with those people who are out in the cold? Are we just going to leave them out in the cold and not provide them healthcare because that was their choice, therefore making healthcare a privilege, or are we going to make it a right so that everybody gets access to it? If that’s the case, how are we going to cover that?
If we leave people out in the cold, are we going to rescue them or not? Are we going to say, “you can come into our emergency rooms,” or aren’t we? Many people feel that although the United States leads most of the world in medical advances and technology, the healthcare system is broken because a great number of people go without care they desperately need, due to lack of adequate insurance. The dilemma of healthcare as a right or a privilege has been the latest issue facing Americans across the nation. Public proposals of universal healthcare for every citizen have been the focus of much political debate.
Everyone is ready for change, but people are unsure of how this change should be approached. Health Care 7 Autonomy, or the right to choose, is a principle valued by the American society. When it comes to healthcare, agency is vital in promoting self-reliance among citizens. People should have the right to choose what doctor they would like to see, and to make decisions regarding their own personal health. Autonomy puts people in charge of their own bodies and allows them to seek health care as they deem necessary.
Thus it can be argued that under the principle of autonomy, everyone should have the right to choose whether or not to have insurance, regardless of the outcome. Allowing people to have complete autonomy in terms of healthcare leaves something to be desired in the way of justice. Children do not have the right to choose an insuring plan for themselves, and many parents do not want or qualify for insurance. Clearly, justice for these children and others in a similar situation demands a health insurance plan that covers them, even if their parents choose not to be covered.
In doing what is best for the community as a whole, healthcare should be offered at an affordable rate for everyone, but especially for those who may not qualify for Medicaid, and cannot pay for private insurance. Everyone should still pay taxes as a community, but the vulnerable populations such as children, the poor, and low middle class need to have options if they do not qualify for government insurance. Public policy should be reformed to allow citizens a way to pay for insurance that will adequately cover them. Health insurance should not be forced on people.
Public policy should be introduced to regulate insurance to provide better coverage. Those who are poor or low middle class could have a private insurance subsidized by the government. Offering options in health insurance to all Americans would result in a system where every individual has access to health care as their right and privilege. Health Care 8 Healthcare is a human right, not a privilege. We should not live in a system where the rich can Afford to live and the poor cannot, yet the United States of America, land of the free, good health care is a privilege not a right.
Yet again, I don’t believe this is how it is suppose to be. Health care must become a right and not privilege for all American’s. Prescription drug costs are out of control. People have to choose between food and their prescriptions. In general, the cost of health care is out of control. The cost of going to a doctor is so high many Americans don’t even bother until it is often too late or they can no longer bear the pain of that illness. Although I have a doctor which is part of the hospital, I have to pay a copayment every time I go and I don’t always have it.
My next choice is to go to the emergency room where as they will bill me. As a matter of fact, health care is not a right afforded to every citizen in our country. Currently prisoners are the only group who are specifically granted the right to heath care. Healthcare is a privilege attainable by the wealthy, a benefit provided 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. 28). I feel that this treatment should be extended to every citizen.
Rights only make sense when they can be applied universally, without causing a “wrong” to someone else. You can have a right to own property, for example, because everyone can enjoy the right under the same terms and conditions. Times are changing and very different compared to forty years ago. Today it is very common to see single parent families, many led by only a mother. In the past, a family was thought of as a working father where the mother stayed at home and watched the children. It’s sad to think how in the past, a neighbor would go out of their way to help a friend in need.
This type of help is often unseen in today’s day and age. Unfortunately, it is almost impossible to get by on a single salary from one working Health Care 9 parent, let alone receive help from others. I believe single parent families and lack of help from others is the main creation of the working poor. The working poor can’t afford the costs of healthcare. To make ends meet, the single parent balances two or three jobs with their entire paycheck used to cover the cost of living first, mainly taxes and rent.
After the costs of living are paid, there is barely enough money to pay for basic necessities like food, clothing, and shelter, let alone health insurance. Interesting enough, those who do not receive healthcare are usually people of the lower social and economic class. These people are usually workers, who toil in skilled labor positions. Now, since their jobs are physical/manual, there is a higher probability for them to seek medical assistance than for the white collar employees. This phenomenon of American healthcare system proves once more that it must be reformed: those who seek care do not receive it.
Ultimately, every person rich or poor, black or white, Christian or Pagan- has a right for a safe, healthy, and happy life. Although healthcare providers probably would not make a patient safe or happy, but they surely can improve his or her health and wellbeing. Unfortunately, in the United States not all people can claim their right for appropriate healthcare, while government values capitalistic ideal as more important . However, no money is worth people’s health and lives. References Eleftheriadis, P. (2012). A Right to Health Care.
Journal Of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 40(2), 268-285. doi:10. 1111/j. 1748-720X. 2012. 00663. x Haft. H. (2003). Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege? Physician Executive, 29(1), 26. Health care as a basic human right. (2012). American Nurse, 44(5), 3. Health Care: Right or Privilege? (1986). Nursing Economic$, 4(2), 66-68. Orlando Sentinel. (2009, Aug 26). Right, not privilege? Retrieved from http://search. proquest. com/docview/284272131? accountid=32521 Mosser, K. (2010). Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, Inc.