Healthcare: Privilege or Right? Essay
Many people consider healthcare to be a privilege while others consider it to be a right. This has been an argument for more than one hundred years. It has become such a big debate in the US that a politician’s position on the topic could be the deciding factor of putting him in the White House or not for most of the voters. People can give convincing facts about whether healthcare is a right or a wrong but it can be summed up to more of a privilege than a right after a reading over all the true facts relating to it.
A liberal minded person would commonly view healthcare as a right to every human being, regardless of race, age, culture background, etc. A popular way that people choose to prove this view is to cite the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It “states that “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including… medical care”” (ProCon). Another fact that someone might use to support this idea is that over half of the US’s bankruptcy cases are medically related; so those could be amended if the government supplied healthcare to its citizens. “In 2007, 62. % of all US bankruptcies were related to medical expenses and 78% of these bankruptcies were filed by people who had medical insurance” (ProCon). A “healthcare is a right activist” might also say that healthcare can increase the number of jobs in the US. “Guaranteeing the right to health care will encourage entrepreneurship, which is good for job creation. Currently people are afraid to start their own business for fear of losing the health insurance provided at their existing job” (ProCon). The loss of jobs in the US has become a scare amongst all Americans, so that point can draw more attention to the healthcare is a right side.
Those are the three main arguments that someone claiming that healthcare is a right would argue with. On the other end of the spectrum, many other people believe healthcare to be more of a privilege than a right. The main reason why they believe this is that they think if healthcare was a right, then why should people have to pay for it? “Rights are inherent within individuals. They do not involve the goods or services of other people” (Bennett). This statement makes perfect sense because the rights in the US Constitution do not require money. Rights are too vague and immaterial to put a price on” (Bennett). Goods and services are nice, and people believe they should be a right, but they are privileges because they are granted to you and you must pay for them. Another reason why people say healthcare is a privilege is that if it turned out being a right in the future then the US government would be turning to socialism. “Providing a right to healthcare is socialism and is bad for economic productivity. Socialized medicine is comparable to food stamps, housing subsidies, and welfare–all of which is charity.
Distributing charity to society makes people lazy, decreases the incentive for people to strive for excellence, and inhibits productivity” (ProCon). The last main reason why people fight for healthcare not being a right is that if it was a right there would be an excessive amount of demand for it at one time. “Guaranteeing health care as a right will lead to an increase in demand for health care that will decrease the quality of care because health care professionals will be overstretched” (Bennett). Those are the reasons why healthcare is considered and fought to be a privilege than a right.
Healthcare is a privilege, not a right. After saying that, though, it can be preserved and not wasted like it has been for the last few years. “A sum equal to roughly one-third of the nation’s total healthcare spending is flushed away on unnecessary treatments, redundant tests, fraud, errors, and myriad other monetary sinkholes that do nothing to improve the nation’s health” (Arnst 34). There has been an estimate to about seven hundred billion dollars wasted each year in the US’s medical system. There are ways to help fix this problem and still help people not spend as much of their tax dollars to pay for these unneeded services.
One way to prevent unnecessary spending is stop infections in hospitals. “Far too often, the biggest danger to patients is not their disease but the hospitals that treat them. Every year 1. 7 million patients develop infections while in hospitals, and 99,000 die as a result. These hospital-acquired infections add $30 billion to the nation’s annual healthcare bill and almost all are preventable” (Arnst 37). The key to preventing the spread of infections and diseases in the hospitals is having the hospital personnel’s hands and clothing kept clean.
Another why to help prevent some healthcare costs is to get patients to take their medicine as directed. “Three out of four Americans do not take their medicine as directed. Thus noncompliance leads to additional doctor visits, hospitalizations, and treatments that together add some $177 billion a year to the nation’s healthcare bill” (Arnst 38). This is not a problem amongst the hospitals and its staff, it is the patients’ fault. If Americans will do what they have been told by doctors then a lot of money will be saved. Those are two reasons how to prevent unneeded costs in the healthcare system.
In conclusion, healthcare is a privilege because it is granted to people and is bought. People believe it is a right mainly because they are turning greedy and want to abuse anything that will end up being free. It is not free because in the small print that no one talks about it says that our tax dollars will keep it going. If it was free who would help pay for the extra medicines, technology, doctor care, etc.? Healthcare would be so expensive and no one would be treated as good as before because there would be a mad rush for medical care everyday. Before making an irrational decision and thinking something big like healthcare is free, stop and think for a second.
Arnst, Catherine. “10 Ways To Cut Health-Care Costs Right Now”. BusinessWeek November 1, 2009: 34-39. Bennett, J. “Why Healthcare is a Privilege, Not a Right”. The Other Half. November 11, 2009. http://theotherhalf. net/2009/10/29/why-healthcare-is-a-privilege-not-a-right/ “Should all Americans have the right (be entitled) to health care? ”. ProCon. org. November 11, 2009. http://healthcare. procon. org/