Health Care: A Right or a Necessity

 The debate over health care often centers on whether there is a right to health care. Whether a relevant issue it is important to consider in resolving the debate on health care.

     The best way to decide about a right to health care in to look to the two great American documents. The Declaration of Independence refers to “unalienable rights” of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” The Preamble to the Constitution states the purpose of the union is to “establish justice” and “promote the general welfare.” Clearly health is an essential part of life and without health there can be little happiness. Providing health care only to those who can afford it is not just nor does it promote the general welfare (same as one of the Triple Aims, improving population health).
More to the point is whether our nation should provide health care for all. Currently, for many, health care is indeed an unfunded mandate provided in emergency rooms all over the country. It should be funded as the same basic care for all.

So the economic argument is the key. By not allowing many people from having regular care for chronic disease we greatly increase the cost of health care for all. It is unjust and does not promote the general welfare of Americans.

Whether you support the idea of health care as a right, we must provide health care for all for critical economic reasons.





  1. Healthcare is not a right. It is a service. It is also not a “thing” that you have or don’t have and a highly individualized and complex area of personal choice and needs. There are several reasons why a service or product is not a right.

    A right is something a human has inherently. It is not something granted by an authority like government or a king and it is not something taken from someone and given to someone else or forced to be provided. It is the government’s job to protect inherent rights, not grant them or provide them.

    There are many things that it would be nice for all people to have as rights but they don’t have them inherently and would have to be granted and potentially forcibly provided by a power such as government. Examples include jobs, legal services, food, shelter, wealth, or even happiness.

    Another reason the healthcare services are not a right is because to say so means that someone has to provide them. This takes away the real rights of the providers and is akin to slavery.

    Healthcare is also not a right because it can’t be defined or limited except by the granting power. Individuals should decide for themselves what healthcare services they want or need, not be told what they can and can’t have by the granting power. This power also gets to decide who can have this right. It is utopian nonsense to think that anyone who can get into a country can have whatever healthcare services they want or think they need as a “right”.

      1. Posted by Judy Ladd on behalf of Mary Poole, MD:
        Our society has decided to create many services because, by doing so, our society as a whole functions more effectively … I would like to live in a society where people have their basic needs met from day 1 …

        1. Posted by Judy Ladd on behalf of John Ogle, MD: “Our nation was not set up to serve health care to all citizens as a free and guaranteed service … when people are free, no one has a duty to provide them anything but safety.”

          1. From Judy Ladd on behalf of Leto Quarles: “Let’s start with the stated purpose of US Government, as handed down to us from our founders in the Preamble of the Constitution: “to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” Various aspects of both Public Health … and Healthcare … could be legitimately interpreted as matters of Justice, common Defense, general Welfare, and securing the well-being of future generations (our Posterity). This, rather than an argument about “Rights” is the lens through which I best see the US settling our questions about the role of government in health and healthcare.”

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