Defining Healthcare as a Privilege, Right Or Responsibility

Essay details

Is Healthcare a Right Or a Privilege

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Healthcare as a Right: Initiative of Many Politicians
  • Importance of Securing Healthcare as a Human Right
  • Opinion of Healthcare as a Privilege
  • Conclusion
  • Works Cited


Over the past decade, increasing healthcare insurance costs have raised politically controversial issues that have pushed their way to the top spot of Congress’ seemingly endless docket. Many scholars and politicians would argue against Barack Obama and McCain that healthcare is a fundamental right and that the government is responsible for making sure the citizens have this right. However, as a capitalist nation, others believe healthcare is a privilege for those that can afford it and not a requirement. “In a presidential debate in October 2008, moderator Tom Brokaw asked, “Is healthcare in America a right, or a privilege, or a responsibility?” (Ross) The United States healthcare system is set up in a way “not to provide quality health care for all, but to make huge profits for those who own the companies” (HuffPost). Democratic senators sanders believe that this is wrong and that government needs to correct this. Sanders also thinks there is corruption in private insurance companies to increase their value in society. As a result, such companies waste hiring additional unnecessary administrative teams by creating multiple diverse programs to maximize the profits and other compensation for the owner. Instead of spending money, the government needs to use these funds on those who can not afford it. Instead of giving it to the prescription company, why can not spend it on this money public programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and VA. When we analyze this, the middle class does not profit either way. Even in the United States, a capitalist system, we cannot forget our humanity and purpose. For example, there are two people with cancer, chemotherapy with insurance, and a person in poverty that could not pay for coverage. Due to person B’s financial situation is hone diagnosis and the others an automatic death sentence.

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Healthcare as a Right: Initiative of Many Politicians

Bernie Sanders has good intentions, but he still has many flaws in his plans. Some aspects may not be as throughout for a realistic situation. Everything comes at a price, and although the free programs are enforced, we must first analyze pending consequences. For instance, who will be providing coverage for all? Will it negatively affect our taxes even more? Will it weaken the economy? What will happen to our high-grade, medical field when lowering costs? Such questions need answers before taking such drastic steps.

Not only President Obama was pondering the future of healthcare, but he also had the opportunity to take action. One drastic step in recent years sought by the government was the implementation of Obamacare in 2012. From 2008-to 2016, Obama has helped spearhead the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as ObamaCare. “This act provided kids under 26 to stay on their parent’s health insurance and gave patients access to recommended preventive services without cost” (Drier). In a way, this legislation passed most likely because congresspersons at the time must have believed that the U. S. healthcare system is the right of the citizens.

Importance of Securing Healthcare as a Human Right

Kids under 26 allowing kids to stay on their parent's healthcare while still in their younger adult years shows that the government understands that kids cannot currently afford healthcare while in college or hourly job, but still need health care regardless. In a way, the government is trying to help this struggling transitional gap to accept good healthcare without the financial hardship even.

If healthcare is a right of the people, it should be treated the same as the people’s other unalienable rights. In healthcare, it should be equal among all citizens, and no citizen should have more health coverage than other citizens. The constitution has stated that the purpose of government is to secure those rights from being taken away. If access to health care is a fundamental right, then the government must be committed to guaranteeing it to every citizen. Medical treatment would be available to all individuals on an equal basis to anyone seeking it, regardless of age, physical condition, or even the ability to pay.

In my own experience, I worked in a clinic, where I saw there was a long line of patients waiting in line for the clinic. Due to that low staff, not everyone can get treated by a doctor. From seeing this, it has left me devastated as I felt that patients who did not get checked up would continue to get sick and might get worse. This made me wanted eager to learn why is the health care system not even focused. As people are devastated about not getting their medicine and have to come a couple of times again to get one small container, for mental problems they are having for weeks. It made it last this long of how the government doesn't do anything with the health care system as we have low staffs.

Opinion of Healthcare as a Privilege

However, Republican Zach Wamp thinks otherwise. In an interview, with an MSNBC news anchor, Mr. Wamp revealed that healthcare is “a privilege” and by allowing universal health care as a right would be “a fast march towards socialism, where the government is bigger than the private sector in our country, and health care’s the next major step” (O'Brien). By creating the comparison that free healthcare equality socialism, the audience feels resistant to such changes that would negatively impact our developed country. At the same time, however, wouldn’t are-as a society-then be prohibiting finances over the well-being of hundreds. He claims that the current health care system is not entirely taken advantage of, and no reform shouldn’t be needed. Of the people uninsured, Wamp explained that half of the employed citizens opt-out of their employer’s provided health care. By exposing such percentages, the audience hears that if the current system is taken advantage of there shouldn't be any problems with the healthcare system but fail to reflect upon the citizens currently unemployed, and disabled. If health care in America is indeed a privilege, what about that those who cannot afford coverage? Are they left to fend for themselves or die to try? Morally it is offensive to us as people, but logically it makes sense to only give health coverage to those who could afford it. Therefore, my question pertains to both logic and ethics, which leaves us as members of society at a sandhill.


Overall, healthcare falls on the people and the government, and it is their responsibility to make sure that the system is successful. Healthcare should lean more towards a right than a privilege. Thankfully I am blessed to have healthcare, but I think of those that don’t. We, as a nation, must find a way to take care of one another while maintaining the economy. Do we need a three-story home, a luxury car, and brand-name clothes to define us, or should we all step back and reflect on our purpose within humanity.

However, they will always be people having more money than others, at times, and vice versa. Those who have more money will want to be treated with the best specialists and available treatments. Ultimately this allows those with more money a privilege over those with financial hardships. Unfortunately, regardless of a stance, the health care system will remain a privilege until there is a change in society’s mindset.

Works Cited

  1. Drier, P. (2012). Obamacare, Explained. American Prospect, 23(6), 21–27.
  2. HuffPost. (2014, September 19). Healthcare In America: A Right Or A Privilege? The Huffington Post.
  3. O'Brien, S. (2008, May 7). Rep. Zach Wamp Says Health Care Is a Privilege, Not a Right. NBC News.
  4. Ross, L. (2008, November 18). Is Healthcare a Right or a Privilege? CBS News.
  5. Sanders, B. (2017, September 13). A Medicare for All health care system is a right. CNN.
  6. Sexton, J. (2018). America's Health Care Debate: A Comprehensive Guide to Coverage and Costs. Rowman & Littlefield.
  7. Squires, D., Anderson, C., & Uscher-Pines, L. (2015). How the Affordable Care Act has Improved Americans' Health. The Commonwealth Fund.
  8. United States, Congress, & House of Representatives. (2019). Medicare for All Act of 2019.
  9. World Health Organization. (2010). The World Health Report 2010: Health Systems Financing, the Path to Universal Coverage. World Health Organization.

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