Do all the United States citizens have the right to healthcare services regardless of their position, or is it a privilege for those who deserve it? This has been the United States debate for over a century, whether healthcare is a right or a privilege. Healthcare as a privilege arises from the limited resources since it requires money to operate, and in this case, is treated like any other commodity in the market. This debate is facilitated by several factors, such as the role an individual believes that the U.S. government is playing in enforcing healthcare rights. Other factors, such as how people view rights and privileges and whether they believe healthcare to be something that every individual should have, play a part in this debate. Therefore, my thoughts on this debate are that healthcare is a right and not a privilege.
The United States has modified the current delivery system and provides healthcare for its citizens in recent years. For instance, in 2008, former President Obama stated and declared that healthcare in the U.S. should be accessible to everyone regardless of socio-economic status (Maruthappu, Ologunde, & Gunarajasingam, 2013). This meant that every citizen had the right to quality and affordable healthcare. Although the statistics do not show how healthcare is a right for every citizen considering the many numbers of uninsured people, the U.S. is taking a step further to making healthcare accessible. According to Maruthappu, Ologunde, & Gunarajasingam (2013), the number of those not covered in 2010 was over 50 million. Enacting and passing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) has substantially contributed to ensuring that healthcare is a right and not a privilege. Healthcare has been made accessible to many U.S. citizens, although not all of them. One of ACA’s objectives that have proved that healthcare is a right is its goal in improving availability, affordability, and quality of insurance coverage for all U.S. citizens through Health System Reform and Insurance Reform (Vincent & Reed, 2014).
In recent years, the healthcare environment has changed, which has impacted the practice as a nurse. For instance, in the nursing environment, drastic changes have occurred to enhance medical care efficiency. There are better hospitals, more training programs, more responsibility, and a focus on patient-centered care in the nursing field. Although I am not yet working as a nurse, these changes impact my dedication as a medical professional as I am eager to better the health of the patients. The changing environment that has contributed to more training programs impacted my clinical hours as it had enabled my skills and confidence to build. I am learning new skills and techniques that will be helpful in a clinical setting. Another change in healthcare is social media’s use in increasing engagement in the nursing field (Lucas & Ward, 2016). Through this, nurses can share information and ideas, which has facilitated better communication.
There are rights that the virtues of humanity entitle U.S. citizens or, rather, every human worldwide. Exercise of these rights makes life better and enjoyable with dignity. Thus, among all the rights the humans deserve, healthcare is the most basic, essential, and crucial one. Although the United States mostly has a health insurance system, the right to healthcare is recognized internationally and should strive to make it a fundamental human right for its citizens.
Lucas, A., & Ward, C. W. (2016). Using social media to increase engagement in nursing organizations. Nursing, 46(6), 47-49.
Maruthappu, M., Ologunde, R., & Gunarajasingam, A. (2013). Is health care a right? Health reforms in the USA and their impact upon the concept of care. Annals of Medicine and Surgery, 2(1), 15-17.
Vincent, D., & Reed, P. G. (2014). Affordable care act: Overview and implications for advancing nursing. Nursing Science Quarterly, 27(3), 254-259.
What are your thoughts about the debate regarding whether health care is a right or a privilege? How has the changing health care environment impacted your practice?
The United States assurances its citizens education, police and postal services, military protection, and other services, either federal or state, however, health care coverage is not guaranteed (Bauchner, 2017). Because we are humans, we have rights independently from our culture, religion, sex, race, economic status, or nationality and, among those rights, healthcare should be the most vital (Gerish, 2018). Healthcare is not considered a right but a privilege for the ones who can manage to pay for it (O’Rourke, 2017).
In my opinion, I believe that healthcare should be a right, but facts showed me that in United States is a privilege. I came from a South America country where, even though it is considered a developing country, healthcare is accessible to all its citizens. Lately, public hospitals are not the best, the buildings are deteriorating, and there is a lack of supplies, nevertheless, they offer free healthcare for the ones in need. Of course, if possible, people prefer to pay medical insurances or prepaid care for a better service. During my first years in United States I received medical insurance for my four children with 100% coverage although not for me. Later, when I started to have better salaries, they denied that service, but my employers offered me plans to cover my children with a fee in every paycheck. I felt that I was earning more money but at the same time having more expenses.
“We have the least access and by far the highest costs in the world” (O’Rourke, 2017). That is true; I feel that in addition to having to rely in expensive medical insurances, the costs of medical services are luxurious, so yes, healthcare in US is a privilege. O’Rourke, 2017 makes a point with the statement that considering healthcare as a right does not mean that should be free, nor it should be by charity. In addition, not all services should be included, for example elective cosmetic surgery. Considering healthcare as a right is a way to provide accessible needed care without taking in consideration the ability to pay.
During the orientation at my current job, I learned about EMTALA, The Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act, which is a federal law that requires emergency departments to stabilize patients regardless their economic or insurance status and if hospitals do not comply with this law fines apply. More of these laws should be written to ensure that all citizen receive adequate treatment, not only in emergency situations. Nonetheless, the problem of considering healthcare as a right and not a privilege is being discuss year after year with only a few changes and little by little additions are made like EMTALA and affordable healthcare.
Bauchner, H. (2017). Health care in the United States: A right or a privilege. JAMA 317(1):29. https://doi:10.1001/jama.2016.19687
Gerish, M. (2018). Health care as a human right. Human Rights Magazine 43(3). https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-state-of-healthcare-in-the-united-states/health-care-as-a-human-right/ (Links to an external site.)
O’Rourke, T. W. (2017). Lost in the health care reform discussion: Health care as a right or privilege. American Journal of Health Education, 48(3), 138–141. http://eds.a.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=5&sid=dd15245d-62a1-4e89-9b6a-dca649770c48@sessionmgr4006
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