SOC120- Assignment WK3
SOC120- Assignment WK3
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Date Created: 11/06/15
Running Head: HEALTH CARE 1 Health Care: Right or Privilege Jennifer Robinson SOC 120 Instructor: Erin Schouten May 27, 2013 HEALTH CARE 2 Health Care: Right or Privilege Health care and our right as citizens to have it free of charge is one of the major ethical issues that is affecting our nation. Once a model for the rest of the world of what a health care system should be, the United States currently has one of the least effective health care systems amongst the industrialized nations. Despite the US being a cornerstone of major medical research and having the best trained health care professionals, our nation is lagging when it comes to our th health care system which is ranked 37 out of 191 countries according to performance (Christopher, 2010). There are many ethical issues that can be resolved by making health care a right to all citizens. While there are programs in effect such as Medicaid and Medicare most of America’s uninsured population does not qualify to receive these services. Some would argue that making health care free to all U.S. citizens would mean having to pay higher taxes, but it should be the right of the people of this country. The utilitarianism theory determines that we look at the issue of universal health care in the terms of the results it could produce and if those results can produce the greatest good for the greatest number of people. The utilitarianism theory is closest to my own views on health care and whether it should be a right of the people of this country. We should be able to decide whether or not a free of charge health care system would work for us as individuals. Making health care a right to all and not a privilege to a few would remedy people waiting until symptoms are at their worst to seek medical attention, allow people with preexisting conditions to receive affordable health care, and a range of other issues that stem from over 45 million U.S. residents being uninsured (Messerli, n.d) which would do the greatest amount of good for the larger amount of people. HEALTH CARE 3 While being an uninsured U.S. citizen does not mean that you cannot receive medical treatment, with laws in effect such as the Emergency Medical Treatment Act and the many health clinics that offer free or reduced services, most Americans wait until their symptoms are severe before they seek counsel from a medical professional. A recent article from ABCNEWS.com by Gary Langer (2012) reports that, “among uninsured people nearly 49 percent say that they or someone in their family has put off medical treatment in the last year because of the cost.” Making health care a right would prevent people from waiting until they are in a lifethreatening situation to seek medical attention because health care coverage would be offered to all citizens. Offering U.S. citizens free of charge medical care would lead to people being diagnosed and treated for cancer, heart disease, and other life threatening illnesses that can be fatal if not caught in the early stages. The Institute of Medicine estimates that at least 18,000 Americans die prematurely each year solely because they lack health coverage (2005). Most Americans are offered some form of health care covering through their employer but with the rising cost of health care, some employers will not be able to offer the coverage. Smaller businesses and some larger companies can be viewed through ethical egoism because they are experiencing personal gain whether intentional or unintentional by not providing their workers with health benefits. It is understandable that health care has become increasingly unaffordable for businesses just like is has for individuals. Businesses may decide to cover employee health insurance premiums they only have a certain amount that they can spend on labor, which in turn means that they have less money to spend on raises, new hires, and so fourth. The same is true for individuals the more you pay for your insurance premium the less money you will have for food, rent, and goods and services. Joe Messerli (n.d.) points out that HEALTH CARE 4 businesses and individuals that choose to keep their health plans still must pay a much higher cost in the long run. The amount that is spent on health care prevents the country from making a full economic recovery. With business and individuals having less money to pump back into the economy, a government run healthcare system would go a long way in helping to revive our economy. If you view this issue from the utilitarianism theory you would see the positive effects of a universal health care program in this country and just how the majority would benefit from it. The Congressional Budget Office found that universal health care would reduce the deficit by $1.2 trillion (Klein, 2003). American companies are spending $1.13 trillion dollars each year on health care, which is more than the national budgets of France, Canada, and the UK combined. With a universal health care system, companies would keep more money and would have a healthier and more productive work force. Our nation has a 4 trillion dollar deficit; a universal health care plan would reduce this amount and aid the recovery of our country. Our country would save a minimum of $950 billion per year. This is equivalent to one third of our national budget (Mohit, 2009). The money that would be saved through the implementation of a universal health care plan can be put back into the economy, which will mean more jobs, more funding for education, and so on. Mosser states, “ethical egoism is the view that all human behavior should be regarded as done in the selfinterest of the individual person to satisfy that person’s goals and desires” (2010). I do not think that people wanting to be able to see a doctor when they are sick or get an annual check up for little to no cost is a form of seeking a selfish desire or trying to reach a personal goal. Universal health care for all is instead a means to insure that all American citizens HEALTH CARE 5 can receive the treatment necessary to build and grow this great nation. No matter your feeling on health care that is free to all citizens, whether you feel it is a right or a privilege there is a need and a demand for it. References: Christopher J.L. (2010). Ranking 37th — Measuring the Performance of the U.S. Health Care System. The New England Journal of Medicine362(2), 989. doi: 10.1056/nejmp0910064 Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. (2003). Health Insurance Coverage in America: 2002 Data Update. Washington, DC: The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Klein, E. (2013, January 6). Re: Debates: The US government ought to guarantee universal health care for its citizens [Online forum comment]. Retrieved from http://www.debate.org/debates/TheUSgovernmentoughttoguaranteeuniversal healthcareforitscitizens./1/ Messerli, J. (n.d.). Should the Government Provide Free Universal Health Care for all Americans? Retrieved from http://www.balancedpolitics.org/universal_health_care.htm Mohit, B. (2009). Universal Health Care Can Save Our Economy. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/drbehzadmohit/universalhealthcare can_b_201154.html Mosser, K (2010). Ethics and Social Responsibility. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.
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