ERIC Number: EJ1140061
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2017
Lost in the Health Care Reform Discussion: Health Care as a Right or Privilege
O'Rourke, Thomas W.
American Journal of Health Education, v48 n3 p138-141 2017
Health care has been an ongoing issue of public concern for decades, well before President Obama took office. Passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, in March 2010 and upheld by a Supreme Court in June 2012. With Republicans now in control of both the House and Senate as well as the presidency, the ACA in its current form will likely be repealed with something not yet known even to those who were elected vowing to repeal it and replace it with something better. However, lost in the discussion is the more important and basic question of whether health care is a right or a privilege. Simple question, yes. Easy to answer, less so. Why? Answering this question would provide guidance for any reform with respect to who is covered; how care is financed, budgeted, and provided; how costs are controlled and by whom. Basically, is health care a human service allocated by need independent of ability to pay or a commodity to be allocated as a market good based on ability to pay? This article discusses this question as well as health care as a societal responsibility, the underlying principle of health care as a right, and the role and responsibility of health educators and health education professional organizations to the public. It concludes that health care reform should be more than a slogan of "repeal and replace." It should be built on the principle of health care as a basic human right. A single-payer national health program--improved Medicare for All--is the fairest and most cost-effective way to do that.
Descriptors: Health Services, Human Services, Civil Rights, Social Responsibility, Federal Legislation, Court Litigation, Guidance, Health Insurance, Budgeting, Financial Support, Costs, Health Education, Role, Cost Effectiveness, Ethics, National Programs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
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