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Health Care: Right or Privilege

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HEALTH CARE: RIGHT OR PRIVILEGE

Tanya N Waddell

SOC 120

Amber Anderson

December 8, 2013

In this assignment I was asked to choose a topic and identify, specifically, the ethical issue and the ethical problems it presents. I chose Health Care: Right or Privilege. I will utilize all resources to support my position with all my facts. I will cite all the sources that I use in addressing the topic that I selected in the paper and in the references.

HEALTH CARE: RIGHT OR PRIVILEGE

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with the certain unalienable Rights that among these are the Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." (Jefferson, 1776) This quote from the declaration of independence

Was agreed upon by the founding fathers during the Revolutionary war. But, when it comes to health care are all men and women created equal? And, is life worth living without your health? The answer is resounding No to both questions.

Because of this modern day fact, health care has become a privilege in the United States. "Attainable only by the wealthy, provided as a benefit solely at the discretion of an employer, a government subsidized insurance plan for the elderly or a charitable gift provided based on goodwill of others." (Haft, 2003)Yet there is "only limited constitutional language specific"(Haft, 2003) to this privilege that should be a right. Currently, in the United States, incarcerated individuals "are the only group who are specifically granted the right to health care." (Haft, 2003) This "right" is provided through the "cruel and unusual punishment" clause of the 8th Amendment to the Constitution." (Haft, 2003) This has been upheld by the Supreme Court and requires detention facilities, "as part of their humane treatment during incarceration, to be guaranteed the right to health care." (Marshall, 1976)

When the constitution was drawn up "health care was generally available to all citizens." (Haft, 2003) Also, there wasn't an issue concerning "lack of affordability or lack of access to care" (Haft, 2003) so there is "only limited constitutional language specific to this right." (Haft, 2003) However, if the founding fathers had known how health care would grow it is possible they would have extended the same standard of treatment to every citizen. Now from an ethical standard point it's a no brainer, amend the constitution to include health care as a right to all citizens. So, why hasn't Congress done this already?

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