Is Health Care a Right?

  1. Just want to see your opinion (friendly discussion, no flaming, please). Is health care a right that should be enjoyed equally here in the U.S.? If so, how would this be financed without breaking the bank? How would you place limits (if any) on health care for all?
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    About VickyRN

    Joined: Mar '01; Posts: 12,040; Likes: 6,492
    Nurse Educator; from US
    Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in Gerontological, cardiac, med-surg, peds


  3. by   Flo1216
    Canada has universal health care. It has its pros and cons, but at least everyone is entitled. Maybe one of the Canadian memberc can tell you more about it. As for health care being a right, if you had a loved one who was seriously ill but lacked coverage, do you think that the person should have to suffer and perhaps die because they cannot afford coverage? Do you think that your health and your life should only be worth the amount of income you generate? Some people work 2 part time jobs and are not eligible. Some people wait tables or bartend and health insurance is not generally offered in these types of jobs. When I was a bartender, I had to pay out of pocket for insurance in order to attend nursing school. It cost me $320 a month and that was the cheapest HMO. I also had a $30 co-pay. I ultimately had to cancel my coverage because I couldn't afford it. And I am a healthy, single person. Imagine what it is like for a person with diabetes or heart disease who have children. Some people stick their noses up at pts receiving medicaid or charity care, but the fact is, quite a few of them need it. Health care is simply not affordable in this country for the average citizen. IF you are lucky enough to be covered by your employer or have never been without coverage, it's easy to view health care as a priviledge, rather than a right.
  4. by   oramar
    This is a good question and Flo's post calling it an entitlement was right on the mark. Do I think every human being is entitled to health care. Yes! Do I think it is in the Bill of Rights along with freedom of speech and the right to practice what ever religion you choose. No! A lot of people get confused about this and it needs to be clairified.
  5. by   BritishStudent
    The avarage american pays double in insurance costs to that of british health care taxes or so I read....
  6. by   fergus51
    I think it should be a basic entitlement or right of citizenship, especially for children. I think it is bassackwards to guarantee prisoners medical care, but not children.

    As for not breaking the bank: Have you considered the costs of not having universal healthcare, which include lost work days, bankruptcies, etc.? It's a lot cheaper to provide basic care, than run a system like in the US with different HMOs and healthcare organizations like Tenet that bilk the system outrageously.
  7. by   treecy
    Our healthcare system is a mess. I'm no financial mind but there should be a way for our citizens to recieve medical care when needed regardless of income. A few weeks ago my sister's finace fell and broke his arm. He has no health insurance (self employed) but is a veteran so he went to the VA hospital. He was told that there was no orthopedist at that facility and to go to another VA hospital, approx. 50 miles away and they would call them to let them know he was coming. He arrives and is told to wait. They approach the desk several more times and are told they have to wait. After approx. 6-7 hrs He is called. Well guess what? The ortho on duty has left and now must be called back. After another couple hours the ortho doc arrives and says his arm is too swollen, gives him an appt. to come back and a script for pain med. The pharmacy is now closed so he leaves. Comes back the next a.m. and waits 4 hours to have script filled. This story was relayed to me by my sister. Now on the other hand, I have a cousin 44 years old, diabetic. Never worked a job that had taxes deducted. Has not taken care of his diabetes. Had a "street tatoo" and contracted Hep. C. Is unabel to work now, nearly blind. Was hospitalized, got medicaid, goes to an adult care center daily for meals and meds (transportation provided) Currently awaiting permanent disability status so he can collect soc. sec. and be eligible for senior citizen housing (subsidized). I cannot say he should be denied the care he needs but its the everyday working joe that is up the creek if he or his family becomes ill. And frankly I really have a problem with how our vets are treated after serving our country compared to a person who has never contributed anything. Sorry this was so long but this is a topic that I really don't know which side of the fence I'm on.
  8. by   K O'Malley
    I think that health care is a right but with rights come responsibilities, like not trashing your health and expecting others to pick up the tab. But, knowing human nature there will always be those who abuse the system. I never could understand giving liver transplants to alcoholics.
  9. by   RN2B2005
    Nope. Healthcare is not a right. I never could understand why people complain about the cost of medication, diagnostic exams, etc.--these things cost money, and without money the option to have them wouldn't exist at all.

    There are many people who feel they are entitled to health care--these people tend to be Medicaid recipients, in my experience.

    I once had a woman take a swing at me after I told her our clinic would not perform an MRI of her son's knee unless we had a referral from her primary care physician--whom her son had never seen. She had gone to a specialist after having her son seen in the emergency room--the specialist didn't get paid, either, because under Medicaid law in our state if the provider sees a patient without a referral, the provider has to eat the cost. This woman couldn't care less--she called me various names and said that I was discriminating against her son. She definitely didn't care that my clinic would never get paid for doing a $1600 scan--that wasn't her problem. She knew we couldn't bill her and she didn't care.

    I believe that there should be a nationwide plan in place to cover total healthcare for certain individuals--the physically or mentally disabled, children, etc. I believe, however, that this plan should be run as an HMO and that certain treatments, like liver transplants in patients with a history of alcoholism, should be excluded.

    It's coldhearted, and flame me if you wish, but it's quite literally our money being spent, and it should be spent in a fashion that provides the highest level of care to the most people, not extraordinary care to a very few people.

  10. by   sanakruz
    No flame intended TOBE- but I do believe that woman could have been better served and your saftey preserved by not making an issue of WHO WILL PAY instead of trying to find out what she was really trying to accomplish for her child.
    She most likely saw you as a gatekeeper keeping her son from being pain free. This does not excuse violence ,of course.
  11. by   susanmary
    I'm on the fence on this one. I can easily debate both sides. But, ultimately, all Americans should have covered health care. Clearly, with citizenship should come pride/responsibility. It's frustrating to have patients who worked all their lives, get laid off, and end up going into debt (tens of thousands of dollars) because a family member needs surgery, has a fracture, etc. I feel so badly for those that fall between the cracks. People struggling, working very hard -- for jobs with no insurance/benefits -- children.

    Healthcare -- a right? -- a privilege? I think it is both. As a poster stated, with this privilege comes responsibility -- but with free will also comes reward/consequences. I'm rambling ... probably not making alot of sense. I just want to be able to provide the best care for all my patients -- whether or not they have health care.
    Last edit by susanmary on Jan 15, '03
  12. by   nurs4kids
    I do not think healthcare is a right, but like many above, I straddle the fence when it comes to children. I do not feel a child should be left to fend for self as they do not choose the situation in which they live.

    I agree, it's a shame how we treat our vets..yet take excellent care of our prisioners..go figure. Do I feel I should be taxed to care for the adult who has never held a job, can't afford their own food, yet can somehow purchase alcohol and cigs? Not one bit. This country is built on the foundation that for hard work, one receives benefits. It is not the responsibility of the working to work to assure healthcare for the non-working. If we go to socialized medicine, you and me are afforded the SAME healthcare as the 45 yr old man who has never worked a day in his life. And that healthcare would be of a lower standard than many american's are accustomed. Call me cold hearted..I am. I just feel that certain rewards come from hard work..
    healthcare being one of them. As for jobs that don't provide for healthcare...
    they usually pay more to compensate and if not, to me it would be a great motivator to educate myself and change careers.
  13. by   Tweety
    I'm on the fence too. Why should prisoners get better and free health care than a law abiding citizen working for minimum wage? Or the children of someone working for low wages. Or a family that maybe has been hard working all their lifes but suddenly finds themselves on hard times.

    What about a middle income person as myself who looses hundreds and thousands of dollars getting treatment. I'm paying for those who can't/won't pay.

    I don't have any answers. I do know that universal health care systems are abused and overused. But sometimes it seems drug addicts and alocholics are getting a better ride in the health care system than some of the rest of us.
  14. by   Flo1216
    Actually, I think that all children ARE entitled to healthcare. I have a 7 year old handicapped brother and my mother is very poor and she has never paid anything out of pocket for his medical care. Some people may disagree with this, but he is an innocent little boy who has never harmed anyone. Also, not everyone who is on medicaid is nasty or violent . And some people may think that if people cannot afford to pay, then they should not be treated or shall receive minimal care, however that 48 year old chain smoking man who "trashed his health" is someone's father, husband, brother, son. To dice it up by excluding people for not taking better care of themselves is absurd. If insurance companies did that, most Americans wouldn't be covered, considering that the leading causes of hospitalization are CAD, lung cancer, diabetes, AIDS, accidents, etc. Most of these are preventable. As for alchoholics receiving liver transplants, believe me they are hardly at the top of the UNOS list. Most of them die before they would ever receive a transplant.