Is healthcare a universal right that should be provided by governments?

Expert Answers
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two separate aspects to this question.  First, it asks if health care is a right.  To this, I would say yes, at least in countries that are rich and modern enough to provide it.  Second, it asks if it is a right that “should be provided by governments.”  To this, I say no.

I would agree that all people have the right to a decent level of health care.  John Locke (and Thomas Jefferson, after him) said that we all have the inalienable right to life.  Health care is part of maintaining our lives.  Just as people should not be allowed to starve to death, neither should they be allowed to be unhealthy if it can be prevented.  Thus, I would see health care as part of our right to life that should be protected.

However, I do not think it follows that the government must provide the health care.  I think it is the duty of government to make sure that everyone can get a decent level of health care provided to them in the most efficient way.  It seems to me that allowing and creating more competition between health care providers and insurance companies would be the best way to do this.

In other words, I think that the government should make sure that we can all get good health care.  However, I think that it should do so by creating a good system and by subsidizing those who need help paying.  I do not think that a single-payer system like Medicare is the way to go for all health care.