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Access to Healthcare

Access to Health Care

The questions – should a nation ensure health care for its people, and if so, what is the right way to do this – can be asked Of any particular nation. However, for the purposes Of this presentation, we will focus our attention on health care in the United States.


Background Information

The term health care refers to the systematic maintenance and treatment of human physical and
mental well-being by trained and licensed medical professionals. There are different ways in which health care can be provided, such as private commercial medical plans, state-supported universal medical plans, or a combination of both approaches.

In many developed countries, such as Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, and Japan, state-supported universal medical coverage is provided for all citizens. In the United States, most people have private insurance policies. There is an ongoing debate about whether this approach to health care is just.  Affordable Care Act (2010)

In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Affordable Care Act (ACA), an attempt to provide
universal and affordable health coverage for all Americans. The ACA is a controversial plan. Let’s consider some arguments offered for and against it.  Affordable Care Act (2010): Arguments FOR

Compared to other developed countries, the efficiency and accessibility of the U.S. healthcare
system is considered by many to be sub-par. Supporters say that the ACA will make the
system more efficient and accessible, and prevent much of the waste in the present system that
occurs as a result of profit motivations and other factors.

Some object to this argument by noting that the federal government is notoriously inefficient with regard to running bureaucratic departments. The creation of a new agency to manage health care for Americans will lead to a healthcare infrastructure that is even more ineffective than
the current system.

A second argument for the ACA is that justice demands universal health care. Fairness demands that all citizens have access to the same benefits, including healthcare privileges. The philosopher John Rawls said that we ought to select social policies from behind a “veil of ignorance.” This veil prevents us from knowing what our lives will be like until after we make those choices. We will make choices not knowing how much money we might make or what health issues we might have. If we choose from behind the veil, we will make choices that are fair for everyone to safeguard our own future interests.  The objection to this argument is that justice is not mere fairness. Moreover, true justice demands a state that does not interfere in the lives of its citizens. Opponents claim that the ACA will violate the rights and privacy of its citizens by forcing them to pay taxes for universal health care. They maintain that health care should be handled by individual patients and doctors without the government’s intrusion. Affordable Care Act (2010): Arguments AGAINST

Now let’s look at the arguments against the ACA. There are approximately 11 million illegal
immigrants in the United States. It is neither fair nor financially and systematically feasible to
provide health coverage to illegal immigrants. The United States cannot afford to pay the healthcare costs of illegal immigrants. We should not make promises we cannot keep.

Objection: Contrary to popular opinion, illegal immigrants who are employed in the United
States pay enough in sales and other taxes to fairly contribute the ACA pot. Moreover, if
immigration policies could be reformed to allow for current illegal immigrants to become citizens, then the ACA would be well-financed for years to come.

The ACA requires unfair taxation. In order to fund the ACA, young working adults will be forced- without providing their informed consent-to fund the health care of people in older generations. Doing this will unjustly saddle young adults with a financial responsibility.  Objection: Funding ACA will not be a matter of unfair taxation. Although it is true that young
adults will be required to pay taxes to support ACA, they will have access to medical care along
with all other American taxpayers. And as these young adults age, a new generation of young
adults will help to fund the care for their medical needs.    


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