Right to Health Care

VII. Key Issues: Regulation & Reform >> A. Bioethics >> Right to Health Care (last updated 11.16.16)
  • Congressional Research Service. Health Care: Constitutional Rights and Legislative PowersApril 5, 2010 – R40846. “The health care reform debate raises many complex issues including those of coverage, accessibility, cost, accountability, and quality of health care. Underlying these policy considerations are issues regarding the status of health care as a constitutional or legal right. This report analyzes constitutional and legal issues pertaining to a right to health care, as well as the power of Congress to enact and fund health care programs. Following the recent passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, P.L. 111-148, legal issues have been raised regarding the power of Congress to mandate that individuals purchase health insurance, and the ability of states to ‘nullify’ or ‘opt out’ of such a requirement. These issues are also discussed. The United States Constitution does not set forth an explicit right to health care. While the Supreme Court would likely find that the Constitution provides a right to obtain health care services at one’s own expense from willing providers, the Supreme Court has never interpreted the Constitution as guaranteeing a right to health care services from the government for those who cannot afford it.”
  • Health Care Is a Business, Not a Right. “My conclusion, having read Hanson, was that people don’t want to think their health care system might let them die because it’s too expensive to keep them alive. They don’t like it any better when the government does it than when an insurer does — and so the government is at pains to suggest that cost is not a factor in their calculations. And I had made this remark at a time when those sorts of decisions were becoming more public, and more controversial… A true national health care system, along the lines of Britain or Canada, would have advantages and disadvantages over what we have now. But one advantage that it doesn’t offer is to free us from the need to think about our health care in the cold logic of dollars and cents, rather than warm and fuzzy altruistic ideals. Health care cannot be a right, full stop; it has to stop before we run out of wallet. Which means that no matter how much it horrifies, we have to stop hoping for a system that will make those hard decisions and unhappy trade-offs go away.” McArdle, Megan. (Bloomberg View, 8.23.16)
  • Patient Care and Rights Web Links (St. Louis University School of Law)
  • Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA.com: COBRA Anti-dumping Law)
  • Health Care is Not a Right (Leonard Peikoff)

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