Is access to healthcare a privilege or a right?

Is access to healthcare a privilege or a right?

My topic for this write-up will relate to a medical ethical issue, which is access to health care. In order to have competing positions on the selected topic, I have developed a subject question which states, “Is access to healthcare a privilege or a right?”. In my own opinion, I think access to healthcare is a privilege and not a right. I believe that healthcare should be provided to those that actually want it and that it should not be forced on anyone who does not want it since forcing it on people would be a violation of free will (Fredell et al., 2019). Making access to health a right to the people would dictate that health workers are working servants and that anyone can take advantage of the healthcare being provided. Access to healthcare can be paired to a free market, where government interference can result in huge inefficiencies.

According to Dutfield (2017), rights are intangible, and therefore listing healthcare as a right would set a treacherous precedent since it would give the government absolute power over private markets that fail to provide the service. If healthcare is considered a right, then it means that the government would practice monopoly, and this may hinder breakthroughs in preventive medicine, surgery, drugs, and healthcare technology. I choose the topic since most people believe that healthcare should be among the first priorities of a government. However, this is not true since a government’s first priority should be providing clean water, safety, housing, and security (Gurzynski, 2020). If such basic necessities are prioritized and established first, then it means that majority of the people will not even need healthcare.


Dutfield, G. (2017). Healthcare Innovation and Patent Law’s Pharmaceutical Privilege: Is There a Pharmaceutical Privilege: And If So, Should We Remove It. Health Econ. Pol’y & L.12, 453.

Fredell, M. N., Kantarjian, H. M., Shih, Y. C. T., Ho, V., & Mukherjee, B. (2019). How much of US health care spending provides direct care or benefit to patients?. Cancer125(9), 1404-1409.

Gurzynski, L. (2020). Is it Time for Universal Healthcare in the US?.

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