2 years ago
  • Access to Healthcare

    What is access to health care?  How has the concept evolved in the last 20 years?

    According to Chang, Pfoutz, and Price (2001, p. 336) “health-care access is the timely use of needed, affordable, convenience, acceptable, and effective personal health services.”  Whether young or old, young or rich, access to quality health care is an important factor to maintaining health status.  

    Although no one reason can legitimately explain raising health care costs over the past few decades, the fact still remains that health care prices are on the rise at an phenomenal pace.  The once elemental, economical system of the 1950s-60s has been transformed into an opulent, tech-savvy monstrosity.  A health care system that in 1965 utilized a mere 5% of GNP, has evolved today to a system that consumes an estimated 17% of GDP annually (Borger, Clemens, Keehan, Poisal, Sisko, Smith, & Truffer, 2006). Despite the fact that advancement in health care technologies has indeed increased overall quality of life, it has nonetheless brought many ethical questions to the surface of political debate.  Is health care a right?  Should the government provide health care to its citizens?  Should citizen be “mandated” to buy health insurance (Chang, Pfoutz, & Price, 2001)?  

    “Entitlements” such as health care paid for by the government often seem practical and straightforward at first glance, but many often fail to consider the consequences that accompany enshrining any service as a right.  If the government is providing health care, should they be able to mandate behavior and lifestyle as well? Should the government be able to abolish drinking of alcohol, smoking of tobacco, consumption of Big Macs, or even lazy days spent in bed?  Having the availability of food and shelter will also benefit health status therefore it stands to reason that the government should also provide all its citizens with a home and food as well…  (Goodman, 2005).

    Despite these extreme examples, they are nevertheless critical considerations in the evolving debate of health care. Is health care a commodity that should be bought as sold to the highest bidder or is it a right guaranteed by the government?  No matter what your personal beliefs are, access to and delivery of health care it a subject that we must deal with as a country and continue as a topic of debate in the future.  

    Borger, C., Clemens, M. K., Keehan, S., Poisal, J., Sisko, A., Smith, S., & Truffer, C. (2006). Health spending projections through 2015: Changes on the horizon. Health Affairs, 25(2), doi:  10.1377/hlthaff.25.w6. Access on-line http://www.commed.vcu.edu/IntroPH/Introduction/percentgdp2015hamar06.pdf

    Chang, C. F., Pfoutz, & Price. (2001). Economics & Nursing: Critical Professional Issues. Davis Company: Philadelphia, PA.

    Goodman, T. (2005). Is there a right to health? The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, 30, 643-662. doi:  10.1080/0360531050042141


  • 3 years ago