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Right to health care: What is "basic" health care?

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Comments in the Right to Health Care series have repeatedly gravitated toward the question of what constitutes "basic" health care. I have not addressed that topic yet because it has not been established that there is any right to "basic" health care at all. But a lot of people think it is important to talk about it, so here are my thoughts.

I would consider a minimum standard of health care, in our affluent and technologically advanced society, to include the following:

  • All vaccinations recommended by the various professional organizations, such as the American Medical Association.
  • All screening tests recommended by professional organizations, such as cancer screenings as recommended by the American Cancer Society.
  • An annual physical, or perhaps biannual for young, healthy adults.
  • Full prenatal care as well as labor and delivery services.
  • Well-baby and well-child exams.
  • Treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer.
  • Surgery to save life, limb, or quality of life.
I also consider doctor visits for illness or injury as well as emergency services to be "basic" health care, but would support some way to keep these services from being abused, such as a reasonable copay. Likewise with mental health services.

"Basic" health care, in my opinion, does not include:
  • Purely cosmetic procedures, such as removal of moles that are not pre-cancerous.
  • Experimental treatments.
I would love to know what readers think. What is should be included with "basic" health care and what should be excluded?

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Milehimama said...
May 28, 2008 at 9:04 AM  

Your "minimum" is actually better than the health care I currently am purchasing for $600 a month!

Could you clarify, though, whether you think that a right to such healthcare is the government's responsibility to provide, or should simply be available?

Do you think this is an unalienable right, endowed by our Creator - or a right American citizens are given by the Constitution?

Also, what exactly does "prenatal care" entail? Midwife visits, or a full workup by physician including ultrasounds, blood tests, AFP, genetic tests? How about diabetes care? What if the patient is noncompliant?

I think that society has a duty to provide life saving care (which includes prenatal care for the unborn). I can see where providing vaccines is good public policy. But cancer screenings? Treatment for chronic illnesses? That seems more than "basic" to me.

David S said...
April 26, 2009 at 11:11 AM  

"Could you clarify, though, whether you think that a right to such health care is the government's responsibility to provide, or should simply be available?"

This is a misnomer. A universal healthcare insurance program is NOT government run healthcare. The only thing that happens if we go to such a system is that the government pays the bills via our collectively paid taxes.

If we implemented the same kind of health provider/government pays system like they have in Canada, France, Germany, and Denmark (and others)... not only would the America save a shit load of money as a result, but medical mistakes and waste would drop significantly.

The UN Charter on Human Rights, Article 25 states: “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care.”So the idea of basic healthcare being a right to all... absolutely!

"But cancer screenings? Treatment for chronic illnesses? That seems more than "basic" to me."

Your joking, right? So because of a quirk of bad DNA or being unlucky enough to be exposed to radiation or coal dust or perhaps the rescue workers on 9/11 what not, that those unlucky people need not get that care for free? They now need to pay extra out of pockets expenses to be saved for doing the job they worked?

I admit it is tough to want to help those that smoke as a habit, but that is where preventive medicine comes in.

captfoster2 - See me at MMfA.org as well

Flip Jork said...
June 9, 2017 at 1:48 PM  

Much as I hate to be the bearer of bad news, I must report the shocking facts: Medical care is medical care. Nothing more and nothing less. odfmedical.com

Jade Graham said...
June 20, 2017 at 4:49 PM  

Behind the door is one relatively large room with a long bench down one side. local chiropractor prices

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