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.
"Basic" health care, in my opinion, does not include:
- Purely cosmetic procedures, such as removal of moles that are not pre-cancerous.
- Experimental treatments.