85%(20)17 out of 20 people found this document helpful
This preview shows page 1 - 3 out of 8 pages.
1A Decent Minimum of Health CareThe Wrong Argument for a Positive RightRegardless of the theory of justice that one subscribes to, most can intuitivelyagree that it would be ideal for all citizens to have access to some sort of health care. Anegalitarian approach to the distribution of health care would provide that everyone has anequal right to health care resources (Vaughn, 543). However, one must recognize that ahealth care system in which everyone receives the same universal access would not beeconomically feasible, considering the resources it would take to satisfy all of the variousand competing health needs in a society. Thus, those who believe in a moral right tohealth care often adopt a weaker argument, which instead suggests that everyone isentitled the right to a “decent minimum” of basic health care resources (Vaughn, 544).InThe Right to a Decent Minimum of Health Care, philosopher Allen Buchanandescribes the appealing nature of a decent minimum, while rejecting the notion thatindividuals have a universal moral right to this minimal level of care. Instead, he believesthat it is a societal duty to establish such a decent minimum, not as an egalitarian right butrather in the name of beneficence. He then offers an alternate strategy in which hepresents arguments for special rights, harm-prevention, prudential measures, andenforced beneficence to justify a decent minimum without the universal right claim(Buchanan). In this paper, I will address and disprove each of these arguments in order todemonstrate that Buchanan’s strategy to justify a decent minimum of health care throughsocietal duty is neither rational nor effective.Buchanan begins his paper with the assumption that “there is (at least) a right to adecent minimum of health care” (Buchanan). Despite the attractiveness of this claim,
2Buchanan argues that a decent minimum could never be put into practice unless it iswarranted by a defensible and coherent theory of justice. However, he holds that none ofthe existing theories of justice provide a solid foundation on which to argue any universalright to health care. He goes on to support this position by making a case against the mostimportant theories, including utilitarian arguments, Rawlsian ideal contract arguments,and an equal opportunity argument by Normal Daniels. Under a utilitarian system ofjustice, Buchanan reasons that such theory would fail to provide a decent minimum ofcare to everyone, and that those incapable of providing social utility may be denied eventhe most minimal access. He denounces Rawls’ ideal contract theory on the grounds ofambiguity, as it fails to establish content for the decent minimum beyond the intuitiveagreement that it is a right. Similarly, he finds Daniel’s equal opportunity invalid forfailure to adequately define the “normal opportunity range” that the decent minimumwould uphold (Buchanan).