Healthcare is and should be considered a fundamental right. This implies that healthcare should be universally accessible to all human beings. As such every individual has the right to access the highest standards of both mental and physical health and medical services. This entails access to adequate food, healthy working conditions, a clean environment, and decent housing. As such, healthcare should be provided as a public good to everyone in an equitable manner. Therefore, doctors, physicians, and medicines should be accessible, available, and of acceptable standards of quality (Gruber, 2011).
The US is one of the countries that have taken significant strides towards appreciating the value of healthcare as a human right. Despite the fact that healthcare is not recognized as a human right in the constitution and the bill of rights, it has its origins in the foundation of the constitution that the country is founded on the principles of life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. Health is one of the values that promote life as well as enabling pursuit of happiness. In this regard, there are several steps that have been taken to promote the key components of healthcare as a human right. These components are universal access, availability, acceptability and dignity, quality, transparency, participation, and nondiscrimination (Gruber, 2011).
Universality implies that healthcare should be accessible to all persons. There has to be a comprehensive healthcare system in place to cater for the health needs of everybody. On the other hand, equity implies that healthcare resources must be distributed equally and without discrimination. Healthcare should be distributed equitably based on the needs of the people. Conversely, accountability implies that the healthcare system has to be accountable to the people it serves. Furthermore, the healthcare system must promote participation. Everybody must be allowed to participate in making critical decisions about their own lives through a public health system that guarantees everyones participation. Also, the healthcare system must meet the acceptable standards of quality. There have to be appropriate systems to control quality standards of healthcare.
Based on these components of healthcare as a human right, the US has instituted a wide range of reforms to ensure that healthcare is accessible to all. One of the most notable steps taken in this progress is the Affordable Care Act also known as Obamacare, which was introduced by the Obama administration. It is a federal Act of the United Stated signed in to law on 23rd March by President Barack Obama (Gruber, 2011). Full implementation of the statute will be done by 1st January 2014. The Act represents a major reform introduced in the health sector since 1965 when the Medicaid and Medicare Acts were enacted in to law. The main objective of the statute is to increase the quality as well as the affordability of health insurance, reducing healthcare costs for both the government and individuals and lowering the rate of uninsured citizens through expansion of both private and public insurance coverage
The Affordable Care Act is meant to ensure that every American has the right to access affordable, quality, and reliable healthcare. The Act demands that every American be part of a medical scheme that is subsidized by the government. The introduction of the Affordable Care Act has significantly boosted access to cancer treatment throughout the country. Secondly, there needs to be increased accountability in the health sector. This will help in guiding the process of resource allocation across the country.
Gruber, J. (2011). Health Care Reform: What It Is, Why It's Necessary, How It Works. United States: Hill and Wang.
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