Free Essay: Is Healthcare a Right or a Privilege?

Published: 2023-02-11
Free Essay: Is Healthcare a Right or a Privilege?
Type of paper:  Argumentative essay
Categories:  Tax system Healthcare policy Public health Social issue
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 984 words
9 min read

Healthcare is fundamental to human life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) (2019), it is central to social wellbeing, which entails happiness as well as the economic progress of people. Everyone is entitled to quality healthcare without bias. However, the question of healthcare affordability creates a debate on whether it is a right or a privilege. Notably, many developed and developing countries are striving to offer universal healthcare where the citizens do not pay for it as it is considered as a right. The service is as not as free as it sounds since the enormous cost burdens the taxpayer. On the other hand, if it is termed as a privilege, then it means that some people will be able to access it while others will not. Based on the economic diversity among people, healthcare is more of privilege, especially to those who can afford it despite its expensiveness.

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A report done by Xu and his colleagues (2018) for WHO, revealed that the global economy spends most of its revenue on health accounting to 10% of the global gross domestic product. These statistics raise the concern of the affordability of healthcare services. The concept of affordability in healthcare refers to the ability or the willingness to pay for it (Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics (LDI), 2018). Therefore, as much as health is considered as a basic life commodity, there is also a concern that it is unfordable to most people. The lucky few end up affording for fewer quality services.

Indeed, healthcare is expensive; perhaps, this is the reason why many governments struggle to provide their subjects with a quality system. Most of the fatal diseases in the world are expensive to treat. Take an example of cancer, one of the world's top leading killer illnesses. According to Cancer Action Network (2010), cancer treatments are costly, with an estimation of about $4 billion. This amount is huge to people of lower-income whos re economic status is below the GDP. Besides, cancer death reports recording a significant number of people from lower social classes who are unable to afford the treatment (Cancer Action Network, 2010). The gap in the accessibility of cancer treatment objects the notion that healthcare is a right. It favors those who are economically stable and have the means to pay for the services.

Notably, if healthcare is a privilege, then society is divided into two, the privileged and the less privileged depending on the affordability of an individual. First, people in power are attended with the best healthcare provision. For example, American Presidents receive premier health insurance, which includes the country's best health benefits (Akhtar & Lansat, 2019). The same applies to the government officials who apart from being paid huge salaries also enjoy prestigious health benefits at the expense of the taxpayer. An excellent example is depicted in the Independent Parliament Standards Authority that guides how members of parliament (MPs) should be paid (House of Commons, 2011). It states that MPs are eligible for health insurances.

Additionally, people who are in the employment sectors enjoy health benefits packages that come along with their salaries. The Affordable Care Act order employers to pay for their workers' health benefits to avoid being charged (LDI, 2018). This aspect favors the employed individuals leaving out the unemployed, who are more likely to lack funds to pay for their health care. It implies that the jobless people are deprived of their rights to health since they lack the means to pay for the services.

The gap that concerns affordability of healthcare results in the springing of public and private healthcare centers. Governments tend to play their role in ensuring citizens' health through public hospitals, which they run. However, most of these institutions are unable to provide quality services due to limited services to many customers. According to WHO (2019, public hospital attract mostly people from lower classes thanks to their cheap fee. On the other hand, private hospitals are more advance in providing services since they are mainly concerned with attracting people to make profits. This revelation indicates that how people from certain social classes are privileged to access quality healthcare services while others are left out.

In conclusion, healthcare should be a right for everyone. However, with social classes' variation, this notion continues to be idealism. The reality is that it is a privilege to those who can afford to pay for it. Again, the introduction of insurance in the health sectors leaves a significant confusion dilemma. What happens to the people who cannot pay the insurances? It is evident that as the world is evolving so does the obtaining of healthcare. It is more of materialistic than an entitlement. It can be compared with people's diversity regarding the acquisition of wealth. The wealthy ones seem to be entitled to healthcare provisions due to their affordability capacities.


Akhtar, A. & Lansat, M. (2019). 17 Financial Perks of Being the President of the United States. Business Insider. Retrieved from

Cancer Action Network. (2010). The Costs of Cancer: Addressing Patients Costs. American Cancer Society. Retrieved from

House of Commons. (2011). Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. Retrieved from

LDI. (2018). What is "Affordable" Health Care? United States of Care. Retrieved from

WHO. (2019). Health and Development. Retrieved from

WHO. (2019). Countries are spending more on health, but people are still paying too much out of their own pockets. Retrieved from

Xu L., Soucat A., Kutzin J., Brindley C., Maele V., Toure H., Aranguren M., Li D., & Cherilova V. (2018). Public Spending on Health: A Closer Look at Global Trends. World Health Organisation. Retrieved from

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