chapter  1
13 Pages

The Right to Health Care


What are we to think of this state of affairs? For those of a libertarian persuasion, premature mortality and untreated morbidity due to a lack of health insurance are viewed as “unfortunate but not unjust” (Engelhardt 1996, 1997). The world might be a better place were everyone’s health needs somehow met, but this, libertarians argue, is an issue of charity, not justice. Many others contend that lack of access and its contributions to ill health are indeed an injustice, a wrong perpetrated on the poor that cries out for political redress. For these critics, access to health care is a right, not a privilege underwritten by significant wealth.