chapter  1
6 Pages

Equality and rights in medical care

WithCharles Fried

This chapter shows that to say there is a right to health care does not imply a right to equal access, a right that whatever is available to any shall be available to all. The slogan of equal access to the best health care available is just that, a dangerous slogan which could be translated into reality only if we submitted either to intolerable government controls of medical practice or to a thoroughly unreasonable burden of expense. The chapter argues that apart from a rather general commitment to equality and, indeed, to state control of the allocation and distribution of resources, to insist on the right to health care, where that right means a right to equal access, is an anomaly. For as long as our society considers that inequalities of wealth and income are morally acceptable, it is anomalous to carve out a sector like health care and say that there equality must reign.