chapter  4
24 Pages

The Right to a Decent Minimum of Health Care

WithAllen E. Buchanan

A consensus that there is a right to a decent minimum of health care pervades recent policy debates and much of the philosophical literature on health care. There are at least three features widely associated with the idea of a right to a decent minimum which, together with the facile consensus that vagueness promotes, help explain its popularity over competing conceptions of the right to health care. First, it is usually assumed that the idea of a decent minimum is to be understood in a society-relative sense. Second, the idea of a decent minimum avoids the excesses of what has been called the strong equal access principle, while still acknowledging a substantive universal right. A third attraction is that since the right to health care must be limited in scope, it should be limited to the ‘most basic’ services, those normally ‘adequate’ for health, or for a ‘decent’ or ‘tolerable’ life.