The Polka Dotted Philosophy Hippo

Is Universal Health Insurance a Civil (or Claim) Right?

Jennifer Leslie Torgerson

11 September 2009

Edited 16 April 2015


Is universal health care insurance a civil (or claim) right?

FACTS (background & important terminology):

[In 2009} The U.S. House of Representatives has proposed HR 3200 or the “America’s Affordable Health Choices Act” which will attempt to insure every person in the United States.

What is a righdeclaration-of-independence[1]t? There are different categories of rights, such as natural rights (granted to humans by nature or God) and civil rights (natural rights, &/or other important rights, that are protected by the authority of a state or government).  A right is a justified claim to protect an individual’s important interests, such as life, liberty, and property.


Some argue that everyone ought to have access to health care (and insurance for same), universally, regardless of their ability to pay, and that it is the society’s obligation to provide the same manner and quality of care to everyone, equally. In the current health care debate, some argue that health care (and insurance for same) is a right that ought to be protected by the state and thus health care is a legal or civil right.

Those who argue that health care is a claim right, in that some individuals have a right to make a claim against others more fortunate, is by virtue of the fact that the poorer individuals are not financially able to pay for their own health insurance or health care (or alternately, they cannot afford as much as those more fortunate). Those with more wealth in society not only have a moral obligation or necessary duty to help others pay for health care, but those less fortunate have a claim right to such that the state ought to secure for them. Although there are government programs to assist the poor, some argue that such programs are not sufficient to help all those who may have a claim right to health care insurance.


There isn’t a natural right to be healthy. Giving everyone an equal share of the health care experience will not be true justice. Not everyone needs health care equally. What of those that require more than the average ration of care; some require more health care, and some need less, thus some are a greater risk to insure than others by virtue of their particular circumstances. There are government programs to assist those individuals deemed to be impoveWe The Peoplerished (or poor) already, and those that can afford to do so have a responsibility to pay for their own health care insurance.  Individuals do have a right as well as a responsibility to manage their own health concerns and affairs.

Some argue that the federal government does not have the authority to legislate universal health care (as such legislation is a violation of the 10th Amendment), and that such decisions are best managed at the state or local level. Others do not want any form of government intervention into health care decision making and argue that all health decisions are a private matter between an individual and their doctor, and that the state’s over-regulation is a violation of the commerce clause of the Constitution of the United States.

Is Universal Health Insurance a Civil (or Claim) Right?

NO:  Universal health insurance coverage is NOT a civil (claim) or right.

What do you think?

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