The Human Right to Health Care: A Distributive cliché
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
The universal human right to health care is a cliché that is frequently invoked by politicians and various activist groups to express the idea that inequalities in the distribution of medical resources are unjust. These disgruntled social reformers are largely uninformed about the true nature of human rights, claiming that any society in which some citizens go without comprehensive medical services is institutionalising immorality by violating Article 25 of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Such uninformed and exaggerated claims only serve to distort the public conception of human rights, obscure the legitimate demands of social justice, and impose unrealistic expectations on health care systems of limited resources. In this paper, I intend to uncover the true meaning of the universal right to health care, ultimately rejecting the commonly held notion that inequality in the distribution of medical resources necessarily entails a violation of human rights. In Chapters One and Two, I dissect the notion of human rights in order to further define Article 25, discussing any moral and practical implications the acceptance of this right has for both the individual and society. Chapters Three and Four concern the just allocation of health care resources within society, in accordance with the right to health care, and will assess appropriate distributive principles for the health care institution.