Healthcare: Right or Privilege? - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  1095 Words
Date:  2023-01-24


To determine whether healthcare is a right or a privilege, it is essential to first of all mention that spending on healthcare is affected by two significant variables; a person's income or socioeconomic status and the wealth of the nation ('Macroeconomics and public health', n.d.). Consequently, health has been described as a private as well as a public decision ('Macroeconomics and public health', n.d.). Consequently, each person, as well as the nation, need to adjust their expenditure on health depending on changing socioeconomic dynamics.

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I want to argue that healthcare needs to be the right of all people rather than being a privilege of a few people who can afford it. This is because if healthcare is left to be regulated by market forces and to be a privilege, many people will not access quality healthcare. For instance, because healthcare is not currently a right for all the citizens of the United States, about 36-45 million Americans are underinsured or uninsured (Donaldson, 2017; Novak, Williams-Parry, & Chen, 2017). Most of the uninsured and underinsured individuals cite the high cost of premium and care as some of the critical factors affecting their decision not to apply for health insurance (Donaldson, 2017). Specifically, in 2017, 45% of adults who lacked medical insurance reported the high cost of insurance as an impediment to achieving coverage (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018).

Most of those who are uninsured are unemployed or are undocumented immigrants who are ineligible for Marketplace coverage or Medicaid. These individuals are also from low-income families (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018). Consequently, I believe that by making healthcare a right, there is an increased likelihood that the socioeconomically vulnerable populations will be able to get the medical treatment they would have otherwise missed if healthcare was a privilege. Additionally, I firmly advocate for the need to make healthcare a right because of the currently existing racial disparities in access to healthcare. For instance, African-Americans are more likely to be uninsured than their non-Hispanic Whites counterparts (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018). Because of this, it is crucial to make healthcare a right to ensure that individuals from all racial or ethnic backgrounds have equal access to healthcare.

Moreover, I believe that healthcare should be a right because uninsured people are currently receiving worse access to care than individuals who are insured (Charles & McEligot, 2018; Markt et al., 2016; Nguyen & Sommers, 2016; Popescu et al., 2017). For example, in 2017, 20% of uninsured adults did not receive the needed medical care because of the high cost (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018). These individuals have also been reported to have a lower likelihood of receiving preventive care and services for major chronic diseases and health conditions than their insured counterparts (Kaiser Family Foundation, 2018). Because of this, I support the need to make healthcare a right to ensure that the socioeconomically disadvantaged obtain proper medical attention.

Macroeconomic Principle and Interpretation Based on my View on Healthcare as a Right

One of the macroeconomic principles that I want to explain and interpret based on my view that healthcare should be a right is economic output. Economic output refers to the study of goods and services produced by a national economy (Mankiw, 2014). Right to healthcare affects economic output or productivity through its impact on the labor market. The benefits of providing healthcare to all the citizens, regardless of their socioeconomic status and their race or ethnicity, is seen through three dimensions of the labor market, i.e., labor market participation, productivity and human capital (Darvas, Moes, Pichler, & Myachenkova, 2018).

First, it is worth noting that an individual's decision to provide labor (supply of labor) is affected by his or her health status (Darvas et al., 2018). That is, a sick person might be prevented from entering the labor market, may prematurely exit the labor market, or may die. When people are excluded from the labor force due to sickness, there is foregone output. Consequently, the provision of free healthcare to citizens is highly likely to lead to reduced sickness-induced inactivity (Darvas et al., 2018). This translates to an increased supply of labor, thus resulting in improved economic output. However, Darvas et al. (2018) noted that while increased expenditure on healthcare may lead to the enhanced health status of the citizens, an advanced welfare state decreased the incentives to work.

Secondly, a person's labor productivity is affected by his or her health. Labor productivity refers to output per hours worked (Bruno, 2016). A person's health status is a crucial determinant of his or her output and hours worked. When an individual is sick, there is decreased productivity during working hours. This is because sickness reduces an employee's ability to focus on his or her activities and increases workplace absenteeism that may result in the need for retraining (Darvas et al., 2018). Consequently, in the presence of free healthcare, there is increased labor productivity. Lastly, the right to healthcare results in increased human capital through improved employability and reduced the likelihood of early retirement (Darvas et al., 2018).


Bruno, D. (2016). One currency, two Europes: towards a dual eurozone. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific.

Charles, S. A., & McEligot, A. J. (2018). Racial and ethnic disparities in access to care during the early years of affordable care act implementation in California. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 16(1), 36-45.

Darvas, Z., Moes, N., Pichler, D., & Myachenkova, Y. (2018, August). The macroeconomic implications of healthcare. Retrieved from

Donaldson, K. (2017). Improving access to resources for the medically uninsured and underinsured. Retrieved from

Kaiser Family Foundation. (2018). Key facts about the uninsured population. Retrieved from

Mankiw, N. G. (2014). Principles of macroeconomics. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Markt, S. C., LagoHernandez, C. A., Miller, R. E., Mahal, B. A., Bernard, B., Albiges, L., ... Sweeney, C. J. (2016). Insurance status and disparities in disease presentation, treatment, and outcomes for men with germ cell tumors. Cancer, 122(20), 3127-3135.

Nguyen, K. H., & Sommers, B. D. (2016). Access and quality of care by insurance type for low-income adults before the affordable care act. American Journal of Public Health, 106(8), 1409-1415.

Novak, P., Williams-Parry, K. F., & Chen, J. (2017). Racial and ethnic disparities among the remaining uninsured young adults with behavioral health disorders after the aca expansion of dependent coverage. Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, 4(4), 607-614.

Popescu, I., Heslin, K. C., Coffey, R. M., Washington, R. E., Barrett, M. L., Karnell, L. H., & Escarce, J. J. (2017). Differences in use of high-quality and low-quality hospitals among working-age individuals by insurance type. Medical care, 55(2), 148-154.

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