There are many different things that people prioritize in their lives. Whether it’s their job, their family or their passion, the order that everyone places these are different for everybody; but health is usually seen as one of the top priorities, and if not, it very well should be. The United States of America, one of the leading countries today, does not have a free health care plan for their citizens. Being a Law, Society & Justice student, I thought that the health care plan debate would be interesting to discuss, with the United States upcoming 2020 election.
In this essay, I will be arguing as to why the utilitarian approach towards the universal health care debate is morally right. To prove this, I will be looking at this issue from both the deontological perspective, as well as the utilitarian perspective and compare them.
Deontologists believe that one’s actions is more important than the outcome (Brand, 2019). So, from a Deontological perspective, a Universal health care plan is a form violating others rights to pursue one’s own needs (Perry). They see it as taking other people’s money to help one’s self; some might say, this is seen as selfishness. To them, there is a difference between having necessities and rights. They can see someone’s necessity and offer charity by personally paying partially or all of one’s medical bills, but a necessity does not change the fact the medical care is a service and good provided by a third party (Perry). Deontologists criticize those who assume that medical care is a right because there would be no limit to this, as it would overcome the individual right of others. It would be impossible to have this right because the government would have to not only ration the care provided, but also confiscate a large sum of money from the public to pay for it, as well as use compulsion to force to provide it (Perry).
Utilitarians on the other hand, believe that morality is defined by the purpose that motivates one’s actions or by the end goal desired to be achieved (Brand, 2019). In other words, to them, the ends justify the means. According to this Teleological perspective, healthcare being a right would mean giving all citizens of a country access to medical care at the expense of all citizens through taxes, even if they do not all need to use medical services (Pettinger). They criticize the private health care system because they are profit driven and that their end goal is to make as much money as possible. In fact, the current American healthcare system is notorious for charging ridiculous amounts of money to patients, for example, charging someone 137 USD for an IV bag that costs under a dollar to make (Rosenthal).
The reason I brought this up for discussion is partially because I can currently relate to this issue. My grandmother who is 84 years old was recently admitted into a hospital for a life-threatening infection. Without the help from medical professionals, I do not know if she would be alive today. It made me, someone who is still so young, and who rarely goes to any health care professional, realize the importance of one’s health. After discovering all this information on the debate of universal or private health care, I must agree with the utilitarian perspective. This is because I do not deem it morally okay to inflate prices of treatment. I also think that the end goal of helping everyone justifies the health care taxes, as I would not want anyone to fear going to a health care provider due to its cost.
Brand, Sarah. “Utilitarianism.” Representation, Reporting and the Stories We Tell:
345-LPH-MS, Marianopolis College, 6 Sep. 2019, Westmount, Lecture.
Brand, Sarah. “Relativism.” Representation, Reporting and the Stories We Tell: 345-
LPH-MS, Marianopolis College, 30 Sep. 2019, Westmount, Lecture.
Perry, Mark J. “Health Care Is a Commodity, Not a Right – and Markets, Not
Government Are the Solution in Medical Care.” American Enterprise Institute, 13
Jan. 2017, https://www.aei.org/publication/health-care-is-a-commodity-not-a-right-
Pettinger, Tejvan. “Healthcare – Private vs Public Sector.” Economics Help, 17 Jan.
Rosenthal, Elisabeth. “As Hospital Prices Soar, a Stitch Tops $500.” The New York
Times, 2 Dec. 2013, https://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/03/health/as-hospital-costs-