Buchannan’s arguments to replace the “universal” right to a decent minimum of healthcare

In “The right to a Decent Minimum of Health Care”, Buchannan breaks down the controversial topic of the “universal right” approach to implementing healthcare. According to Buchannan, this notion of a universal right to a decent minimum is popular for three main reasons: the allowance of societal-relativity, the avoidance of strong equal access, and the attraction of the most basic services. Societal-relativity speaks on the direct, as opposed to inverse, the relationship between the amount of resources and standards of services. As more resources become available the standards of our healthcare services should rise. Strong equal access has its flaws in its stringency, either we all have very low healthcare for everyone or high standard healthcare despite the depletion of resources. It’s an unrealistic expectation that seems reasonable to want to avoid. Finally, the idea that we could achieve within our limits very basic services of healthcare for all people does become somewhat undesirable when its goals are “tolerable living”. I would have to interject for this last notion due to the fact that there is socioeconomic inequality throughout this country and “tolerable” for some may be miraculous for others so to assume “tolerable” as a description is inadequate is rather narrow-minded.

But what Buchannan wants to stress is that these factors are not enough to justify enforcing a decent minimum and he proposes new supporting evidence towards the idea. He believes his supporting arguments,  Special Rights, Harm prevention, and Prudential arguments, create a more adequate supporting theory in explaining why and also how we could achieve a decent minimum. Special rights involves specializing services for those who may have faced past institutional injustices in the healthcare realm, those who have been unjustly exposed to health risk, and those who have gone through major sacrificial instances such as service in the military. It makes sense to provide extra or possibly just more appropriate care to these protected classes. He then pushes the generally accepted idea of harm prevention, giving the examples of mass sanitation and vaccine, as a different way of achieving a decent minimum. He lastly brings forth the lesser morally cushioned idea that rides off the back of capitalism and that concerns keeping a work and defense force healthy enough to keep the economy and protection of this country stable. It’s a benefit that can be quantitatively measured and is hard to refute by those who don’t value health safety or empathetic reasoning quite as much. So his arguments overall make perfect sense.

However, I can’t say that his arguments are any more thorough in the fight for good healthcare. He combines his methods without putting an official name for them but they essentially support the same things as the declared universal right to a decent minimum. Even the point concerning specialized care is some form of the universal right to a decent minimum just simply with a prescribed context: all military participants need this all-encompassing specialized care. So, while I agree with his theories I support them as a supplement in addition to the current goals of a decent minimum.

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