In “The Right to a Decent Minimum of Health Care”, Allen E. Buchanan argues the faulty premises of universal right being justifiable for a mandatory decent minimum policy in health care. First, he explains logically and coherently the attraction towards, not the reasoning for, a mandated decent minimum policy for healthcare by our rational thought. Next, he explicitly explains through the combined weight of arguments from special rights to healthcare, harm-prevention, prudential arguments, and enforced beneficence is sufficient enough for a decent minimum of healthcare. In his special rights to healthcare, Buchanan emphasizes that there be no individual right to health care but a societal duty relying on the actions of all.
Buchanan explains his three main reasons why a decent minimum policy seems to be a great idea at first glance. First, allocating resources from health care to other social policies would be a byproduct of health care having a decent, adequate minimum; as many prioritize health differently. It also stays on track with the societal obligation to help those in need and those of the less fortunate. Lastly, Buchanan exclaims that it is a floor beneath an individual, a safety net of some sort, to allow a person to put some priority on their health care. I agree with the second and third points of Buchanan’s interpretations of attractions towards the decent minimum policy; societal obligation and a safety net. However, his first point runs on the same assumption made by Alan Goldman, in which health and longevity are not priorities to a large majority of society. I would believe that most of our social policy expenditures are on health care and education to better ourselves as humans, so most of society would still spend money on a “higher level” of health care despite the decent minimum. This idea intertwines with the idea of individual autonomy, as the freedom to choose ideal personal health care is enhanced when nutrition is in its best form. Therefore, allocating resources would be a difficult task as this creates equal opportunity in such a case for those who do not prioritize health at such a high value. From an economic, realistic point of view, this may be exceeding the resources health care can provide and making the decent minimum policy less attractive.
In his suggestion to alter the decent minimum of health care, Buchanan argues the idea for special, not universal, rights to fit the definition of the decent minimum more effectively. Buchanan is attempting to enhance the decent minimum policy by disintegrating the vagueness of a universal right. He, once again, uses three primary groups of people that should receive a decent minimum policy. One group for those involved in a rectifying past or present of injustice, such as Native Americans. Another group for those who have suffered unjust harm or been unjustly exposed to harm by others. And a final group for those who have had exceptional sacrifices for the good of society, such as the military. I believe Buchanan does a great job transitioning to these arguments after explaining the counter of why a decent minimum seems but not is, a great idea. I agree with a more specialized right rather than a universal right, but, in my opinion, it seems to be specialized to the point of little to no effect depending on the requirements of the groupings. Also, it could be argued as discriminatory. With more details to his specialization, Buchanan effectively eliminates the universal rule to the decent minimum policy. Overall Buchanan is relying heavily on societal duty, through the sums of individual action, and aspiration of a decent minimum of health care. He fails to ensure and solidify his different approach to dividing health care for society, but does offer an interesting opinion.