Is there a right to health?

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 30 (6):643 – 662 (2005)
This article challenges the widespread contention - promoted by the World Health Organization, the U.N. Human Rights Commission, and certain non-governmental organizations - that health care should be regarded as an individual human right. Like other "post-modern" rights, the asserted individual right to health care is a positive claim on the resources of others; it is unlimited by corresponding responsibilities; and it pertains exclusively to the individual. In fact, an individual human right to health, enforceable against either governments or corporations, does not currently exist in law. If established, such a right would portend a dramatic expansion of government control over health care, with negative consequences for efficiency and patient welfare. Voluntary efforts based on partnership, rather than the imposition of legal requirements, are the most productive means of expanding access to health care while preserving incentives for continued development of innovative health technologies.
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DOI 10.1080/03605310500421413
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