Healthcare: Right or Commodity?

Behind the politics, potential success and costs of healthcare reform, there are the values it reflects and is meant to serve. For example, is healthcare a right or a commodity? If it is a right, what ought to be the terms of the debate, the missing provisions in a bill? If it is a commodity, how ought it or would it intersect with the public good? The seesaw between these two poles forms the basis of our conflict, one that seems to pervade how we think of any possible answers. At this point in American history, it is doubtful that a sufficient percentage of lawmakers or of the public would agree that healthcare is a right. Similarly, while the percentage of those opting for healthcare as a commodity could possibly turn out to be higher, it may also not be enough of a majority to resolve the fundamental disagreement. It could be that we’re not ready for the former and past the latter which may mean that we would need to find a way to make healthcare a right while preserving its being a commodity. The task, while it explains the many difficulties of the issue, may not be as much as a tall order as it sounds. There are many examples abroad and in the US, Medicare for one (it may be a government program, but the services are delivered through the private sector).