Introduction: Legislating and Litigating Health Care Rights Around the World
7 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2008
Date Written: Winter 2005
The collection of essays in this issue illustrates the breadth of knowledge to be gained from examining approaches to legislating and litigating health care rights and experiences across several national jurisdictions.
The emphasis is on rights to publicly-funded health care and the struggle to determine a just allocation of public resources in countries as diverse as New Zealand, Israel, Canada, South Africa, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The issue of rationing health care in publicly-funded systems receives is examined. There are also insights for health care systems with more private funding, such as the United States system, where both private and public payers are increasingly looking to ways to legitimately ration or prioritize access to health care even if it is only for the purpose of expanding profit margins.
The respective roles of government and the courts play out differently in different contexts. However, the potential of the courts to improve fairness within a system and to reduce inequalities through interpretation of existing legislation manifestly exists in all of these jurisdictions. Their will to do so may depend upon the extent to which they can be persuaded of the legitimacy of their role in this regard. Thus, the examples of courts taking on this role in other jurisdictions may prove more than just of academic interest.
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