Rights to Health Care in the US: Inherently Unstable
Indiana University - Robert H. McKinney School of Law
February 16, 2012
38 American Journal of Law and Medicine 326 (2012)
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney Law Research Paper No. 2012-11
Although international covenants have long recognized a fundamental right to health care, and other countries provide health care coverage for all of their citizens, rights to health care in the United States have been adopted only grudgingly, and in a manner that is inherently unstable. While a solid right to health care would provide much benefit to individuals and society, the political and judicial branches of the U.S. government have granted rights that are incomplete and vulnerable to erosion over time.
Unfortunately, enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) does not change these fundamental weaknesses in the regime of U.S. health care rights. Millions of Americans will remain uninsured after ACA takes full effect, and rather than creating a more stable right to health care, ACA gives unstable rights to more people. As a result, the chief threat to health care access comes not from the constitutional challenges to ACA but from the potential for attrition of the rights that ACA provides.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 23
Keywords: health care reform
JEL Classification: I18
Date posted: February 18, 2012 ; Last revised: May 15, 2012