Rights to Health Care in the US: Inherently Unstable

23 Pages Posted: 18 Feb 2012 Last revised: 15 May 2012

See all articles by David Orentlicher

David Orentlicher

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law

Date Written: February 16, 2012


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.

Keywords: health care reform

JEL Classification: I18

Suggested Citation

Orentlicher, David, Rights to Health Care in the US: Inherently Unstable (February 16, 2012). 38 American Journal of Law and Medicine 326 (2012); Indiana University Robert H. McKinney Law Research Paper No. 2012-11. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2006669

David Orentlicher (Contact Author)

UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law ( email )

4505 South Maryland Parkway
Box 451003
Las Vegas, NV 89154
United States

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