Inside Scope on Medical Truths: Does Every American Deserve Healthcare?


Donya Forst, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome back Cougars! This semester, I’m going to share with you some important and controversial issues in healthcare. These are issues that do easily present right or wrong answers. They may even raise more questions than concrete answers.

Everyone is going to have his or her own opinions on the ethics surrounding these issues. I welcome you to share those opinions with me by email or our website, I look forward to hearing from you!

This week, I want to raise an issue that was brought up during one of my classes, and it honestly left me dazzled. I had to think about it for a while before I even fully understood the question, never mind come up with an answer. The question was: Does every American deserve healthcare?

That question isn’t whether the government should pay for it or if it should be free to all United States citizens. It is whether it is morally okay to deny someone healthcare for any imaginable reason? Is there ever a time when someone should be denied the right to see a doctor or provided with care they need?

Of course, as a medical imaging major, my immediate response was yes, no matter what, everyone deserves the right to have healthcare if needed. Wouldn’t it be wrong to turn someone away if they need a procedure to stay alive?

I was shocked by the response of the class. More than half of students said that no, not everyone deserves healthcare. They offered many reasons, but the two most prominent answers were cost and imprisonment. These are both valid reasons, but let me play devil’s advocate for a moment.

Isn’t it morally wrong to turn someone away because they cannot afford care? Children are born every day with heart and other organ defects that require numerous surgeries to correct. These surgeries are costly, without a doubt. However, without these procedures, the newborn would die. Children do not get to choose their parents, so why is it fair to punish the child if parents cannot afford to pay for their care?

Some people might say, ‘if it’s for a child, it’s okay,’ but what about someone who simply lives on unemployment and doesn’t to find work or otherwise help him or herself? Even after hours of personnel debate, I’m still not even the slightest bit sure that it’s morally correct to refuse this person healthcare. This is a person. In my opinion, they still deserve care. Doctors and medical professionals take an oath to save people, and by refusing care because of financial reasons, aren’t they rejecting everything they believe in?

The imprisonment issue is where things get a little messy. Does a person who commits a severe crime deserve a harsher penalty in terms of healthcare? Should someone who committed a misdemeanor be treated differently than someone who committed murder? In my opinion, yes, they should be treated differently in terms of sentence and parole, but in terms of healthcare, they deserve equality.

Both people are humans and have families and other people who care deeply about them. And isn’t denying them proper healthcare because they are confined or they committed a crime putting their life on the line as well? How we you say what they did is wrong if we are going to do the same thing to them?

Sometimes there is more than one truth. Everything is open to interpretation. That’s what makes issues like these so interesting to discuss, even if in the end, there isn’t a common solution.