WEEK 1 Discussion: Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege

WEEK 1 Discussion: Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege

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Imagine that it is late at night and you wake up suddenly, struggling to breathe. You realize immediately that your symptoms are severe—this is not a common cold. Unsure of what to do, you call a loved one who insists on driving you to a hospital emergency room. Assume, for the purposes of this example, that you are a U.S. citizen. While you are registering for emergency services, you notice a sign prominently displayed, declaring that you have the right to medical screening and stabilization in the case of emergency or labor, even if you do not have health insurance. This is a provision of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA), which you explore in more detail in this week’s reading.


You may be surprised to learn that Americans have no legal right to health care, as established through extensive legal precedent. In fact, EMTALA represents the only health care rights guaranteed to Americans.


The United States is one of the only high-income nations that does not guarantee health care as a fundamental right, and it is the only developed nation that has not implemented a system for insuring at least all but the wealthiest segment of its population against healthcare costs. . . . In terms of national constitutions, a 2004 survey reported that some two-thirds of constitutions address health or health care, and that almost all of these do so in universal terms. (Teitelbaum and Wilensky, 2013, p. 108)


However, according to the U.S. Census Bureau (2013), 15% of the U.S. population was uninsured in the years immediately preceding the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Therefore, except in specific situations (such as those regulated by EMTALA), 48 million people did not have access to health care. Furthermore, according to the same report, family income was strongly correlated to a family’s access to health care. Whereas 75.1% of families with an annual income less than $25,000 were insured, 92.1% of families earning $75,000 or more per year were insured.


These figures may trouble you from a social perspective, but remember that there are many stakeholders in public health. A patient’s perspective is but one of the many you must consider as a public health professional. In this Discussion, you explore whether health care is a right or a privilege.


Student Tips for Discussions


Academic discussions provide a forum to share insights with your colleagues as you encounter new content. Discussion supports a discovery learning experience that facilitates a deeper understanding of content from multiple viewpoints. To ensure that your contributions to the Discussion posts and responses are timely, relevant, insightful, and engaging, keep the following in mind as you post:


Be sure to review and follow the rubric for Discussion assignments.

Engage in the Discussion as early as possible and continue to post throughout the week.

Design your posts to elicit multiple points of view from your colleagues.

Validate your assertions with references to credible sources.

ADDRESS these points:

Post initial responses to the topic by Day 3. Do you believe that health care is a right or a privilege? What is the legal basis for your view? Draw from the readings to consider stakeholder interests (including, but not limited to, policymakers, public and private health care providers, and insurance companies). If you are an international student, you may want to consider local health care systems as you construct your post.

Support your work with specific citations from this week’s Learning Resources and additional scholarly sources as appropriate. Refer to the Essential Guide to APA 6th edition Style for Students to ensure that your in-text citations and reference list are correct.

RESOURCES for this Discussion:

Teitelbaum, J. B., & Wilensky, S. E. (2013). Essentials of health policy and law (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Chapters 1 and Chapter 6 ( I have attached the pdf of these)

American Public Health Association. (n.d.). Advocacy and policy. Retrieved May 12, 2015, from


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014b). Public health law news. Retrieved from


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012). Public health law 101. Retrieved from


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014c). Public health law program. Retrieved from


The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (n.d.-a). Retrieved February 5, 2014, from


Leppo, K., Ollila, E., Peña, S., Wismar, M., & Cook, S. (Eds.). (2013). Health in all policies: Seizing opportunities, implementing policies. Retrieved from

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. (n.d.). Health policy. Retrieved February 6, 2014

Chapters 1 and 6 of the book, will be attached in a pdf.


Read discussion questions and assignments/projects very carefully; be concise and stay on point

Be sure to address all parts of each assignment or discussion topic; you will lose credit if your posting or submission is incomplete.  Addressing each question in its own separate paragraph(s) is strongly recommended as a good way to organize your submission/posting and to ensure that you didn’t overlook anything.  Stay on point; irrelevant material will not earn you credit – in fact, quite the opposite.  Initial discussion postings should be no fewer than 250 words and no more than 400 words;   length parameters for written assignments/projects will be in the assignment directions.   If your postings or assignments are too brief, they will not provide sufficient detail and evidence.  If they are overly lengthy, it suggests that you really don’t understand the concepts.

Understand and avoid plagiarism


APA guidelines require you to cite whenever you borrow another’s thoughts or words – or use thoughts or words from your own previously submitted paper. This means even if you quote or paraphrase the text for six or seven consecutive sentences in a paragraph, you will need to be sure your citations make it clear where the material came from.   Failure to do so constitutes plagiarism – a very serious offense.  Before beginning your work for this class, go to “Academic Integrity” (in course menu/ navigation pane at left) and use the linked resources to learn how to avoid plagiarism and its serious consequences.  Also read the excellent “Mindful Writing” document posted (in “Doc Sharing” in the course menu/navigation pane at left).  The University Writing Center provides clear guidance on the correct way to paraphrase material – as well as to cite books, articles, previously submitted papers, Web material, electronic references, personal communications, etc.






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