A product is something of value to a person, while a right is an entitlement that must be exercised regardless of the circumstances. The approach one takes to whether healthcare is a right or a commodity determines whether healthcare is a right or a thing. Those who argue that healthcare is a service say that it belongs in a market, with market factors determining healthcare costs based on the standard of care provided and the level of expertise required. The scope of the medical care sought, as well as the medical facilities and medications used to treat the patients (Sturgeon 406). The second party, which claims that healthcare is a right, claims that every person has an entitlement to quality healthcare, thus, an obligation by the government to ensure that quality of healthcare that it provides to its citizens is universal and of high quality. However, healthcare is commodity
The personnel, that is, the doctors, laboratory technologists, nurses, home caregivers and the medical researchers have the freedom of labor. The freedom is labor is premised on the profit reward that they receive from their clients. The government recognizes the two concepts and often offers to subside the cost that one has to spend to access healthcare (Sturgeon 408). The subsidy is usually in the form of the government-sponsored health insurance, the training of doctors and the grant to the purchase of medical equipment that is utilized within the health sector.
The affordable care for all in the health sector has often proved to be a challenge owing to the approach of the government. The government asserts that every citizen has a right to quality healthcare; thus, asserting that everyone can access quality medical service despite his or her ability to pay for the services. However, the approach of healthcare as a right is often limited to the service that is offered to the patient by the medical practitioners. There is need to establish that quality healthcare is a comprehensive process that rakes in the pharmaceutical sector. The sale of medicine is purely based on an economic model where the pharmaceutical companies have the discretion to set the prices of their medication (Tonkens, et al. 371). Such has to be passed directly to the patient. Therefore a patient without the financial capability to purchase the drug has the least likelihood to access quality healthcare.
The model that the government utilizes, therefore, has to change. There is need to determine the cost of healthcare based on the epidemiological data and the data from the various health facilities on the most preventable diseases. The value ought to be used to determine the insurance premiums that will enable them to access treatment for the prevalent conditions. However, designing of the premiums without having a consultative forum with the hospital management is only meant to subsidize the cost of healthcare and leave the patient to foot the costs of the additional services that they have to seek from the hospital (Tonkens, et al. 373). Therefore, healthcare is a commodity that is mainly driven by a price tag that is solely set by the players within the health sector.
The provision of healthcare services to the public requires resources. The resources are both human and financial. Just like any other market, the funds are often limited, thus, the need to economic and ensure that every citizen has access to quality medical care. The patients usually have the discretion of making popular consumer choices. The choices are often in the form of going to the public or private hospital, hiring a private consultant, selection of the regular ward or specialized wards and the choice of the medical insurance that one may wish to take up.
Patients often need knowledge of what they are doing when they engage in seeking a medical insurance to cover their medical costs. The experience that they need should help them in the selection of medical insurance has relatively low premiums it includes most of the chronic and prevalent infection to grant the patient value for money (Elwyn and Elliott 978). Furthermore, doctors behave like other professionals who are in business. The rates of a doctor are often dependent on his or her level of qualification and the brand that he or she has created. For example, a doctor who is credited for successfully conducting complex operations charged higher consultation fees compared to a general medical practitioner.
Notably, health care is a precious commodity that one cannot do away with. There are moments when one cannot shop for medical services, such as treatment for stroke, when he or she has just got attacked. The first level of care that a patient gets to access is often the last resort for him or her to ensure that he or she receives the quality treatment that he or she may wish. However, for the mil diseases such as a headache, one may shop around for the cheaper hospital that they can afford.
Some legislation in the United States points to healthcare being a right rather than a commodity. The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act establish that a patient has a right to receive emergency medication irrespective of their ability to pay up for the medical services. However, there is need to determine that the medicines and the medical equipment that are to be used when attending to the patient have to be bought at a cost that is incurred by either the patient, hospital management or government. Therefore, hospitals have to operate within a market efficient structure whereby the revenue that they generate must be more or commensurate with the expenses that they incur regarding the medication and medical equipment that they have to buy.
In conclusion, healthcare is a precious commodity. Though everyone has the right to demand quality healthcare, there is a cost that is attached to the health services that one seeks. The expenses are oft spread to the health premiums that one has to pay. Healthcare as a commodity is based on the realization of doctors charging consultation and service feed to see their patients. Charging of patients for the equipment and medicine further affirm why healthcare is a commodity (Gabe, Kirsten and Michael 628). However, legislation such as Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act provides that every citizen has the right to treatment despite their ability to afford the cost. However, leaving the healthcare sector to the market forces would lead to many people not getting access to quality healthcare. There is need to always consider the people with preexisting medical conditions and the need to ensure that they have fair access to quality medication to manage their chronic diseases.
Elwyn, Glyn, and Elliott Fisher. “Higher Integrity Health Care.” Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes 7.6 (2014): 975-980.
Gabe, Jonathan, Kirsten Harley, and Michael Calnan. “Healthcare choice: Discourses, perceptions, experiences and practices.” Current Sociology 63.5 (2015): 623-635.
Sturgeon, David. “The business of the NHS: The rise and rise of consumer culture and commodification in the provision of healthcare services.” Critical Social Policy 34.3 (2014): 405-416
Tonkens, Evelien, et al. “Pretenders and performers: Professional responses to the commodification of health care.” Social Theory & Health 11.4 (2013): 368-387