Patient Rights

Health care is a polarizing topic in American life. While all other developed nations recognize basic health care as (to at least some degree) a human right, opinions in America range from health care as a responsibility (i.e., rationed health care; that is, provided only to those who can financially afford it) to health care as a basic human right (i.e., health care as equally accessible to all persons, regardless of income or other disparities).

Health care rationed on the basis of financial status – the current position of the entire Republican Party and Tea Party movements – does not recognize patient rights. Congressional Republicans in 2009 voted unanimously against the elimination of health care rationing on the basis of wealth, the central tenet of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Ironically, the Affordable Care Act was derived from a 1990s era Republican health care plan.

Fortunately, the successful enactment of the Affordable Care Act places human life above corporate profits, employing government subsidies to make health insurance accessible to some 35,000,000 Americans who otherwise could not afford insurance.

Patient Rights: A Primer

The American Medical Association and many other medical and health care advocacy groups support patient rights. The American Cancer Society and many other organizations operate according to a Patients Bill of Rights. In addition, the Affordable Care Act provides for expanded patient rights.

See links below for more information about how the medical community understands patient rights and the moral imperative of basic health care.

Stay Informed

ACA Patient Protections
American Medical Association
U.S. Patients’ Bill of Rights (Wikipedia)
Health Reform News (New York Times)
Ethics and the Health Care System

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