Department     College of Asia Pacific Studies
   Position   Professor
Language English
Publication Date 2012/09
Type Bulletin of university, Research institution
Peer Review Peer reviewed
Title Health security and the human right of access to affordable healthcare
Contribution Type Single Work
Journal Proceedings, 13TH Asian Bioethics Conference Concurrent with the Sixth UNESCO Asia-Pacific School of Ethics Roundtable Bioethics and Life: Security, Science and Society
Volume, Issue, Page 1(1),pp.114-120
Details Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights refers to “the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including … medical care …” and also “the right to security in the event of … sickness, disability, …, old age, …”. This article also entitles mothers and children to “special care and assistance”. Ensuring access of almost every individual living in a country to the needed medical care usually depends on the provision of health insurance coverage to a population pool and gradually expanding the pool to the whole population. Governmental, social, private, and community-based healthcare coverage are four general models that have been used in different countries with varying details in the sources of funding, pooling of contributions, and the purchase of the covered healthcare services. These models have had varying levels of success depending on not only the availability of funds, domestic or foreign assistance, but also on the political commitment of the state, and the social solidarity and cultural attitudes of the population towards universal healthcare. This presentation provides a summary of the worldwide situation of healthcare coverage and then discusses the socio-cultural stance of the people as well as the political commitment of their governments regarding access to healthcare. The ethical perspective of pooling resources across various groups of people in a population who have different levels of income, as well as different health risks associated with age, genetics and lifestyle, is discussed in the context of individual autonomy versus social solidarity. It is hoped that a cross-cultural discussion of the various options and choices can help with the identification of the necessary steps for implementing article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.