Is There a Human Right to Health?<sup>1</sup>

Adina Preda

in Health Inequalities and Global Justice

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780748646920
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780748676682 | DOI:
Is There a Human Right to Health?1

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This paper aks whether a universal moral right to health, that is a certain health outcome, can be justified. I argue that a human right to health rather than health care, has no sound basis. I start from the assumption that a universal right to health can be justified if we can consistently argue for global equality in health outcomes. I examine some egalitarian acounts of justice in health and I conclude that the rights that follow from such an account seem to be rights to goods other than health. This is because equality in health requires equalising the factors that determine one's health, which encompass a very wide range of areas; this means that focusing on health in an egalitarian theory gives yields no right to health but only rights to health care. I further show that this conclusion is supported by a perspective that focuses on rights. To this end, I argue against the argument put forward by Onora O’Neill that positive rights cannot be universal human rights. Against O’Neill, I contend that this is a normative rather than a conceptual problem that only affects overdemanding rights such as rights to certain outcomes.

Keywords: human rights; health; luck egalitarianism; imperfect duties

Chapter.  7361 words. 

Subjects: International Relations

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