Obligation is defined as an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment. Society is defined as the community of people living in a particular country or region and having shared customs, laws, and organizations. Does society have any obligations to its general members. There is always some kind of debate about this, which leads to the subject of the welfare state. In my view society should be obligated to make sure that everyone has shelter, food and clothing. No one should be hungry or cold or exposed to the elements. It seems like a simple obligation, and really does not seem all that noble. It should be something that is easy to accomplish. However, throughout the world people are hungry, homeless, and die from exposure to harsh conditions. Obviously society has failed miserably in meeting these 3 rather simple obligations. Despite these failings, society has taken upon itself another perceived obligation. The obligation that everyone should receive proper medical care. Of course society has also failed at this, but should it even be an obligation.
When you look up the basic human rights, food, clothing, shelter, and medical care are not even mentioned. At least not until 1948, when the United Nations got involved, and drafted a Universal Declaration of Human Rights. There were 30 articles affirming an individuals rights. It was in those articles, that food, clothing, shelter and medical care, became basic human rights. Should medical care be a human right. The fact that this human right, was first advocated by the United States, is rather ironic, since we are one of the few countries, that do not have a national health care system. Despite this, or maybe because of this, Americans pay the most for health care, with our current health insurance system. Even though the government is more involved with our health care, we are far from having a universal health plan. Health Insurance is nothing more than a form of socialized medicine, where the many, pay for the few. Since the United States is a free enterprise system, which is based on supply and demand, why isn’t the medical profession part of the economic system. If the medical profession was held to the rule of supply and demand, health care costs would probably plummet. Surgeries and hospitals stays would cost around ten thousand dollars, instead of 30 thousand dollars. People may start to take better care of themselves, if they knew that they would have to foot the bill for their own medical care, and not be subsidized by an archaic health insurance system. Medical care for children should be an obligation of society. When the child becomes an adult, then that is when the obligation stops. Once the medical profession has to charge what the market will bear, then medical care would become much more affordable. Those that do not plan for their medical care, simply would get palliative treatment, to alleviate pain. As long as medical care is going to be considered a God given right, then there is no incentive to make it more affordable, whether it is managed by the government or insurance companies. Once people are required to pay for their own medical care, then possibly society will be able to finally meet its responsibility of providing everyone with food, shelter, and clothing. Once that obligation is met, then maybe society will be able to provide medical care for everyone. I would not hold my breath.