One cannot apply the definition of fundamental to anything given by one to another, such as education, Free Healthcare or food. If it isn’t innate, it isn’t a “fundamental right.” Technically, however, health care is a human right as defined by the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The problem, as with most government documents, is interpretation.
Free access to healthcare is a fundamental human right. Access to free healthcare is not. What that means is no one should be denied access to healthcare services based on gender/race as long as they pay for the services. However as a morally responsible society, we decide to provide basic minimum services to everyone who needs them, so that they don’t struggle to merely survive.
The primary examples are food, shelter and clothing. However at the same time, to provide services to these citizens someone has to produce these services. So to provide food to the people, someone has to cultivate grains; to provide housing, someone has to build the houses. Thus we’ve another concept at loggerheads: cost of producing these services. As a society, the aim should be to ensure everyone has a basic minimum of services while compensating everyone for the services they provide accordingly.
The Problem of Supply
In essence, the cost of providing healthcare services is higher due to sophistication required. We need doctors to provide healthcare services who need to go through rigorous training for years to achieve skills to perform surgeries and examine patients, thus making them in higher demand in competitive marketplace increasing their costs. So while as a moral society we need to ensure no one is denied the basic needs due to lack of money including healthcare, we also need to ensure no one is forced to provide services (by law) for a lesser amount than their skills would allow according to the competitive free-market.
Can healthcare be universal with fairness to providers?
It’s a tricky economic question, but the best way to do it is not by meddling with providers of services but rather reducing the layers of middlemen involved who increase the cost of service. Industries whose services provided are based around monetary risks such as insurance in healthcare or finance in education. By which one doesn’t mean to monitor the profits of these middlemen sectors, but rather have alternate state-sponsored institutions where there aren’t any middlemen between the consumer and the producer.
Compensating providers is just a part of the net price; there are many other administrative costs as well. However the caveat should be the word basic necessities and defining what classifies as basic healthcare. Just like subsidized food wouldn’t entitle receiver to world-class biryani and caviar, subsidized healthcare wouldn’t mean world-class healthcare and free cure of cancer.
The higher the speciality, the higher the cost of hiring the doctor which comes from taxpayer’s pocket.
Even though free healthcare is not a fundamental right, as a morally responsible society we must take minimal responsibility to provide basic healthcare facilities to ensure no one has to face ordeal due to uncomplicated illnesses (which can be treated by a general physician) at subsidized/ free costs, while ensuring no provider is forced to deliver services at lesser than their skills mandate.