In my last blog, I wrote about the indulgent culture of the country of Mexico. In the same lesson, I learned that North America, which is comprised of Canada, the United States, and Mexico have very different perceptions as well as a distinctive culture about the have and have nots. In this lesson about “Doing Business with Europeans,” I found it interesting to read that the continent of Europe, for the most part, has a set of principle themes in which all countries within the continent may share while keeping each country’s own cultural distinction. These shared beliefs, specifically for this discussion, are the interest in the quality of life at all societal levels, which is a controversial topic, especially in the current political climate (Moran, Remington Abramson & Moran, 2014).
In an article by Abbott, Wallace & Sapsford (2016), the authors write, “creating a society for all is a moral obligation, a commitment to upholding the human rights of everyone and creating just societies.” The notion that the European perception concerning the quality of life is for all levels of society is in sharp contrast with our country – The United States. According to van der Aa, Paulus, Hiligsmann, Maarse & Evers (2018), the moral judgment of who is deserving is reliant on who society wants to be solidaristic with. The who, in this case, is called an “agreed-upon individual” or better defined as those are eligible for access to collectively financed health resources. Resources such as Shared Health Insurance (SHI) (p. 1,2). The idea that a country can pull together their financial support to collectively provide for all is all too familiar in the United States with the hot topic of Medicare for All. Abbot, Wallace & Sapsford (2016) write that some of the most persuasive reasons to provide social inclusion or, in other words, quality of life at all levels of society are that those societies that do so are safer and more stable with high levels of productive employment.
The researchers, Christopher, M.D. & Caruso, (2015), wrote the article “Promoting Health as a Human Right in the Post-ACA United States,” in the Journal of Ethics in which they include a statement from the Constitution of 1946 for the World Health Organization. That statement is as follows: “enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health, is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity is one of the fundamental rights of every human being .” I interpret this statement as a quality of life at all societal levels. However, some will argue against this statement.
In the same article, the authors write that human rights are typically framed as negative rights. The 14th amendment essentially says that society cannot interfere with one’s right to life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws (“The United States Constitution: The 11th and Following Amendments”, 2020). So, again most rights are framed in the negative as in society can not interfere or “take away” this right. In the case of quality of life concerning health as a human right, the author’s state is a “positive” right and an obligation of society. In the U.S. case, the word “health” is in debate as to how it should be defined while in Europe where Shared Health Insurance is a reality, the discussion is on the definition of “agreed upon individual,” meaning who is eligible.
In conclusion, the quality of life at all levels of society seems at best utopian. Are we the moral judges of who is deserving of quality of life? I certainly do not believe that to be the case. Deciding as to who is and is not deserving is not something I want on my conscience.
Abbott, P., Wallace, C., & Sapsford, R. (2016). Socially Inclusive Development: The
Foundations for Decent Societies in East and Southern Africa. Applied Research In
Quality Of Life, 12(4), 813-839. doi: 10.1007/s11482-016-9491-6
Christopher, M.D., A., & Caruso, D. (2015). Promoting Health as a Human Right in the Post-
ACA United States. AMA Journal Of Ethics, 17(10), 958-965. doi:
Moran, R., Remington Abramson, N., & Moran, S. (2014). Managing Cultural
Differences (9th ed.). New York: Routledge.
The United States Constitution: The 11th and Following Amendments. (2020). Retrieved 18
April 2020, from https://www.aclu.org/united-states-constitution-11th-and-following-
van der Aa, M., Paulus, A., Hiligsmann, M., Maarse, J., & Evers, S. (2018). Varying
Opinions on Who Deserves Collectively Financed Health Care Services: A Discrete
Choice Experiment on Allocation Preferences of the General Public. INQUIRY: The
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