Thomas H. Murray highlighted the five core American values that should be considered in planning health reforms in his introductory essay. These values are liberty, equality, justice, responsibility, and efficiency. Firstly, health care should not be imposed nor dictated that is why liberty is an important value for the health reform programs. Liberty can be considered as the freedom of the people to make their own choices in what health care they should face and freedom also for the providers to have their own gains from the transactions. While promoting liberty, the value of equality should also not be diminished.
They are not opposing values; rather equality means that everyone should have the equal chances of freely making their own choices. Justice, on the other hand, is broadening the idea of health care. With justice also comes the value of responsibility wherein there should be a universal participation and contribution in health reforms. Lastly, efficiency means that health reforms should take into consideration the quality and effectiveness of whatever plans are considered so that it would not be a burden to the economy and all people in need of health care would be addressed.
Liberty: Free and Equal by Bruce Jennings 1. Bruce Jennings defines the word liberalism as almost synonymous to freedom or autonomy in his essay entitled Liberty: Free and Equal. In this essay, he explored the significance of liberty as one of the core values that should be considered for health reforms. “Liberty is the fundamental value of American politics” and thus have important implications to political morality, constitutional law, public policy (Jennings, 2009, p. 1).
2. The author specifically discussed that this core value had been one of the weakness of former President Bill Clinton’s health care plans. The problem during Clinton’s time was that the reforms centered on issues of “individual liberty versus social equity” (Jennings, p. 2, 2009). This motivated social fear of people that they will not have their freedom of choice in what health care to avail or who will be the doctor to attend to you raised apprehension against the health reforms. Advertisements that are against Clinton’s programs highlighted what people could possibly lose from the reforms being planned and this contributed to the complete downfall of his term’s health care programs.
3. Jennings also discussed the difference of negative and positive liberty. These two types of liberty are in existence and should also be properly defined in order to understand how liberty should be applied in the health reforms. Negative liberty is defined as being “free from obstacles or constraints” and thus resulting to chance of making poor choices and decisions (Jennings, 2009, p. 3). An example of a negative liberty is the freedom of speech for it risks the possibility of committing mistakes in what would be expressed by a person.
On the other hand, positive liberty is defined as being “free to have options” and “empowered to make choices and realize personal goals” (Jennings, 2009, p. 3). For example, right to education is a positive liberty for it gives people choices that are good and rewarding. 4. In his essay, Jennings also discussed that the role of liberty in health reform planning could possibly change when two things occur. The first of this is that health reforms should be seen as “social preconditions of health” and second is when the lack of access to it would be seen as the compromising of liberty (Jennings, 2009, p. 3).
These two scenarios could change the role of liberty during health reform debates. 5. Based from the mistakes of the Clinton administration and the explanation of Jennings about the importance of the value of liberty in the drafting of health reforms, it is significant that in the proposal for health reforms today to reconcile liberty and equity. Liberty should be given a more proficient and applicable definition in order to diminish the risks of copying weaknesses of Clinton’s health reforms.