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Comment & Response
April 4, 2017

The Right to Health Care

Author Affiliations
  • 1Editor in Chief, JAMA, Chicago, Illinois
JAMA. 2017;317(13):1378. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.1866

In Reply As Dr Lenchus suggests, precise language is important. Terms like health, health care, health care access, and health care coverage can be confusing. The ultimate goal for all individuals is improvement in their health, defined by the World Health Organization as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.1 Health care coverage provides the ability to see a clinician because of some form of insurance and is only one step in that process, but a critically important one. It is unlikely that any physician, politician, or insured individual would voluntarily surrender health care coverage. I agree with Lenchus that health is a shared responsibility, and part of that responsibility is to contribute financially to a health care system in times of health, so that in times of illness, health care coverage is available.

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