Equal Access to Healthcare: A Moral Imperative | 03 Oct 2023

Anil is a healthcare administrator overseeing a public hospital in a country with a mix of private and public healthcare systems. The public hospital he manages caters primarily to low-income individuals and families, providing essential medical services and treatments.

Recently, the government has introduced a policy aimed at enhancing healthcare access for marginalised communities by subsidising medical expenses at public hospitals. This policy is designed to improve healthcare equity and reduce the burden on lower-income individuals.

The policy, while well-intentioned, has resulted in an influx of patients from more affluent backgrounds seeking treatment at the public hospital to benefit from the subsidised services. The surge in patients has strained the hospital's resources, leading to longer waiting times, overcrowding, and compromises in the quality of care for the intended beneficiaries—the marginalised and low-income communities. At the same time, turning away patients based on their economic background goes against the principle of equal access to healthcare.

Should the hospital implement measures to deter wealthier individuals from utilising subsidised services, or should the policy be revised?