Immunity of Volunteer Health Care Providers in Texas: Bartering Legal Rights for Free Medical Care Comment
Texas should not rely on Congress to cure the problem of indigent access to healthcare. Despite recent proposals to create a unified healthcare system, the United States continues to allow the welfare of its poor citizens to ride the wave of the free market. Unlike the U.S., several international declarations have acknowledged the inherent human right to healthcare including the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the United Nations’ adoption of the Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (The Covenant). Despite the recognition of a right to healthcare, there is still no international agreement on the particular obligations of states. While the U.S. has defined individual rights, the right to healthcare has never been defined as “fundamental.” Failure to define healthcare as a fundamental right has created a pure model of a private healthcare system. Society’s failure to adequately provide healthcare for individuals, specifically the poor, may result in a threat to public health. In Texas, a proposal for the immunity for volunteer health care providers, known as Good Samaritan legislation, provides limited liability for those healthcare workers who serve the poor. To provide healthcare for the poor, the U.S. should require volunteerism as a condition for licensing or have mandatory volunteerism as a requirement for medical school graduation. The U.S., founded on principles of individuality and freedom, has failed to regard healthcare as a fundamental human right, and the right to wellness should not be a right contingent upon economic status.