Some countries have free health services. However, some people feel that those who live unhealthy lives – smoking, not exercising, being stressed, etc – should not receive free health services. Do you agree or disagree with this statement?
It is argued that people who adopt harmful lifestyles should not be included under service of free medical care. I disagree with this idea.
People who are in favor of this view may base their argument on the ground that those who live unhealthy lives tend to consume more medical resources than ordinary people. Smoking, sedentary lifestyles and excessive stress often lead to health problems. As a consequence, people with these lifestyles are more likely to go to the hospital to receive medical treatment. It does not seem to make sense for the government to be responsible for their own irresponsible choices.
However, I believe that excluding these people form free health services is against the principle of equality. In an enlightened age we live, all the people should be treated equally in terms of the right to enjoy public services. As we do not deprive slow or lazy children of the opportunity of receiving free education, it is unacceptable to close the door of public hospitals to smokers or couch potatoes.
Furthermore, it is difficult to decide what an unhealthy lifestyle is and whether an illness is caused by these lifestyles. For example, there is a big difference between a moderate drinker and an alcoholic, and alcoholics are also likely to suffer from diseases unrelated to drinking. Taking all certain occasions into account, the government may find it impossible to implement the policy regarding this issue.
To conclude, although the government may spend more money on people with unhealthy lifestyles, it is both unfair and impractical to keep them out of free health services.