Dalhousie Law Journal


human rights, international law, health, care, Canada, litigation


International human rights law recognizes a right to health. A majority of domestic constitutions recognize health-related rights. Many citizens believe that they have a moral right to health care. Some theorists agree. Yet the idea of a right to health care remains controversial. Specifying the nature of such a right invites more controversy. Indeed, most models of the right face persistent problems that threaten to undermine the conceptual coherence of a right to health care. This article accordingly sketches preliminary arguments for a new, goal-oriented model of the right to health care. It explains that the model avoids most of the problems facing other models, explains the key insights of those competing models, is consistent with international law, and provides metrics for assessing fulfillment of the right. It then explains the model's potential relevance for future health rights litigation in Canada.