Health Care Analysis

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 330–340 | Cite as

A Progressively Realizable Right to Health and Global Governance

  • Norman Daniels
Original Article


A moral right to health or health care is a special instance of a right to fair equality of opportunity. Nation-states generally have the capabilities to specify the entitlements of such a right and to raise the resources needed to satisfy those entitlements. Can these functions be replicated globally, as a global right to health or health care requires? The suggestion that “better global governance” is needed if such a global right is to be claimed requires that these two central capabilities be present. It is unlikely that nation-states would concede these two functions to a form of global governance, for doing so would seriously compromise the authority that is generally included in sovereignty. This claim is a specification of what is often recognized as the “sovereignty problem.” The argument of this paper is not an “impossibility” claim, but a best guess about whether the necessary conditions for better global governance that supports a global right to health or health care can be achieved.


Progressive realization Right to health Sovereignty problem Entitlements to health or health care Global governance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Global Health and Population, Chan School of Public HealthHarvard UniversityBostonUSA

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