<abstract language="eng">The health system reform that was carried out in Colombia in 1993 was based on neoliberal doctrine. That reform increased the inequity in the allocation of resources, access to health services, and the distribution of spending on health. Societal organizations, academic groups, health workers, and some members of the political sector in Colombia have opposed the neoliberal reform, and they have supported the right to health as an alternative for dealing with the inequities in the health sector. According to liberal theories, only civil and political rights are fundamental, and liberty is assumed to be only the freedom of process and the absence of coercive mechanisms. However, there are arguments that support the viewpoint that health is a fundamental human right. This piece analyzes some ethical and moral principles that can help establish the moral foundations for the right to health. Among these principles are equality of opportunity, that part of being free is for people to have the right to develop themselves as human beings, that the right to health is connected to the right to life, that all people deserve equal respect (which requires the equal distribution of goods and of societal responsibilities), and that liberty is the opportunity that all persons should have to carry out the plans that they have for their lives, as chosen from a variety of socially useful alternatives
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