Consider some great controversial medical topics to read and write about. They are meant for the general public, not for medical students only.

Controversial Topics in Healthcare for an Essay

1. Is there a link between poverty and poor health? (How does poverty contribute to poor health?)

2. Is the cost of healthcare in the United States justified?

3. What drives the cost of healthcare in the United States? (Be informed that the state spends on healthcare much more than European countries but covers the smallest percentage of healthcare costs).

4.  Should there be an opt-in or opt-out donor system? Review of credible sources on the topic.

5. Should the state provide free health care to homeless people?

6. Should people be encouraged to turn to homeopathy first?

7. Should unconventional forms of medicine be part of national healthcare?

8. Should uninsured people be provided with any medical care?

9. Should there be criminal responsibility for medical errors?

10. Should doctors be allowed to promote particular medical products?

11. Should US hospitals provide a free translator to non-English speaking patients?

Controversial Topics in Medicine: Laws and Policies

12. Should euthanasia be illegal?

13. Should abortion be legal? (Browse this and other challenging topics surrounding abortion with recommended sources on each topic)

14. Should surrogate pregnancy be used on-demand or only for health reasons?

15. Is vomb transplantation a good alternative to surrogate pregnancy?

16. Should people with mental health issues be treated in or outside of the community?

17. Should children vaccination be mandatory?

18. Should people be refused organ transplantation for leading an unhealthy lifestyle? Review of credible sources on the topic.

19. Should the organ transplantation committee consider the patient’s personal details (marital status, children, accomplishments, personal qualities) when choosing what person will receive an organ? Review of credible sources on the topic.

20. Should doctors be required to report the cases of organ trafficking (when a person has a needed organ, even though he did not get it being on the national list)? Review of credible sources on the topic.

21. Should a doctor be able to provide medical care to a minor despite their parent’s wishes?        

controversial medical topics

Essay Topics on Policies and Practices that Affect Health of the Nation

22. Should marijuana/drugs be legalized?

23. What are the effects of TV shows concerned with diets and losing weight? (Do they motivate and inspire others or promote body image ideal and the related issues?)

24. Do TV shows portraying cosmetic surgery make people more inclined to refer to it? If yes, should they be banned?

25. Should TV commercials for alcohol/fast-food chains be banned?

26. Should the state regulate social media use to prevent its negative impact on mental health and social media addiction? (Find more ideas and sources for a social media essay)

27. Should there be state regulation of fast food chains?

28. How should the issue of obesity be treated: as a personal problem or as a public concern? (Should obese people be entitled to better healthcare coverage or additional days off?)

29. Can exercising worsen health?

30. Should teens be able to obtain birth control pills?

31. Who should decide whether to place an elderly in the elderly center: an elderly person himself/herself, children, healthcare specialist?

32. Should the state refuse to import the products, which were manufactured/obtained at the cost of someone’s health? (Consider pollution in China, child labor, etc.)

33. Should the state do more or less to make people lead a healthy lifestyle? Consider if such interference into personal lives is justified or no. Try to think about all the state does and can do, e.g. ban smoking and drinking under a certain age or in certain areas, ban advertisements and censor films promoting unhealthy lifestyle or unhealthy body image standards, establish more recreation zones easily accessible and attractive to people, educate people on the effects of the unhealthy lifestyle, … or instead invest the money in the economy as the higher economic level is associated with better health.        

Essay Topics on Medical Research

34. Should cloning/genetic engineering research be allowed? Review of credible sources on the topic. 

35. Can medical research pose a threat? If yes, what are the ways to mitigate it?

36. Should scientists work to make computers displace doctors? What can be the potential benefits/drawbacks?

37. Can animals be used to test drugs?

38. Should there be any limits to medical tests on humans?

39. Should more funding be allocated to practical research projects, which provide direct medical help to individuals, or the National Institute of Health dealing mostly with projects without immediate practical application?

40. Should scientists research options for people to become immortal? (Ray Kurzweil manufactures and takes himself hundreds of pills to delay aging and claims people will become virtually immortal soon).

41. If the research was able to provide a solution to one healthcare issue, what should it be? (a cure from cancer, AIDS, infertility, creation of organs from artificial materials/with the help of cloning, etc.)

medical debate topics

The Impact of Covid-19 on Doctors and Healthcare

42. Assess the decision of some countries to use undergraduate nursing students for Covid-19 response.

43. Is quarantine an effective measure? How to balance the need to halt the spread of the virus and the need for employment and socialization?

44. Has Covid-19 risen the need for global coordination of healthcare? How will respective policies change the national healthcare systems?

45. Do we need a dedicated global agency that would deal with Covid-19 and future pandemics?

46. Should doctors that leave their jobs not to deal with Covid-19 be not allowed to work in medicine again?

47. The impact of Coronavirus on a specific vulnerable population: the poor, homeless, people with mental illnesses, etc.

48. Issues surrounding vaccine testing. Is the French doctors’ suggestion to test vaccines in Africa a sound strategy or an act of racism?

49. Doctors have the highest mortality rate from Covid-19. What are the ways to decrease it?

50. Has Coronavirus given a boost to telemedicine? Is it a viable alternative to traditional consultations?

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Update notice: This post has been updated to include new reviews of useful sources and topics on Covid-19.

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