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Healthcare as a Human Right

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For decades people in The United States have fought for things they believe in, things they believe are basic rights for living. Although we have come a long way, there are still aspects on which we can improve on, one of these being healthcare. The United States follows the private healthcare system in which most Americans, “are either covered by their employers, covered by a private policy the policyholder purchases themselves or they go without coverage at all.” (Harverston 12). So what things can be done? Many believe this can be solved by having a type of universal healthcare system in which everyone would have an opportunity to receive the care they need. This brings up a big debate among people and government officials, should healthcare be a human right? This paper will discuss the arguments for and against healthcare as a human right within the United States.

For those who believe that healthcare should be a human right, the basic idea is that everyone in the country should be able to receive the care they need without the worry of financial obligations. They argue that this is a human right based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights created in 1948 by the General Assembly of the United Nations. Under Article 25 of the document, it states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including…medical care and necessary social services…”(United Nations). This is a valid argument because the whole purpose of having a United Nations is for Nations to come together and create peace with one another. If the majority of Nations felt that a person’s health was not important they would not have adopted this in their documentation. The majority of Nations have adopted this system already so why haven’t we? Another big argument for people who are pro healthcare as a human right is that it would prevent medical bankruptcy. In a CNBC news article, “researchers found that 66.5 percent of all bankruptcies were tied to medical issues” (Konish 3). This statistic is absurd, it’s more than half the cause for bankruptcy in the United States. This is an underwhelming statistic because, besides the basic self-care that is in our control, we have no control over accidents or health concerns that may occur. For example, if someone gets severely injured in a car accident and does not have the healthcare they are burdened with the bill. Having to worry about something like this when it’s out of your control seems to be unfair. Supports of this side also argue that having universal health care would save lives. In a Harvard study, “nearly 45,000 annual deaths are associated with lack of health insurance…”(Cecere 1). I can see why supports would be highly concerned with statistics like this and why they believe healthcare should be a human right, deaths based on the healthcare they can’t afford or simply do not have are extremely unfortunate. Overall supporters of this idea argue that universal health care should be and needs to a human right. Some of the reasons discussed were the basic written principals agreed upon through the United Nations, bankruptcy due to medical bills, and deaths caused by lack of healthcare.

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On the opposing side, many people who believe that healthcare should not be a human right ultimately argue that healthcare is one’s responsibility, not the government’s. In a debate between Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, Senator Paul states, “our founding documents were very clear about this, you have a right to pursue happiness but there’s no guarantee of physical comfort, there’s no guarantee of concrete items…”(Sanders). In other words, Senator Paul like many others argues that if you have a “right” to healthcare it means we should be able to force someone to provide aid if we want it and this shouldn’t be the case. In a sense, if we look at it from this perspective no one should be obligated to help others. Granted many people in the health industry do it because they like helping people but in reality, if we demand universal healthcare then we’re demanding and forcing others to do things for us. Another strong point on this side of the argument is that there would be a huge Doctor shortage. “Today, the United States is short about 16,000 primary care doctors…”(Mercer 11). Having a universal healthcare system would cause an influx of doctor shortage which is already a problem in the United States, this would cause wait times at hospitals to dramatically increase. With the shortage of doctors, we’d even run the risk of having a lower quality service due simply to the fact that doctors may have to rush through patients to assist everyone on a given day. In essence, the main argument on this side of the debate is that healthcare shouldn’t be a human right, it should not be implied or forced to be given.

From my perspective, I think we need a balance of both arguments. Yes, healthcare should be available to all but at the same time, we need to consider where the money would come from and where we’d get the extra doctors to care for all patients. It baffles me to think that some people can’t obtain medical care because of their income. It’s like comparing it to the necessities that we all need, food and water. If we’re hurt or in a life or death situation we should be able to at least get some sort of help without the burden of having to pay for an extremely large bill. Everything is expensive nowadays so why make living expenses or in this case medical expenses so far-fetched that not everyone can obtain them? I definitely see both sides of the argument but there needs to be changed for the healthcare system in the United States to be more beneficial to everyone.

This paper discussed the debate of whether healthcare should be a human right. Those who believe healthcare should be a human right argue that healthcare is a principal agreed upon through the United Nations, medical bills are the leading cause for bankruptcy, and that lack of healthcare cause many death in the U.S. Those against it argue that healthcare shouldn’t be a human right, it should be something earned and not forced to be given. This topic of debate has much room to grow but hopefully, with times it will take leaps of improvement to satisfy both sides of the argument.

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