Whether it’s through the news or on the front lines of a protest, the phrase: “Healthcare is a human right” is something we hear a lot. But what does that mean? Why does it matter? And most importantly, what should and can we do about it? During the pandemic, healthcare has become even more of a priority. And as we have seen the healthcare system challenged and kind of broken, we are more aware than ever of the significance (and need) of reforming this system. If you’ve been keeping up with the latest coronavirus updates, then you might know that we still have a long way to go until we get “back to normal”. Even if we do get back to normal, our lives and the way we approach our health and healthcare have been permanently altered. Yet, many still doubt the need for healthcare reform and continue to challenge universal healthcare. It’s more important than ever to understand what integral role healthcare plays in every single person’s life. In this post, I plan to explore some of the aforementioned questions and hopefully discover how and if healthcare is a human right. If this is a topic that interests you, or you just want to learn more about health care or universal healthcare, then I recommend reading a couple of posts I wrote about healthcare, which I will also reference throughout this one. As always, I’ll include all my resources and further reading at the end of this post (you know the drill)
bias disclaimer. I like to start posts with a quick disclaimer or clarification, because I write many types of posts, from unbiased informational articles to opinion pieces or biased informational articles. This post does contain some of my personal opinions, but the facts (like any statistics or news reporting) are true. Please keep that in mind as you read.
quick overview. As I was researching and reading articles, I came across this assertion, “The United States does not have a health care system, only a health insurance system.”(click here to read the full article) Despite being the “birthplace” of the idea of universal health care (click here to read about the history of healthcare and FDR), the health care system is far from reaching the standard of ensuring healthcare as a human right.
what is a human right? The direct definition, straight off of the UN Human Rights section is, “Human rights are rights inherent to all human beings, regardless of race, sex, nationality, ethnicity, language, religion, or any other status.” To expand on that, they are rights that every single human being has and is entitled to, without discrimination. However, that does not mean that they are ensured everywhere. For example, although freedom of speech is a human right, there are many countries and laws in place that restrict that right or disregard it together.
what is universal healthcare? I wrote a very comprehensive, unbiased post about how universal healthcare works. In that post, there are even more resources for you, in case you want to explore the basics and background of universal healthcare. I also wrote a post about how universal healthcare affects jobs, which might seem a little random, but it’s a very common “myth” that goes around and in that post, I address the reality of it (using a lot of credible sources and information).
how does universal healthcare insurance play into this? Universal healthcare insurance is a way to recognize health care as a human right. To quote the World Health Organization, “the right to health for all people means that everyone should have access to the health services they need, when and where they need them, without suffering financial hardship.”
is healthcare a human right? While I believe that healthcare is a human right, not everyone thinks that this question is an about facts, but rather opinions. I think that I have provided you with a good amount of information to help you develop your own opinion and understanding of this. I urge you to continuing reading about this subject and staying up to date with progressions in healthcare policy over the next few years. To end the post, I want to highlight a quote that I thought perfectly encapsulates what I hoped to convey in this post:
“There are rights to which we are entitled, simply by virtue of our humanity. Human rights exist independent of our culture, religion, race, nationality, or economic status. Only by the free exercise of those rights can we enjoy a life of dignity. Among all the rights to which we are entitled, health care may be the most intersectional and crucial. The very frailty of our human lives demands that we protect this right as a public good. Universal health care is crucial to the ability of the most marginalized segments of any population to live lives of dignity. Without our health we—literally—do not live, let alone live with dignity.” (click here to read the full article)
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