Everybody knows healthcare is a human need. It’s also a human right. Of course, some don’t see it that way. To them healthcare is a service provided only to those who can afford it.
There are various arguments used to shoot down the idea of healthcare as a right.
It’s not spelled out in the Constitution. It’s anti-American. It’s socialism. Critics say healthcare is best treated as a private matter and not a government service. And that we have no right to services others have to provide.
Some of these arguments have merit. But they all end up being very cruel. Conservatives say we can’t give people a free ride because they’re sick. Furthermore, Illness is the direct result of lifestyle choices. Poorer folks should take better care of themselves to avoid costly medical care. After all, taking care of your health is something even poverty stricken people can do. Yet we all get sick at some point in our lives.
It’s true healthcare is not a constitutional right. But, the idea of healthcare as a human right is in the Declaration of Independence. You know, that document written by Thomas Jefferson and signed on July 4, 1776. It contains a famous passage referring to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” None of these are possible without health.
The U.S. Constitution also implies a human right to healthcare. Both the Preamble and Article One, Section 8 establish the ideal of government promoting the general welfare. What could promote the general welfare better than affordable healthcare?
The idea that we have no right to healthcare resides on both sides of the political fence. Of course conservatives don’t believe in universal care. They don’t think anyone has any rights except for those mentioned in the Constitution. Since a free insurance card isn’t part of the document, we have no right to expect one. There’s a surprising liberal argument against medical care rights also.
The case goes like this. People have certain rights that belong to them at birth, no matter where in the world they’re from. Freedom of speech is a great example. As human beings we have the right to say pretty much whatever we want. But some governments trample on human rights. By contrast, a free society respects our “god given” rights to say and do whatever we want to as individuals. Since receiving medical care involves the actions of others, we have no natural right to it. Finally, It’s the role of government to protect our natural rights, not to grant us new ones.
People who make this argument aren’t opposed to universal healthcare. But they don’t think we have a right to it. They do believe in equality of treatment and access. They believe the standard of care should remain the same even for the poorer among us.
Healthcare reform should have two aims. That is to provide medical services to the masses either for free or at a reasonable price. And to promote both the physical and mental well being of all through quality care. The latter includes end of life services and preventive medicine.
The Obamacare Effect
The Affordable Care Act isn’t healthcare reform. It’s actually health insurance reform. The ACA has done a lot of good, but it takes the wrong approach. Protecting and expanding the scope of the health insurance industry isn’t the solution. It’s much simpler. And it’s working all over the world in countries big and small. Before we get into that lets consider the effect the ACA has had on public opinion.
You don’t miss your water (till’ the well runs dry). That’s an old R & B song. That’s also the feeling I get from GOP voters dependent on Obamacare. The stupid, ill informed Trump voter is a stereotype. When Donald promised much better and cheaper healthcare, they listened. So straight up repeal or replace with any version of Trumpcare is unacceptable. They know what the man promised. And this ain’t it, not by a mile.
Thanks to Obamacare the American public expects more from their healthcare system. We want our medical care fast, affordable and up to standard. More than 60% of us now believe the government should provide people with affordable care. Politicians of both parties have to come to grips with this. Even GOP voters recognize the good the ACA has done, even if they don’t want to give Obama credit. The problem is this. Republicans hate anything attached to the first Black president. So instead of expanding, or improving the ACA they have to keep blustering about repeal.
Making Healthcare Universal
What is the best way to install universal healthcare in the U.S.? There a few different approaches. One thing they all have in common is huge savings over our current system.
To invest in universal healthcare, we can’t proceed without answering two basic questions. Do we need to establish a brand new federal program for the uninsured? Or is it better to expand existing public health programs to cover every citizen?
Some favor employer mandates. Others like Medicaid or Medicare for all. The most popular and most effective option is single payer. Single payer means everyone has equal access to healthcare. However this doesn’t bring us much closer to making single payer a reality in America.
Keep in mind the goals of universal care, whatever form it takes.
- A standard package of benefits available to all Americans.
- All citizens should to be able to see a doctor without risking financial ruin.
- Focus on preventative care.
The path to universal care in America would be a difficult one. There are many obstacles, both cultural and political.
Some people think universal healthcare is an impossible dream. It’s true that no society can take care of every healthcare need for each individual. But all countries can make progress, especially one as advanced as this one . Universal care is now a reality in many countries. Japan, Peru, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Turkey. They have all made real improvements to their healthcare systems in recent years. Most of these nations are not exactly wealthy. If they can do it why can’t we?