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Argument: Health care is a basic human right or entitlement

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Rights in societies are continually being added to a list of rights, making it appropriate to consider adding health care

  • - "Even if we could convince everyone in the USA that "human rights" have always been expanding as civilizations progress and that even "civil rights" have been expanding continually throughout our nation's history, there would likely still be many people resistant to this expansion in general and some who are opposed to the idea of health care, in particular, becoming a right in this country. They may say it just doesn't look like the list of rights needs such expansion. How carefully, though, have they considered the issue? Did any of the other more recently recognized rights in the US look like they belonged on the list (say in the view of 90% of Americans, or in the view of the most powerful men of the era)? Consider the right of the disabled to be provided with comparable secondary education facilities, or the right of girls to have some reasonable funding for their athletic programs at public universities. Or consider broader rights such as that of African American children to attend the same schools as white children, or the right of any person in this country to be seen and medically stabilized in any Emergency Room in this country. How did these rights come to be accepted and formally established?
Is there something special about this point in history? So that it is reasonable to expect that expansion will now cease and the list will be considered complete for decades to come? Or such that the "Right to Education" belongs on the list, but the "Right to Health Care" does not? Or is it just a matter of how people are accustomed to thinking, combined possibly with their fears and prejudices? Let's consider for one moment what it means if health care is not a right."

Poor public health puts other members of society at risk, making universal health care fundamental to protecting the other person's rights

The history of health care as a "right"

  • US President Franklin Roosevelt initiated a major movement for health to be enshrined as a right: Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR). "The Right to Health in the United States of America". October, 2004 - "In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a ‘Second Bill of Rights’ for Americans, declaring ‘freedom from want’ to be one of four essential liberties necessary for human security. Roosevelt’s definition of freedom included “the right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.” The right to health was subsequently enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted with American guidance, and has since been recognized in numerous international and regional human rights treaties." It would later be enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)

Article 25 provides: Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.

In the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ICESCR)

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