Healthcare is a Human Right

In the most advanced nation in the world, there are 47 million people (at least) without health care coverage. In a nation that spends almost 1/4 of its gross domestic product (GDP) on defense, it is difficult to explain how this could be. Will we be able to right the moral wrong of too many uninsured once President-elect Obama takes office? I sure hope so.

It is my belief that health care is a fundamental right of all people; a human right, in fact. Artcile 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states:

“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.”

How can we continue to justify not providing health care to all people when it is so clearly a fundamental right, just like food, clothing and a safe place to live? In a country where corporate greed seems to be the rule instead of community charity, when will people wake up to the fact that our brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends are going without the basic necessities of life?

When will we protest because bank executives, whose banks were bailed out with taxpayer money this year, last year took home $1.6 billion in salaries and bonuses?

When will we say ENOUGH to the fact that over 22,000 people die each year in the United States alone because they don’t have health care coverage?

I think the time is now, and I hope you do too.

Dr. Darrell Spurlock is a nurse, academic and writer. His main interests are in health policy, social and health research, human rights and social justice. He is passionate about the idea that all people have a right to the best possible life, including high-quality health care.

Image © 2006 knowhimonline - Flickr

41 comments

Andrew W.
Andrew W8 years ago

Of course health care is a human right. As an European I see the USA do not abide to the human rights. We in Europe are covered the way you speak about in this post, not as a blessing, but because we fought for it. Politicians are rotten and corrupt; they do not care about people, so that to achieve something the people have to fight hard for it. A few were the exceptions to prove the rule. Politicians are not at their posts because of any special merit, they are there only because we voted them, and they usually take the opportunity to abuse and get rich with our (tax) money, stealing it one way or another. Being so, I understand even less how you voted on bastard Bush for a second term when you were angry at him for so many good reasons. You vote mostly on the party that makes poverty nationwide. If you keep voting on them you will NEVER ever have medical care. A country without social welfare is NOT a democracy but you still believe you are a democracy. You were, yes, in Lincoln’s times, but times have changed much since and you did not follow. When the technology is not used for the people it is useless and means nothing but money for the rich. You are exploited by your enterprises. You pay their taxes and give your lives for them. It is unbelievable that a country where a person that cannot pay for a heart is condemned to die and the people believe this to be democratic!

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Angela Corbetta
Angela Corbetta8 years ago

There is a way to handle all this, there is a beautifull Public Add for making Human Rights a reality, it is a free movie and short you can watch it and see if we can give this to everybody then we'lll have done somethig about this a bit more... www.youthforhumanrights.org

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Lucien Beauley
Lucien B8 years ago

I truly believe that the key to any national health care system must be based upon individual "Disease Prevention" through nutrition and government/state funding of program that teaches the prevention of disease. Even director of WHO commented it could save trillions on a global basis. What would it do for the U.S. in these economic times? It doesn't take a rocket scientist just a lot of visionary planning, something most past administrations have not shown.

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Lucien Beauley
Lucien B8 years ago

I truly believe that the key to any national health care system must be based upon individual "health prevention" through nutrition and government/state funding of program that teaches the prevention of disease. Even director of WHO commented it could save trillions on a global basis. What would it do for the U.S. in these economic times? It doesn't take a rocket scientist just a lot of visionary planning, something most past administrations have not shown.

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Greg Lumsden
Greg Lumsden8 years ago

hi all, just been reading ya comments on the health of the american nationals. Well most of whats said is correct, but you need to think about this, ILL HEALTH and WARS/WARFARE are big business and also THE CONTROL POPULATION LIMITS but there is a lot of money to be made from it. Why do you think illnesses keep heading in the wrong direction and wars don't cease... Plus also remember your president and our prime minister are only figure heads controlled BHY BIG BUSINESS understand that then you can head forwards with a plan to change things but if we do not unite against them then they will always win....

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Kim s.
Peace Monger8 years ago

It's incomprehensible that Americans do not have national healthcare; that one of the richest countries in the world struggles to provide reasonable healthcare for its inhabitants. Societies such as the UK have the National Healthcare Service, providing all of its residents some form of care. Each worker contributes to the plan thru payments from their paychecks, much like the FICA taxes taken from American workers paychecks. The British govt. adds to that with govt funds.
Yes this is socialist medicine, demonized by politicians as being next to Communism, however, the very same politicians who speak out against such a plan enjoy the benefits in a form of socialist medicine, as do military personnel, past and present. Therefore, if it's good enough for politicians and military personnel, why is govt funded healthcare not acceptable for the population as a whole?
My feeling is Big Pharma is adamantly opposed to this because their profit$ would decrease.
The time has come for the people to make a stand and speak out against big business and those within govt who would continue the practice of only a small minority of Americans receiving healthcare.
The NHS in the UK may not be perfect, however, it is reassuring that if in need of care, one can receive some form of care without bankrupting the individual.
Will Americans continue listening to those who spew lies and propaganda or see the TRUTH and bring healthcare to each and every resident?


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Phyllis W.
Phyllis W.8 years ago

Apparently, shame has no boundaries! If we are to consider ourselves the Greatest Nation on Earth, how can we allow so many US citizens and innocent children to suffer from illness and pain due to lack of medical care? It is degrading, inhumane and unnecessary.
I have been disgusted with our Health Care System for many years. As a retiree I am "fortunate" to have affordable Medical Insurance. It is, however, "unfortunate" that we don't provide for the "less fortunate". I believe our Country can afford to insure every person in the USA...its just a matter of making choices: do we want to continue allowing the incompetent and careless Leaders in Washington and their Wealthy cohorts to dictate and control our economic policies? Continue financing Wars and defending Countries that we have no business defending? Continue funding frivilous programs passed by our Legislature? Last but not least: how long are we going to continue "looking the other way" while Wall Street and the many mega bucks CEO's walk off with millions of dollars forcing the working class people to "bail them out" as a result of overwhelming greed and inefficient management of corporations.
Yes. Something is very very wrong with this scenario!

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Dorothy F.
Dorothy F8 years ago

It is clear that we Americans do not always have our priority correct. Maybe that too can be changed soon. If so everyone will have decent health care and insurance to cover all.

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Suzan H.
Suzan H.8 years ago

#1) Yes, send the illegal aliens home. #2) Social Medicine doesn't provide the medical 'care' that everyone seems to think. Otherwise, why would people from Canada come to the USA to get proceedures and care that they have to wait many month or a year for these life saving proceedures? Corporations don't OWE anyone anything, and RICH people EARNED their money...get real people. It is time people realized that America was GREAT because you could MAKE something of yourself here from your EFFORTS. Not expect someone to HAND it to you~ Our Nation has been abused by too many people sucking it dry without putting anything into it. Our Congress votes itself raises, has it's own health program and wastes more money than most other politicians can shake a stick at. It is time that everyone tightens their belts and gets their noses to the grind stone. Not EVERYONE can buy an HD TV or NEW CAR or own a home. Quit 'whining and crying' and get a life. Believe it or NOT...your MOTHER is NOT your life line!

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Stephen Wider
Steve Wider8 years ago

At this point, the ONLY real Plan for Health care that will work now is the HR676 plan first put forth by Congressman Dennis Kucinich! To see it go to HR676.org. It would use wasted & corrupt Insurance Company profits to provide coverage for ALL Americans who would be covered for Everything through existing Tax Dollars!

It's a Single Payer Universal Health Care System that would work GREAT, and would NOT lower the standards of care. In fact, the level of care would be much better, not worse, due to more comprehensive coverage that would go through the same system, only eliminating Gouging by Insurance Companies.

Check it OUT now! HR676.org

Al Gore also endorses it!

It would cover Medical, Dental, Eye Care, Pharmaceutical, Preventative & Alternative with No co-pays or deductibles and for EVERY U.S. citizen!

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