Health Care as a Human Right

Posted on November 4, 2019

There are many different versions of universal human rights in every society and each government. However, retaining the health of citizens should be a primary concern in order for a country to function properly. Also, due to poverty, many people require greater medical attention to keep their sense of dignity and well-being. And finally, many individuals are shunned from proper health care due to their race, faith, and political beliefs. It makes sense in light of this that health care should be a human right.

A country functioning properly

If many people are sick or injured and they cannot get the care they need, that means many citizens are not contributing to society as they could. This results in a lack of resources and economic power in a country. According to the World Health Organization, “Access and use of health services enables people to be more productive and active contributors to their families and communities. It also ensures that children can go to school and learn. At the same time, financial risk protection prevents people from being pushed into poverty when they have to pay for health services out of their own pockets” (“Health Is a Fundamental Human Right”). So, universal healthcare is a factor in making society sustainable. It also allows a nation to cut down on social and economic injustices that hamper a country’s progress.

Fighting for the impoverished

Poverty is bad enough. Add a lack of health care to that and the equation is much worse. And sometimes, being poor is the result of spending exorbitant amounts of money on surgeries and other types of care. Stated by the Inter Press Service, “Across the globe there is a strong correlation between high rates of out-of-pocket expenses and catastrophic and impoverishing health expenditure. It is a powerful factor in inequality of access to healthcare, often forcing the poor to forgo medical treatment. It also increases costs, because when poor people finally seek treatment it’s either too late or else complications caused by delay have worsened their condition” (Chatterjee, Siddharth). In countries in Africa, for instance, this issue is an epidemic. Universal health care is not only needed direly but also should be the first line of defense against economic disparity.

Caring for those shunned due to race, faith, and political beliefs

Besides poverty, universal health care can aid those receiving bad treatment because of their race, religion, politics, and social status. On the topic of race, The Commonwealth Fund mentions that, “Compared with whites, members of racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive preventive health services and often receive lower-quality care. They also have worse health outcomes for certain conditions” (Hostetter, Martha). But also religion plays into this equation. Some laws, such as in the U.S., allow religious doctors to refuse to treat certain patients that they do not deem appropriate (“Trump Administration Rules Health Staff Can Refuse Care for Religious Reasons”). Also in the U.S., private clinics and hospitals can turn away patients based on political grounds, as the American Medical Association does not prohibit such behavior (Jones, James W., et al.).

There is no reason that health care should not be universal. It aids a nation in being prosperous, taking care of the poor in order for them to be functioning citizens that contribute to the economy and to the progress of culture, and looking after those who are blacklisted in society. Negligent health care systems make life worse for everyone, as the health of each citizen is required to sustain a functioning society.

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Works Cited
“Health Is a Fundamental Human Right.” World Health Organization, World Health Organization, 12 Dec. 2017,
Chatterjee, Siddharth. “For Freedom from Poverty, Universal Health Coverage Is a Must.” Inter Press Service,
Hostetter, Martha. “In Focus: Reducing Racial Disparities in Health Care by Confronting Racism.” Commonwealth Fund,
“Trump Administration Rules Health Staff Can Refuse Care for Religious Reasons.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 2 May 2019,
Jones, James W., et al. “Ethics of Refusal to Treat Patients as a Social Statement.” Journal of Vascular Surgery, vol. 40, no. 5, 2004, pp. 1057–1059., doi:10.1016/j.jvs.2004.07.013.

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