Explain your view about if you think healthcare is a basic human right.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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You will receive different answers to this question.  Given its timely nature, there might be some passionate discourse featured.  I believe that a case can be made to suggest that health care is a basic human right.  From the most elemental of positions, health care is perceived as something that should apply to all human beings.  In the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, health care and access to health services is specifically mentioned as a human right:

(1) 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.

The language in Article 26 of this Universal Declaration is fairly clear in its assertion that health care should be seen as a basic human right.  Health care is linked to a particular standard of life that should be applicable to all people. It is a condition that applies to individuals even in the face of "circumstances beyond" one's control.  In this sense, the United Nations considers health care a basic right to all.

The World Health Organization also argues that health care is a basic human right.  Its definition of health care includes "access to timely, acceptable, and affordable health care of appropriate quality."  This right also suggests that "states must generate conditions in which everyone can be as healthy as possible."  In this definition, health care is a basic right that is applicable to all and its inalienable quality compels governments to ensure that some remedy is offered when it is denied to individuals.  

In these examples, health care is perceived on the same level as the right to free speech.  These statements make clear that "civilized societies" must recognize a social obligation in providing health care to all of its people.  Health care cannot be denied or withheld to individuals because it impacts the very nature of life.  It is to this end where the international community is fairly clear about health care being a basic right.  The charters and declarations do not indicate how this right is to be delivered to people.  Yet, they speak lucidly to the idea that health care must be perceived as a basic human right that is applicable to all and not denied to anyone.  Every citizen requires it.  Without it, the most basic elements behind a quality of life are jeopardized, making health care a human right.

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