Right to life through health care

by John Ziegler

Opponents of universal health coverage or a government-sponsored public option often argue that health care is a privilege and not a basic human right. However, these opponents readily cite the Declaration of Independence, saying that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are inalienable human rights; they argue that funding health care for all through taxation is an infringement on personal liberties. But what should be made of the inalienable right to life? Is it less important than liberty? When someone falls ill or suffers an injury, does their right to life cease to exist because taking care of them would burden the economy and infringe on the liberty of others? Advocates of health care reform and government involvement in the health care industry are not asking the American taxpayers to fund massage treatments and plastic surgery. Rather, we want every American to be able to see a doctor and receive basic treatment when theyâÄôre sick, and to be able to regularly have checkups in order to encourage healthy lifestyles. These are inherent in the inalienable rights to life, and thus far private industry has proven that it is unable to provide these basic services. Even for those who do have insurance, the coverage provided by private insurers leaves much to be desired. Providing affordable health care to all Americans does not infringe on personal liberties; rather, itâÄôs a necessity to protect and promote the inalienable human right to life. John Ziegler University undergraduate student