Under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, human rights are inherent to all human beings. These human rights include rights such as the right to liberty, life, freedom of expression, the right to education and work, social security, and so on. There are 30 human rights under this declaration, and one of these rights is the right to health care. This human right means that hospitals, medicines, clinics, and other health care services must be acceptable, available, accessible, and of good quality on an equitable basis.
In the United States, there is a private healthcare system and a weaker public healthcare system. There is not universal healthcare in the United States though there is universal healthcare in other first world countries and in other second world countries (ex. Mexico). Ideally, this should not be an issue because people should still have access to healthcare through private providers, but this is not the case. Since the private sector controls the healthcare system and there is loose restrictions on these providers (relative to other countries), these providers are able to raise prices and deny viable healthcare plans to the American population.
Since there is not universal healthcare in the US, everyone needs to pay their medical bills in full, thus people get insurance to cover these payments. However, insurance companies can choose which conditions are covered and which are not, and the cost of monthly premiums and copayments for any medical services. The reason that this is an issue is that American insurance providers are not offering these plans on an equitable and fair basis, meaning that preexisting conditions, age, gender, affluence, etc. all have an impact on what kind of plan is offered. Often times, some plans are so expensive that people cannot afford healthcare, and go under extreme economic strain when a health issue comes up. Others struggle to pay their bills even with insurance, because the copay is too large or the condition is not covered under their respective plan.
The solutions to these issues is simple. There is enough taxpayer money to pay for a universal healthcare option, there just simply needs to be a shift in the management and usage of this money. Second, the government needs to crack down on insurance companies and institute restrictions on them. This has been an issue due to lobbying, which influences politicians to not take action on these issues. Voters need to activate their political voices through protests and voting, to place politicians who will create real change in both houses of Congress since both Representatives in the House and Senators are voted directly by the population.
The reason that this is an important issue is that these circumstances created by the private providers deny millions of American people access to healthcare, which is (by definition) the violation of the human right to health care. Perhaps an even larger issue is a lack of restrictions from or options from the American government toward these private providers. This wouldn’t be an issue if the government instituted restrictions on these companies or if the government offered viable universal healthcare, which it does not.
- “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.” United Nations, United Nations, https://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/.
- “The U.S. Health Care System: An International Perspective.” DPEAFLCIO, https://dpeaflcio.org/programs-publications/issue-fact-sheets/the-u-s-health-care-system-an-international-perspective/.
- “An Overview of the US Healthcare System.” International Travel Insurance Group, https://www.internationalinsurance.com/health/systems/us-healthcare.php.
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