Healthcare is a Right

Written by Steven Spear, Jr.

Edited by Morgan DeLisle

 

The English poet John Donne said, "No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as a manor of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Here's a version more applicable to this conversation:

"No American ever stands alone; every American is a piece of a country, a part of the whole; if a life be avoidably taken by death, the country is the less, as well as if a group of your friends' lives or your own were; any American's death diminishes me, because I am involved in this country. And therefore never send to know for whom the poor call for help; they call for you."

 

In 1986, Congress created universal access to emergency medical care regardless of ability to pay. In 2017, it is time to create universal access to non-emergency medical care, by guaranteeing health insurance for every American citizen.

According to the American College of Emergency Medicine, a medical emergency is "a condition manifesting itself by acute symptoms of sufficient severity such that the absence of immediate medical attention could reasonably be expected to result in placing the individual's health [or the health of an unborn child] in serious jeopardy, serious impairment to bodily functions, or serious dysfunction of bodily organs."

A Harvard study found 45,000 deaths were linked to not having health insurance. In other words, those 45,000 people had conditions that did not warrant "immediate medical attention" but ultimately died from those same conditions. These deaths could have been avoided. It is time for the United States to take care of the poor and the needy, and we must stand up for those who cannot take care of themselves.

 

From my understanding, my opponents argue that no one has a right to healthcare, that the government should not be involved in such a personal decision, and that guaranteeing healthcare is socialism. To that I say humanity has a moral obligation to care for those who are unable to care of themselves. I am willing to step in a direction towards "socialism" if it means that we can end this needless suffering. I am willing to see corporations receive lower profits if it means that we can stop the 45,000 avoidable deaths from happening again.

Wanting to remove these avoidable deaths from the equation, President Obama worked with Congress to pass the Affordable Care Act. He hoped to help those avoidable deaths by guaranteeing that every person can purchase health insurance through the government. Republicans lovingly dubbed the former President's signature achievement "Obamacare."

I will be the first to admit that Obamacare is not without its problems. Higher premiums, fewer or no options for some because  insurers have found the plans unprofitable, etc. But instead of fixing these problems, Republicans want to repeal the law, cut Medicaid spending, and throw millions of Americans off of their healthcare.

After seven years of disparaging Obamacare and promising repeal, Republicans are finally in a position to do so. Even though they control both houses of Congress and the White House, Republicans cannot agree on what to do after Obamacare's repeal. Six different bills have been submitted, and according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, the bills throws 22-32 million Americans off of their health insurance (depending on the bill). Let that sink in. Under the Republican plans, at least 22 million Americans will lose their health insurance.

Elizabeth Warren, U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, describes this dire situation well:

"The Republican plan isn't just cruel—it is immoral and not who we are as a people."

Remember this: "any American's death diminishes me, because I am involved in this country. And therefore never send to know for whom the poor call for help; they call for you." If Americans don't care for each other, who will?

 

Hoping Our Country Will Do the Right Thing,
A Concerned Citizen

 

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