Is Healthcare a Right or a Privilege?

Lubanah Alayoubi, Editor

Over the course of several decades, the issue of healthcare and its inclusivity of the general public has been debated and left unresolved. However, there are many reasons why all American citizens deserve access to healthcare. As many people already know, the founding documents of the United States offer support for a right to healthcare. The Declaration of Independence itself clearly states that all men have “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness”. Based on this statement, it is vividly implied that healthcare is essential in preserving lives and pursuing happiness. Also, according to the Preamble, the purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to “promote the general welfare” of the people. Since healthcare is considered “a legitimate function of government”, it should be treated with more respect from a federal perspective.

Providing a right to healthcare can potentially decrease the cost of healthcare in the United States. Based on a study conducted by the University of Massachusetts, under a single-payer system where all people are guaranteed the right to healthcare, total healthcare expenses could decrease by about $1.8 trillion within the next 10 years. This is primarily due to lower costs in administrative and prescription medication. Moreover, other countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom offer free healthcare to all of their citizens. In 2017, they spent approximately 47% and 42% of what the United States did per capita.

Finally, a right to healthcare will always save lives. As of this year, about 114,000 people in the United States are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Individuals who cannot pay the immense hospital expenses are unable to get their names on the waiting list. Unfortunately, since it is impossible for each of the patients on the waiting list to receive an organ transplant of their own, a daily average of 20 patients die due to their failure to receive immediate medical attention. Therefore, healthcare is a significant human right with wonderful benefits that can better our nation and its citizens.