Health is a Human Right.

Proposition:

A human right is a fundamental right of being a human. There are two sides to this proposition argument. First, if you are born healthy you have the right to continue to be in perfect health for the duration of your natural life. Yes, that may require additional and everyday actions in order to remain healthy, but the right indicates no one thing or person is taking your health away from you. Secondly, if you are born unhealthy, you have the right for a medical professional to attempt to put you in a state of health. You have the right to live a life.

Opposition:

Your health is defined by YOU, therefore you cannot demand health from anyone except yourself. To label health as a human right is to say you are entitled to health without any effort or work. Saying you have the right to life would go against the natural order of the world and animals; refer to Charles Darwin’s argument for the survival of the fittest. If only the strong survive, we would be continuing a fitter, or healthier, population which further perpetuates health. If health is NOT a human right, we would actually be healthier.

Health as a human right is a difficult global health issue.

Here in Nicaragua, health is believed to be a human right and measures are taken to provide access to healthcare. These methods include public health centers and posts, maternity houses, and certain pharmaceuticals. The down side to this type of aid is, of course, the funding. It costs to keep people healthy, especially when they do not take care of themselves. When there is an over abundance of people requiring healthcare, the care itself actually goes down. Nicaraguans wait for hours to see a doctor in the clinic, and the hospital staff doesn’t admit most of the people arriving.

In the United States, our new healthcare reform does not do a much better job of helping people have a right to health. The individual mandate requires all people to buy health insurance which often does not cover medical problems. North American health insurance companies are notorious for denying claims in order to make money. Just read “Deadly Spin” by Wendell Potter, a former Aetna executive. And now, the average American must pay to one of the giant health insurance companies or be forced to pay a fine to the US government. As always, North America would have the world believe the country supports health as a human right, and then the fine print will say just how much being healthy costs. Capitalism at it’s finest.

There are many places in the world with pros and cons to their respective healthcare systems. In some “other developed countries, insurers are required to pay every claim” (T.R. Reid in “The Healing of America: The Quest for Better, Cheaper and Fairer Healthcare”). In France for example, which has been named the best healthcare system in the world. Japan too, which has the longest healthy life expectancy according to the World Health Organization. Many though, including France, Spain, Greece and Japan, are all having to gut out their healthcare systems. The reason? Because even if you claim health is a human right, it is hard to support a population’s health care.

Then, thinking globally, what about places in Africa or the Pacific Islands. Who will pay for their health? And if no one can pay, does the world really believe these people do not have the human right to health? Akon’s recent contribution for electricity to millions of people in Africa will certainly help, if only to keep the medicine already being aided refrigerated and able to actually last to the intended expiration date.

I believe the world wants health to be a human right. But, when it comes right down to it, health care is NOT a human right and therefore not all people at all times have the ability and the access to be healthy.

My health is my right and I takes measures everyday to continue and prolong my healthy life. I understand I am different than many people in the world, and especially fortunate, but I think the world could come together on this issue to become interdependent. Global health would be improved by people demanding their personal right to health from themselves and the people they love and care about.

Without the result of sounding cheesy, I end with, I love and care about all the people in this world and I am demanding your right to health from YOU. If access is your issue, what do you think we can do in order to make health care available?

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