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Thursday, July 09, 2009


 

Is health care a "right"?


The Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
However, that's not the complete story. Because here's some related history:
When the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was written, the Soviet Union—a socialist country where health care was treated as a right—fought for the primacy of the right to health and health care, along with other social, economic and cultural rights, among human rights.

Eleanor Roosevelt, head of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 1948, led the drafting discussions of the UDHR. She did so representing the United States and summed up its position: "… my government has made it clear in the course of the development of the Declaration that it does not consider that the economic and social and cultural rights stated in the Declaration imply an obligation on governments to assure the enjoyment of these rights by direct governmental action." She added, "This in no way affects our wholehearted support for the basic principles of economic, social and cultural rights set forth in these articles."


Why stop here? There's more...

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