human rights

An interesting question for me that has come out the very pervaisive and oft-wayward debate on the affordable health care for all americans legislation that is currently being considered is this:

is health care a human right?

I’d never given that any thought. Growing up in Canada it was never, ever a concern. Was it a right? Was it a privilege? Irrelevant. We had health care just by the fact that we lived in Canada. There was never a hint of anyone taking away our right/privilege. I never thought about it.

Turns out that Canada does not express anywhere that health care is a legal or constitutional right and in Canada there continues to be extensive debate about that fact.

Wasn’t expecting that.  I gotta admit.

However, I do believe that equal access to health care – at some basic level – is a right.  I’m OK with an “if-I-have-the-money-I-can-get-the-best-of-everything-now” because I believe that people are free to make money and/or be greedy.  But comprehensive, affordable or free health care ought to be available for everyone.  Consequently, I believe it’s criminal, appalling,  and evil that it currently is not.

But a more fundamental question now exists for me and it comes from the Declaration of Independence…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

I have never understood what that last bit means…

What is the pursuit of happiness?  Either it’s a completely arbitrary statement or they knew something we don’t – what is happiness?  It’s almost like reading scripture in a way.  What are the other rights that aren’t mentioned here?  I wish they would have just listed them all.

The discussion is much bigger than does everybody deserve health care and should I pay for it.  The questions are more what does it mean to be human and am I my brother’s keeper?

We may need to break this down more a little later.

note: I’ve got a lot more on this that I want to share; particularly as it relates to apparent priorities, realities, and differences between health care in the US versus the rest of the industrialized world…stay tuned.