|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Healthcare policy Community health Human rights|
I chose my topic by first reviewing areas covered in the textbooks as well as other courses. I wrote down five issues of my interest. I also perused recent news articles with information concerning health issues. Out of the five areas, I narrowed down to two topics. I looked at the most pressing issue between the two, and I found healthcare as a human right as the most suitable topic to select. I chose the topic because it is one of the areas that affect all people. The well-being is paramount to everyone, but the current U.S. system does not guarantee universal healthcare to all individuals, including the wealthy and economically disadvantaged. Healthcare is not a privilege but a human right and hence every person deserves it. The passage of Affordable Care Act (ACA) increased the insurance coverage to increase the insured population (McGill & MacNaughton, 2016). Since the legislation was passed, the number of people insured has increased significantly. However, a large population especially the ethnic minorities, unemployed, non-citizens and those from low- economic backgrounds remain uninsured. Despite the improvements, the U.S. healthcare system has not achieved universal healthcare. A majority of people, including the insured ones, struggle to meet the healthcare cost.
Biases and Knowledge
At the start, I brought biases and knowledge to the topic. I was biased against the U.S. government for failing to ensure universal and equitable healthcare for all. The government has a responsibility of protecting the people even from diseases. The U.S. government does not consider healthcare as a human right. It does not entitle citizens healthcare as a human right. The government has continued to violate Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) through establishment of discriminative healthcare system (Gerisch, 2018). The essential right to health is based on the ability of a person to pay which is contrary to UDHR (Gerisch, 2018). Rather than improving the right to healthcare, the U.S. government focuses on calling the people to join insurance plans to assist them in paying for the medical bills. It has turned out to be a business as insurance companies reap a lot profits yet the beneficiaries do not get the value of their money. I have brought the knowledge that U.S. citizens can enjoy universal healthcare. In 2010, the U.S. legislature passed ACA, which significantly increased insurance coverage to the people in low economic status (McGill & MacNaughton, 2016). The government should consider healthcare as a human right. It should strive to achieve a universal and equitable healthcare system for all. Everyone should enjoy universal healthcare regardless of their economic status, which is possible to achieve.
Knowledge Contribution by Each Source
Each source contributed to my knowledge differently. The right to healthcare is not recognized in the U.S. constitution. Individuals and families should enroll in either public health program or private health insurance plans. Although ACA improved healthcare access, it has not met the legal standards of international human rights (McGill & MacNaughton, 2016). It does not ensure that all people do not get healthcare as a fundamental human right. It has changed my thinking in that, there is need to make a law that would recognize healthcare as a fundamental human right. The well-being of the people in the U.S. continues to decline due to a myriad of challenges. Income disparity has made it difficult for some people to have access to healthcare due to its high cost. The greed to make high profits by pharmaceutical and insurance companies creates stumbling blocks to the progress towards universal healthcare (D'Amico, 2019. Approximately 38% of Americans remains uninsured (Nation, 2018). The high cost of medical bills cause families to become bankrupt. The expansion of health insurance coverage would reduce the cost incurred by the people while financing healthcare. The source has changed my thinking that closing all loopholes would be a critical milestone towards achieving a universal healthcare. The U.S. does not conclude whether healthcare is a right, commodity, or privilege (Taylor, 2018). It is not recognized as a constitutional right. The political goodwill and institutional changes should take the first step in recognizing healthcare as a human right. Lack of universal healthcare is detrimental to the American people (Schiff, 2017). The current administration plays a significant role in this issue. It fails to change policies that would guarantee everyone an affordable healthcare. The health insurance premiums are high such that they pose bankruptcy threat to millions of people. Despite the right to healthcare being recognized internationally, it is contrary to the U.S. (Gerisch, 2018). The U.S. government contravenes UDHR conditions by failure to provide universal healthcare to all people. It has changed my thinking that, people in authorities do not want introduction of changes as they gain profits from the insurance companies at the expense of citizens. Access to healthcare in the U.S. is made possible through an employer or private based insurance cover (Chapman, 2016). The majority of people from low-income households remain uninsured. This has changed my thinking in that, despite the challenges, more efforts are required to achieve universal healthcare.
Reliability of Sources
I used three ways to evaluate the reliability of sources and whether they are helpful. I checked peer review, date of publication, and reputability of agency's websites. I used peer-reviewed materials as other academics have read them to ensure the evidence supports the claims made. I also used the most recent materials to ensure they contain relevant information related to healthcare as a human right. I searched for websites that contain official documents and government papers with pertinent information about the topic.
The source written by McGill & MacNaughton is useful. It highlights how the ACA has helped many Americans since its passage. It has seen millions of Americans having insurance cover, including those from low-income households. The sources also show that healthcare is not deemed as a right "The U.S. Constitution does not recognize a right to health care" (McGill & MacNaughton, 2016). Therefore, U.S. citizens do not have universal healthcare, and this makes them struggle to pay for healthcare services. The source written by Gerisch is also useful. The author shows how the discriminative healthcare system affects people with low income. The U.S. government has failed to recognize healthcare as a human right." Shockingly, or maybe just realistically, the U.S. report to the U.N. in 2015 fails to even identify health as a human right" (Gerisch, 2018). It focuses on enrolling people in insurance programs that cost them a lot of money. The author stresses the need to protect the right to healthcare.
I decided to the direction of recognizing healthcare as a human right. Healthcare is essential to everyone, and hence it should be protected at all costs (Chapman, 2016). The U.S. government has made several steps to increase the population of the insured through enrollment in different insurance programs (D'Amico, 2019). It has benefited millions of people in accessing healthcare. However, millions of people remain uninsured. Lack of health insurance prevents them from seeking preventive care, which is essential. Sometimes, they seek medical intervention in case of a chronic disease, which raises the cost of healthcare. Recognizing healthcare as a human right would enable the government to take initiatives to achieve universal and equitable healthcare (Schiff, 2017). Everyone would have a guarantee of access to healthcare regardless of their economic status. Constitutional changes are inevitable to include healthcare as a human right. It requires the political goodwill to attain a non-discriminative healthcare system that would cater for everyone.
In conclusion, healthcare should be a human right. It should not be a privilege for some individuals. The U.S. government has a critical role to play to ensure that healthcare is recognized as a human right. It should review the current system that discriminates against some individuals or groups in American society. It should not focus on telling the citizens to enroll for insurance plans. Instead, it should take initiatives and establish a health system that would recognize healthcare as a human right. It should bridge the gap between the rich and the poor in terms of access to healthcare. The conditions provided in UDHR should be acknowledged and respected. The time is ripe for the U.S. to make progress and achieve universal healthcare.
One of the questions I would have is how the U.S. government plans to achieve universal healthcare.
Another question is how the current system has denied the Americans their right to access quality and affordable healthcare.
Chapman, A. R. (2016). Human rights, global health, and neoliberal policies. Cambridge University Press.D'Amico, C. (2019 December 25). In 2020, It's Time to Make Universal Health Care a Human Right. Truthout. https://truthout.org/articles/in-2020-its-time-to-make-universal-health-care-a-human-right/
Gerisch, M. (2018, August 1). Health Care As a Human Right. American Bar Association. https://www.americanbar.org/groups/crsj/publications/human_rights_magazine_home/the-state-of-healthcare-in-the-united-states/health-care-as-a-human-right/
McGill, M., & MacNaughton, G. (2016). The struggle to achieve the human right to health care in the United States. S. Cal. Interdisc. LJ, 25, 625. https://gould.usc.edu/why/students/orgs/ilj/assets/docs/25-3-McGill-MacNaughton.pdf
Nation, (2018). Why don't we treat healthcare as a human right? New York The nation company. https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/healthcare-medicare-medical-debt-video/
Schiff, A. (6 July, 2017). Why we fight for universal healthcare. https://www.latimes.com/socal/glendale-news-press/opinion/tn-gnp-me-commentary-schiff-20170706-story.html
Taylor, W.K. (2018, December 13). Should health care be treated as a human right? Should health care be treated as a human right? https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2018/12/13/should-health-care-be-treated-as-a-human-right/
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