Health Care Must Remain A Right

06/24/2017 08:59 am ET Updated Jun 24, 2017

This post is not so much why the current senate (draft?) bill, “Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017” (“Better Care Act”), represents one of the most destructive pieces of legislation to come out of the halls of Congress in decades that rips at the fabric of our democracy (“Everything You Need to Know About the GOP Senate Health Care Bill”; and [Kaiser Family Foundation’s] “Compare Proposals to Replace The Affordable Care Act”), but the underpinning of why our nation is facing a crisis and real and present danger.

In capsule form, do we wish to see health care remain a RIGHT for all Americans, regardless of socioeconomic status, or only a privilege for the wealthy, i.e., for those that can afford to access it? Do we, as a nation, want our citizens to be able to access and afford health care in order to maintain our health, regain our health, or acquire our health―-like all industrialized nations want to see for their citizens―- or do we want to give the (greedy) wealthy segment of our society the monies in the form of tax write-offs to be taken from Obamacare (otherwise known as the Affordable Care Act) that assist the less fortunate and disadvantaged with accessing and affording health care? The Republican senate bill attempts to rob blindly those that can’t afford and access health care like those Republicans are able to do as members of Congress and that otherwise have no voice in Congress that will be heard by those legislators. It is our job as Americans to be their voice.

But let’s go back to this notion of whether or not health care should, or continue to, be a right. Two articles dating back nine years among scores are instructive, “Is Health Care a Right and Should It Be?”; and “The Moral Imperative: Health Care as an American Right”. Health care is certainly not a constitutional right for nothing in the Constitution sets this forth. We do know we have inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (but nothing about affording and accessing health care since no doubt that was not on the minds of the drafters), and that without health care, none of us can do much of anything for ourselves, our families, our employment, even our country. We also know the Supreme Court has interpreted the 8th Amendment’s “cruel and unusual punishment” clause to require prisoners be guaranteed the right to health care. And even the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted in 1948 declares, “everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one’s family, including food, clothing, housing, and medical care” (“Health Care Reform: It is Now or Never”).

What we see happening is only Republicans wanting to steal a “win” vs. incurring a “loss”; achieving “victory” over “defeat”. But what should be foremost is country over politics and political party.

So what must happen next since the Senate is supposed to vote on its health bill no later than next Friday? Members of Congress serve as public servants and at the pleasure of all voters. If we all believe that our health is a fundamental commodity that is equally important to each one of us as it is to the next regardless of status, wealth, position or power (and this includes all Senate Republicans!), then we must not only inform ourselves over this weekend and the early part of the upcoming week (see links to the two articles atop this post) about the disaster facing us with the Senate’s Better Care Act , but we must tell our (Republican) public servants there that what they want to do must be voted down. Democracy and the fabric and very underpinning of our society demand no less!

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