A Critical Declaration
On 10 December 1948 in Paris, France the United Nations adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Not a single country voted against the proclamation, although there were eight abstentions. The United States is a signatory.
Article 25 includes: “Everyone has the right to health and well-being, including medical care.” Universal healthcare is the standard throughout most of the world, certainly among the well-to-do industrialized countries. The working details vary from country to country, but the concept of adequate healthcare being a basic human right is the common denominator.
If I happened to be seriously injured in an automobile accident, the costs for doctors, hospital, lab tests, and rehab would not keep me awake at night. I’m on Medicare, have additional private insurance, and have access to the Veterans Administration healthcare services. In the immortal words of Alfred E. Neuman: “What me worry?”
Millions of Americans have substantial worries about bankruptcy in the event of catastrophic medical issues. Most are working hard to support themselves and families, but circumstances beyond their control have led to being in an economic strata where hundreds of dollars a month for health insurance is simply not possible. At least if they want a roof over their heads and something for the dinner table. To look these people in the eye and say, “Just work harder; try harder,” is unrealistic and callous.
While a bona fide born and raised American, I lived in Canada for twenty-seven years. My wife and I raised our family there with all the medical issues experienced by a family of five. Our experience within that healthcare system was excellent. I mean excellent! To be sure, we paid for it via taxes, but we knew that
- healthcare services were always available
- we would never receive a doctor or hospital bill
- every single Canadian had access to the same quality care
Knowing that one is covered with regard to healthcare leads to a good night’s sleep. Not being covered can lead to fear, pain, financial ruin, and perhaps an early death.