Thursday, December 10, 2009

Medical Care is a human right

For this year's Human Rights Day I want to draw people's attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The declaration clearly guarantees the right to health and medical care. The same article also declares the right of mothers and children to special care and assistance.

Article 25.

  • (1) 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.
  • (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.
(You can read the declaration online at
Some countries do a wonderful job of providing these rights, others do not. In the US we barely meet these obligations. People are entitled to life-saving medical treatments, but not with care to promote and maintain health. Mothers and children do get some special care through SCHIP, and other state programs, but this assistance is very meager and many families suffer.

The US needs to provide health care (not just emergency disease care) to everyone. Why are we having a debate about this issue? It is our obligation to the citizens of the world to work to insure that human rights are met. The right to health care was clearly articulated over 60 years ago.

I urge you to spread this information to everyone you know. Have discussions with people about what you think this right guarantees. Attend demonstrations, blog, write letters!

Find out candidates opinions on health care. Talk to your elected officials about health care. Check their voting records! Do they support the meager legislation that we have, or have they repeatedly rejected renewing SCHIP? What about maternity leave? If their actions don't match their words, don't re-elect them!

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