Right to Health Care
Pros and Cons
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Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?
Right to Health Care
47.9 million people in the United States (15.4% of the US population) did not have health insurance in 2012 according to the US Census Bureau. The United States and Mexico are the only countries of the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that do not have universal health care.

Proponents of the right to health care say that no one in the richest nation on earth should go without health care. They argue that a right to health care would stop medical bankruptcies, improve public health, reduce overall health care spending, help small businesses, and that health care should be an essential government service.

Opponents argue that a right to health care amounts to socialism and that it should be an individual's responsibility, not the government's role, to secure health care. They say that government provision of health care would decrease the quality and availability of health care, and would lead to larger government debt and deficits. Read more...

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Right to Healthcare ProCon.org is a nonpartisan, nonprofit website that presents research, studies, and pro and con statements on questions related to whether or not healthcare should be a right.
Did You Know?
  1. 27 million previously uninsured people will gain coverage under Obamacare according to a 2013 White House estimate. [22]

  2. The United States and Mexico are the only countries of the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that do not have universal health care. [37]

  3. The United States spent $8,508 per person on health care in 2011, over 2.5 times the average spent by member countries of the OECD ($3,322 per person). [48]

  4. The US five-year survival rate for all cancers is 64.6%, over 10% higher than the five-year cancer survival rate in Europe (51.6%), [26] and a 2009 study found that the United States had better cancer screening rates than 10 European countries including France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. [25]

  5. In 2014, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in overall health care behind (in order) United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, France, and Canada. [109]
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Pro & Con Arguments: "Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?"
PRO Right to Health Care

  1. The founding documents of the United States provide support for a right to health care. The Declaration of Independence states that all men have "unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," [42] which necessarily entails having the health care needed to preserve life and pursue happiness. The purpose of the US Constitution, as stated in the Preamble, is to "promote the general welfare" of the people. [43] According to former Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), as part of efforts to "promote the general welfare," health care "is a legitimate function of government." [44]


  2. Instituting a right to health care could lower the cost of health care in the United States. According to a 2013 study, under a single-payer system, in which all citizens are guaranteed a right to health care, total public and private health care spending could be lowered by $592 billion in 2014 and up to $1.8 trillion over the next decade due to lowered administrative and prescription drug costs. [51] According to the American Medical Association, on average, private health insurance plans spend 11.7% of premiums on administrative costs vs. 6.3% spent by public health programs. [52] According to a study in the American Journal of Public Health, Canada, a country that provides a universal right to health care, spends half as much per capita on health care as the United States. [53] In 2010 the United Kingdom, another country with a right to health care, managed to provide health care to all citizens while spending just 41.5% of what the United States did per capita. [48]


  3. A right to health care could save lives. According to a 2009 study from Harvard researchers, "lack of health insurance is associated with as many as 44,789 deaths per year," which translates into a 40% increased risk of death among the uninsured. [59] Another study found that more than 13,000 deaths occur each year just in the 55-64 year old age group due to lack of health insurance coverage. [60] In addition, a 2011 Commonweath Fund study found that due to a lack of timely and effective health care, the United States ranked at the bottom of a list of 16 rich nations in terms of preventable mortality. [112] In Italy, Spain, France, Australia, Israel, and Norway, all countries with a right to health care, people live two to three years longer than people in the United States. [62]


  4. The right to health care is an internationally recognized human right. On Dec. 10, 1948 the United States and 47 other nations signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document stated that "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of oneself and one's family, including... medical care." [49] In 2005 the United States and the other member states of the World Health Organization signed World Health Assembly resolution 58.33, which stated that everyone should have access to health care services and should not suffer financial hardship when obtaining these services. [16] According to a 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Lancet, "[r]ight-to-health features are not just good management, justice, or humanitarianism, they are obligations under human-rights law." [50] The United States and Mexico are the only countries of the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that do not have universal health care. [37] As of 2013 over half of the world's countries had a right to health care in their national constitutions. [45]


  5. A right to health care could make medical services affordable for everyone. According to a 2012 study from Consumer Reports, paying for health care is the top financial problem for US households. [18] According to a peer-reviewed study in Health Affairs, between 2003 and 2013, the cost of family health insurance premiums has increased 80% in the United States. [96] According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 26% of Americans report that they or a family member had trouble paying for medical bills in 2012, and 58% reported that they delayed or did not seek medical care due to cost. [64] According to one estimate of a proposed bill to implement a single-payer health care system in the United States (HR 676), 95% of US households would save money [51] and every individual in the United States would receive guaranteed access to publically financed medical care. [69]


  6. Providing all citizens the right to health care is good for economic productivity. When people have access to health care, they live healthier lives and miss work less, allowing them to contribute more to the economy. A Mar. 2012 study by researchers at the Universities of Colorado and Pennsylvania showed that workers with health insurance miss an average of 4.7 fewer work days than employees without health insurance. [55] According to an Institute of Medicine report, the US economy loses $65-$130 billion annually as a result of diminished worker productivity, due to poor health and premature deaths, among the uninsured. [105] In a Jan. 14, 2014 speech, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim stated that all nations should provide a right to health care "to help foster economic growth." [56]


  7. A right to health care could improve public health. According to a 2012 study in the Lancet that looked at data from over 100 countries, "evidence suggests that broader health coverage generally leads to better access to necessary care and improved population health, particularly for poor people.” [99] In the United States, people are 33% less likely to have a regular doctor, 25% more likely to have unmet health needs, and over 50% more likely to not obtain needed medicines compared to their Canadian counterparts who have a universal right to healthcare. [63] According to a 2008 peer-reviewed study in the Annals of Internal Medicine, there were 11.4 million uninsured working-age Americans with chronic conditions such as heart disease and diabetes, and their lack of insurance was associated with less access to care, early disability, and even death. [65]


  8. Because the United States is a very wealthy country, it should provide health care for all its citizens. Many European countries with a universal right to health care, such as Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and Italy, have a lower Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita than the United States, [47] yet they provide a right to health care for all their citizens. As of 2012, 47.9 million people (15.4% of the US population) did not have health insurance [1] and, according to a June 2013 study, even with the Obamacare reforms as many as 31 million people will still be uninsured in 2016. [46] The United States spent $8,508 per person on health care in 2011, over 2.5 times the average spent by member countries of the OECD ($3,322 per person). [48] With that level of spending, the United States should be able to provide a right to healthcare to everyone.


  9. Providing a right to health care could benefit private businesses. If the United States implemented a universal right to health care, businesses would no longer have to pay for employee health insurance policies. As of 2011, 59.5% of Americans were receiving health insurance through their employer. [66] According to the Council on Foreign Relations, some economists believe the high costs of employee health insurance place US companies at a "competitive disadvantage in the international marketplace." [67] According to the Business Coalition for Single-Payer Healthcare, a right to healthcare under a single-payer-system could reduce employer labor costs by 10-12%. [103]


  10. A right to health care could encourage entrepreneurship. Many people are afraid to start their own businesses for fear of losing the health insurance provided at their existing jobs. The Kauffman-RAND Institute for Entrepreneurship Public Policy estimated that a 33% increase in new US businesses may result from the increased access to health insurance through the Obamacare health insurance exchanges. [57] A 2001 study found that providing universal health care in the United States could increase self-employment by 2 to 3.5 percent. [58]


  11. A right to health care could stop medical bankruptcies. About 62% of all US bankruptcies were related to medical expenses in 2007, [30] and 78% of these bankruptcies were filed by people who already had medical insurance. [4] In 2010, there were 30 million Americans who were contacted by a collection agency about a medical bill. [57] If all US citizens were provided health care under a single-payer system medical bankruptcy would no longer exist, because the government, not private citizens, would pay all medical bills.


  12. A right to health care is a necessary foundation of a just society. The United States already provides free public education, public law enforcement, public road maintenance, and other public services to its citizens to promote a just society that is fair to everyone. Health care should be added to this list. Late US Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) wrote that providing a right to health care "goes to the heart of my belief in a just society." [100] According to Norman Daniels, PhD, Professor of Ethics and Population Health at Harvard University, "healthcare preserves for people the ability to participate in the political, social, and economic life of society. It sustains them as fully participating citizens." [101]
CON Right to Health Care

  1. The founding documents of the United States do not provide support for a right to health care. Nowhere in the Declaration of Independence does it say there is a right to health care. [42] The purpose of the US Constitution, as stated in the Preamble, is to "promote the general welfare," not to provide it. The Bill of Rights lists a number of personal freedoms that the government cannot infringe upon, not material goods or services that the government must provide. [43] According to former Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), "you have a right to your life and you have a right to your liberty and you have a right to keep what you earn in a free country... You do not have the right to services or things." [70]


  2. A right to health care could increase the US debt and deficit. Spending on Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children's Health Insurance Program, all government programs that provide a right to health care for certain segments of the population, totaled less than 10% of the federal budget in 1985, but by 2012 these programs took up 21% of the federal budget. [78] According to US House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), government health care programs are "driving the explosive growth in our spending and our debt." [77] Studies have concluded that the expansion of insurance coverage under Obamacare will increase the federal deficit by $340-$700 billion in the first 10 years, [79] [80] and could increase the deficit to $1.5 trillion in the second 10 years. [81] Even with these expenditures, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates Obamacare will leave 30 million people without health insurance. [82] If everyone in the US were covered under a universal right to health care, the increase in the federal deficit could be even larger than under Obamacare.


  3. A right to health care could increase the wait time for medical services. Medicaid is an example of a federally funded single-payer health care system that provides a right to health care for low-income people. According to a 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, 9.4% of Medicaid beneficiaries had trouble obtaining necessary care due to long wait times, versus 4.2% of people with private health insurance. [102] Countries with a universal right to health care have longer wait times than in the United States. In 2013 the average wait time to see a specialist in Canada was 8.6 weeks, [72] versus 18.5 days in the United States in 2014. [73] In the United States, fewer than 10% of patients wait more than two months to see a specialist versus 41% in Canada, 34% in Norway, 31% in Sweden, and 28% in France – all countries that have some form of a universal right to health care. [24]


  4. Implementing a right to health care could lead the United States towards socialism. Socialism, by definition, entails government control of the distribution of goods and services. [113] Under a single-payer system where everyone has a right to health care, and all health care bills are paid by the government, the government can control the distribution of health care services. According to Ronald Reagan, "one of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine," and once socialized medicine is instituted, "behind it will come other federal programs that will invade every area of freedom." [84] In Aug. 2013, when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was asked if Obamacare is a step towards a single-payer universal health care system, he answered "absolutely, yes." [111] The free market should determine the availability and cost of health care services, not the federal government. [83]


  5. Providing a right to health care could raise taxes. In European countries with a universal right to health care, the cost of coverage is paid through higher taxes. In the United Kingdom and other European countries, payroll taxes average 37% - much higher than the 15.3% payroll taxes paid by the average US worker. [85] According to Paul R. Gregory, PhD, a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution, financing a universal right to health care in the United States would cause payroll taxes to double. [85]


  6. Providing a right to health care could create a doctor shortage. The Association of American Medical Colleges predicts a shortfall of 63,000 doctors by 2015 due to the influx of new patients under Obamacare. [76] If a right to health care were guaranteed to all, this shortage could be much worse. In the United Kingdom, which has a right to health care, a 2002 study by the British National Health Service found that it was "critically short of doctors and nurses." [74] As of 2013 the United Kingdom had 2.71 practicing doctors for every 1,000 people – the second lowest level of the 27 European nations. [75]


  7. A right to health care could lead to government rationing of medical services. Countries with universal health care, including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, [97] and the United Kingdom, [88] all ration health care using methods such as controlled distribution, budgeting, price setting, and service restrictions. [104] In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) rations health care using a cost-benefit analysis. For example, in 2008 any drug that provided an extra six months of "good-quality" life for £10,000 ($15,150) or less was automatically approved, while one that costs more might not be. [87] In order to expand health coverage to more Americans, Obamacare created an Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) to make cost-benefit analyses to keep Medicare spending from growing too fast. According to Sally Pipes, President of the Pacific Research Institute, the IPAB "is essentially charged with rationing care." [89] According to a 2009 Wall Street Journal editorial, "once health care is nationalized, or mostly nationalized, medical rationing is inevitable." [98]


  8. A right to health care could lower the quality and availability of disease screening and treatment. In countries with a universal right to health care certain disease treatment outcomes are worse than the United States. The US 5-year survival rate for all cancers is 64.6%, compared to 51.6% in Europe. [26] The United States also has a higher 5-year survival rate than Canada. [90] Studies have found that US cancer screening rates are higher than those in Canada [90] and 10 European countries with universal health care including France, Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. [25] The United States is estimated to have the highest prostate and breast cancer survival rates in the world. [32] The United States also has high survival rates after a stroke, with an age-adjusted 30-day fatality rate of 3 per 100, lower than the OECD average of 5.2 per 100. In addition, the 30-day survival rate after a heart attack is higher in the United States than the OECD average. [110]


  9. A right to health care could lower doctors' earnings. The Medicare system in the United States is a single-payer system where government pays for health care bills, and between 1998 and 2009 it reduced physician payments in three different years. In 2009, Medicare payments to health care providers were almost 20% below those paid out by private insurance. [91] In Britain and Canada, where there is a universal right to health care, physicians have incomes 30% lower than US doctors. [91] According to a 2011 study, in comparison to US specialists, the average specialist in Canada earned 30% less, and the average specialist in the United Kingdom earned 50% less. [92] Any lowering of doctor payments in the United States could reduce the number of young people entering the medical profession, leading to a doctor shortage.


  10. A right to health care could cause people to overuse health care resources. When people are provided with universal health care and are not directly responsible for the costs of medical services, they may utilize more health resources than necessary, a phenomenon known as "moral hazard." [93] According to the Brookings Institution, just before Medicaid went into effect in 1964, people living below the poverty line saw physicians 20% less often than those who were not in poverty. But by 1975, people living in poverty who were placed on Medicaid saw physicians 18% more often than people who were not on Medicaid. [83] A Jan. 2014 study published in Science found that of 10,000 uninsured Portland, Oregon residents who gained access to Medicaid, 40% made more visits to emergency rooms, [94] even though they, like all US residents, already had guaranteed access to emergency treatment under federal law. [54] Since Medicaid provides a right to health care for low-income individuals, expanding this right to the full US population could worsen the problem of overusing health care resources.


  11. The majority of Americans do not believe there should be a right to health care. According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 56% of Americans do not believe that it is the "responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage." In 2012, Gallup found that 54% of Americans opposed the idea of federally-financed universal health coverage. [4]


  12. People should pay for their own health care, not have it given to them by the government. Under a single-payer system, the right to health care is paid for through taxes, and people who work hard and pay those taxes are forced to subsidize health care for those who are not employed. In the United States, people already have a right to purchase health care, but they should never have a right to receive health care free of charge. Health care is a service that should be paid for, not a right.
Comment Comment
Background: "Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?"
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) marchers supporting health care as a human right
(Click to enlarge image)
Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) marchers supporting health care as a human right.
Source: "Twenty-Seven Arrested at NYC Protest (including 8 from PNHP) Hundreds March for Single Payer Universal Health Care," www.pnhp.org, Mar. 29, 2007
47.9 million people in the United States (15.4% of the US population) did not have health insurance in 2012 according to the US Census Bureau. [1] The United States and Mexico are the only countries of the 34 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that do not have universal health care. [37]

Proponents of the right to health care say that no one in the richest nation on earth should go without health care. They argue that a right to health care would stop medical bankruptcies, improve public health, reduce overall health care spending, help small businesses, and that health care should be an essential government service.

Opponents argue that a right to health care amounts to socialism and that it should be an individual's responsibility, not the government's role, to secure health care. They say that government provision of health care would decrease the quality and availability of health care, and would lead to larger government debt and deficits.

Health Care Spending

In 2012 US health care spending totaled $2.8 trillion dollars and accounted for 17.2% of the US Gross Domestic Product (GDP). [2] The average annual cost of health care for the typical US family of four was over $20,000, [19] and health care costs that year rose at double the rate of inflation. [20] According to a 2012 study from Consumer Reports, paying for health care is the top financial problem for US households. [18] About 62% of all individual bankruptcies are related to medical expenses according to the most recent study available from 2009. [30] According to a 2011 report, of the 34 member states of the OECD, the United States ranks #1 in per capita health care expenditures at $8,508 per person, which is 2.5 times more than the OECD average of $3,339 per person. [17]

US health care spending is financed by a mixture of households (28%), the federal government (26%), businesses (21%), state and local governments (18%), and other private sources (7%). [2] Health care is the largest private-sector industry in the United States accounting for about 13% of the total US workforce. [3]

Protesters at Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, NC, oppose the PPACA
(Click to enlarge image)
Protesters at Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, NC, oppose the PPACA.
Source: "No to Changes: People Opposed to Obama's Proposed Health-Care Reform Protest Outside Hanes Mall," www.journalnow.com, Aug. 4, 2009
Health Care in a Global Context

The United States is one of the world's only developed nations that does not guarantee universal health coverage for its citizens. [31] In 2005 the United States and the other member states of the World Health Organization signed the World Health Assembly resolution 58.33, [16] which stated that nations should "transition to universal coverage of their citizens... with a view to sharing risk among the population and avoiding catastrophic health-care expenditure and impoverishment of individuals as a result of seeking care." [107]

Compared to the 34 nations of the OECD, the United States had the third highest rate of infant mortality (behind Turkey and Mexico), 2.4 practicing physicians per 1,000 people (lower than the OECD average of 3.1), and an average life expectancy of 78.7 (lower than the OECD average of 80.1 years). [21] [23] [17]

In the United States, fewer than 10% of patients wait more than two months to see a specialist versus 41% in Canada, 34% in Norway, and 28% in France. [24] The US 5-year survival rate for all cancers is 64.6%, over 10% higher than the 5-year cancer survival rate in Europe (51.6%). [26] A 2009 study found that the United States had better cancer screening rates than 10 European countries including France, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland. [25] The United States is estimated to have the highest prostate and breast cancer survival rates in the world. [32]

The World Health Organization ranked the US health care system at #37 out of 191 countries in its 2000 report, between Costa Rica and Slovenia. [108] In 2014, the Commonwealth Fund ranked the United States last in overall health care behind (in order) United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, France, and Canada. [109]

Historic Debate on Right to Health Care

Throughout the 18th and 19th century the US federal government did not finance or otherwise provide health care to the public. [5] However, in the early 20th century, a debate over the right to health care began to emerge. In 1915 the American Association for Labor Legislation drafted a series of bills to provide state medical benefits
Ronald Reagan on the cover of his 1961 spoken word record: Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine
(Click to enlarge image)
Ronald Reagan on the cover of his 1961 spoken word record "Ronald Reagan Speaks Out Against Socialized Medicine."
Source: RJ Eskow, "Operation Coffecup: Reagan, the AMA, and the First 'Viral Marketing' Campaign Against Medicare," huffingtonpost.com, Apr. 10, 2007
to low income workers. In 1920 the New York State Commissioner of Health, Hermann Biggs, began promoting public health services at the county level, and Charles-Edward Amory Winslow, the Chair of the Department of Public Health at Yale University, wrote: "I look to see our health departments in the coming years… enable every citizen to realize his birthright of health and longevity." [6] That same year the American Medical Association's House of Delegates passed a resolution officially opposing compulsory health insurance in the United States, [7] with one group of delegates from Illinois calling it a "dangerous bolshevik" scheme. [38]

Government-funded health insurance was considered by President Roosevelt's Committee on Economic Security, but it was never included as part of the 1935 Social Security Act, [6] in part due to opposition from the American Medical Association. [7] In 1938, health care reform to provide universal coverage was proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as an extension of social security, and [33] US Surgeon General Thomas Parran argued that "equal opportunity for health is a basic American right." [6] In Feb. 1939, Senator Robert Wagner (D-NY) introduced the National Health Care Act of 1939 which would have implemented a national health care system, [5] however, the bill did not gain the necessary support in Congress and died in committee. [41]

In 1945, in another attempt at universal healthcare, Harry S. Truman sent a message to the United States Congress asking for a new national health insurance program to be run by the federal government. The voluntary program would have allowed individuals to pay monthly fees in return for coverage of all medical expenses. The program was introduced in Congress as the Social Security Expansion Bill. The bill never passed, in part, due the American Medical Association characterizing it at "socialized medicine." [8] Although a national health program for all US citizens was not achieved, proponents of the plan continued to advocate for government-funded health insurance by shifting focus to providing coverage to Americans over the age of 65 and the economically disadvantaged. [106]

By the early 1960s, debate grew over the King-Anderson bill, a precursor to Medicare, that would have extend Social Security to cover the medical bills of Americans over the age of 65. Ronald Reagan, who opposed the bill, warned in a 1961 spoken word record that "one of the traditional methods of imposing statism or socialism on a people has been by way of medicine." [84] Despite some public opposition, Medicare (the Social Security Act Amendments of 1965) was eventually passed by the House (307-116) and the Senate (77-6), and was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson on July 30, 1965. [106]

In 1971, President Richard Nixon laid out a National Health Strategy to reform the health insurance system and move towards universal healthcare. [11] In a 1972 message to Congress, President
President Bill Clinton holding a copy of his health care reform proposal
(Click to enlarge image)
President Bill Clinton holding a copy of his health care reform proposal.
Source: "Bill Clinton Holding His Health Care Plan," abcnews.go.com, Oct. 28, 1993
Nixon continued to advocate for universal healthcare, arguing that "reform of our health care system - so that every citizen will be able to get quality health care at reasonable cost regardless of income and regardless of area of residence - remains an item of highest priority on my unfinished agenda for America in the 1970s." [10] A competing plan by Senator Ted Kennedy, the Health Security Act, sought to implement a universal single-payer federal health insurance plan to be financed through taxes. [12] Despite their efforts, by the end of the Nixon presidency, no health care legislation had reached the President's desk. [9]

President Clinton brought the issue of national health care back to the forefront in 1993. On Sep. 22, 1993, he delivered a speech to Congress stating that the "most urgent priority" of the nation was to provide "every American health security, health care that can never be taken away, health care that is always there." [14] Three months later the Health Security Act was introduced to move the United States towards the goal of universal coverage by requiring all individuals to obtain health insurance and instituting an employer mandate to provide insurance. [13] The Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) called the act "socialist," and a "forfeiture of our freedom" that would "destroy private insurance." [15] During this same time period other legislators introduced a competing act to create a federally run "single-payer" national health insurance plan. [12] As in the 1970s, none of the plans gained enough support to pass Congress, much less make it to the President's desk.

Obamacare and the Right to Health Care

During a presidential candidate debate on Oct. 7, 2008, [34] then-US Senator Barack Obama stated that health care should be
President Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on Mar. 23, 2010
(Click to enlarge image)
President Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act into law on Mar. 23, 2010.
Source: "Obama Signs Historic Health Care Bill," www.cbc.ca (accessed June 21, 2010)
a "right for every American." In a June 15, 2009 speech [35] delivered to the American Medical Association (AMA), President Obama urged Congress to craft legislation that would ensure coverage for all Americans. After intense debate, lawmakers passed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which President Obama signed into law on Mar. 23, 2010. [36] According to a 2013 White House estimate, 27 million previously uninsured people will gain coverage under Obamacare. [22] A separate 2013 study found that despite the expansion in health insurance coverage under Obamacare, 29.8 to 31 million people would still remain without health care coverage by 2016. [46]

The PPACA did not institute a universal right to health care, and some members of Congress, including Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) [27] and Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), [39] and organizations, including Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) [28] and the American Nurses Association, [40] continue to advocate for the implementation of a "single-payer" health care system in the United States that would guarantee the right to health care for all Americans under a federally run health insurance plan.

According to a Gallup poll that began in 2000, support for a right to health care (financed by the federal government) peaked at 69% in 2006 and shrank to 42% by 2013. [4]
Video Gallery

Michael Cannon of the CATO Institute debates Hoangmai Pham of the National Physicians Alliance over whether there should be a right to health care.
Source: CATO Institute, "Michael Cannon: Is Health Care a Right or Privilege?," youtube.com (accessed June 11, 2014)
Hans Rosling demonstrates the evolution of world wide health care on the BBC showTalking Points Memo.
Source: "Hans Rosling's 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes - The Joy of Stats," www.youtube.com, Nov. 26, 2010
JudyAnn Bigby, former Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, discusses why there should be a right to health care in the United States.
Source: Miller Center Debates, "JudyAnn Bigby, Opening Remarks," youtube.com, Apr. 16, 2008
Andrew Napolitano, Fox Commentator and former New Jersey Superior Court Judge, explains why health care should not be considered a right.
Source: Fox News, "Judge Napolitano Healthcare Is a Good, Not a Right!," youtube.com, Dec. 21, 2009


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