Is Health Care a Human Right?

| September 20, 2013 | 118 Comments
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To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDEdspace and end it with #DoNowACA

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

Do Now

Do you think that health care is a basic human right? Should all people, regardless of wealth, have access to quality health care? Why or why not?


Open enrollment in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) marketplace, popularly known as Obamacare, begins October 1. This will allow citizens to shop for the most affordable health care plan in their area by choosing between an assortment of private and public insurance options.

Since the plan was first introduced, the ACA has been highly controversial, with supporters saying it is a major step towards universal health care, and detractors saying it is a major government overreach.

The point of most contention is what is often referred to as the “individual mandate,” which says that all people who currently do not have health care must buy some if they can afford it. Otherwise, they face a fine. Opponents of the law say that the government does not have the right to force its citizens to buy anything.

Many of those who cannot afford to buy insurance will be covered by an expansion in Medicaid, the government-funded healthcare program for the poor. Despite this, there will still be millions of people who remain uninsured, including undocumented immigrants who are not eligible and those who pay the fine without buying their own healthcare. In some countries, particularly in Europe, healthcare is a guaranteed for all citizens, regardless of wealth or income because they consider it a human right necessary for creating equal opportunity.

Indeed, some on the left have criticized the ACA for not going far enough to guarantee healthcare in this country.

What do you think? Students in a previous Do Now discussion debated the question of whether the government should be able to require people to have health insurance. Refer to that as you think of your answers.


PBS NewsHour video Is Health Care Reform a Good Bargain or Burden for Young Americans? – July 23, 2013
Under the Affordable Care Act, getting young people into the health insurance market will be critical to offsetting the cost of caring for older, sicker Americans. Ray Suarez gets two views on how health reform will affect young adults from Jen Mishory of Young Invincibles and Generation Opportunity’s Evan Feinberg.

To respond to the Do Now, you can comment below or tweet your response. Be sure to begin your tweet with @KQEDedspace and end it with #DoNowACA

For more info on how to use Twitter, click here.

We encourage students to reply to other people’s tweets to foster more of a conversation. Also, if students tweet their personal opinions, ask them to support their ideas with links to interesting/credible articles online (adding a nice research component) or retweet other people’s ideas that they agree/disagree/find amusing. We also value student-produced media linked to their tweets like memes or more extensive blog posts to represent their ideas. Of course, do as you can… and any contribution is most welcomed.

More Resources

KQED’s The Lowdown post Explaining Insurance Exchanges and Other Sexy Health Speak – July 11, 2012
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation did a series of short animated explainers on some of the central components of the Affordable Health Care Act. These are concepts that get thrown around a lot in the news but are pretty hard to grasp.

NPR’s Morning Edition podcast House Nears Vote To Fund Government, Defund Obamacare – Sept. 20, 2013
The Republican-controlled House is set to vote Friday on a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for business through the middle of December. And the White House has already said if it makes it to the president’s desk, he’ll veto it. That’s because the bill also would defund the Affordable Care Act.

PBS NewsHour Extra article Fixing the Health Care System Tops President’s Agenda – June 26, 2009
As part of his presidential campaign last year, Barack Obama promised to tackle health care reform, a key issue for Democrats who have been trying to fix the problem of millions of Americans being uninsured as far back as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s presidency but most recently while President Bill Clinton was in office.

PBS NewsHour video In Netherlands, Insurers Compete Over Quality of Care – Oct. 6, 2009
Our global health unit begins a series of reports on the ways other countries are delivering health care. Ray Suarez has the first of two stories on the Netherlands, where the government recently shook up health care.

KQED Do Now is produced in collaboration with PBS NewsHour Extra. This post was written by Allison McCartney of PBS NewsHour Extra.

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Category: Do Now, Do Now: Government and Civics

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About the Author ()

Matthew Williams is a filmmaker and media educator who has recently transplanted to Oakland from Los Angeles. He believes that you are what you eat and feels everyone should have a multitude of dietary options for self-realization. Matthew is the Educational Technologist at KQED.
  • Caitlyn

    I don’t think that health care is a Human Right because it’s like a privilege. If you don’t pay for healthy care then you lose it. I don’t think it’s far for homeless people to get health care for free but other citizens have to pay for it.

  • Caitlyn

    I don’t think that health care is a Human Right because it’s like a privilege. If you don’t pay for healthy care then you lose it. I don’t think it’s far for homeless people to get health care for free but other citizens have to pay for it. #DoNowACA

    • Errol Kelsey III

      I agree, but i think people need it more than us. Anne Marie Bigby switched her plan, and everything was paid because of her breast cancer. If she wanted to switch her plan, the companies couldn’t turn her down or pay her extra for her illness.

    • Abbie M.

      Hypothetically, if you were walking down the street and you saw a homeless man unconscious lying on the sidewalk and a business man in the same situation, shouldn’t both be taken to the hospital and treated for the same thing? Not giving proper health care opportunity to everyone is morally and ethically wrong. It is discrimination in the most basic definition: treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing basedon the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit ( As established in the several Civil Rights Acts of the 70’s and 80’s and the precedents set in the Equal Marriage Acts recently, every human being is granted certain human rights that cannot be taken away based on gender, race, orientation, or income level.

      Out of the 3.5 million homeless people in the United States, more than 40% of these people have disabilities or chronic illnesses ( Many of these disabled, homeless people cannot work, and in turn do not receive health care from their employer or can’t afford to pay for private health care on their own. By implementing a universal health care system, those who do not have the opportunity to seek health care providers will still be able to receive care in case of emergency and can benefit from primary care, preventing terminal illnesses and disabilities. The ACA will not require for everyone to be covered on the federal health care; many middle and upper class working Americans will stay on their private insurance, whereas ObamaCare will make basic health insurance available for the lower income and homeless population. (

      • Caitlyn

        They both should be taken to the hospital because the homeless guy doesn’t have any money so then the people are paying for his hospital bill. The business guy should have money to pay for his hospital bill. Not giving the proper medical health care isn’t really moralyor ethically wrong because if they can’t pay for their health care the. They don’t deserve it. If the homeless people are do disabled then thy should get help from family or friends or the money they get from people on the street.

  • Guest

  • Deja Gray

    Based on the views presented on the video above, I feel as though young American adults are being bamboozled into paying for insurance they may not need, and being forced to pay a fee if they choose not to have Obamacare. You shouldn’t make someone pay for something they don’t use. That’s like paying for a phone you’d never use. In my opinion, giving medical insurance should only be allowed under certain circumstances, such as an unintended circumstance. If you break your ankle, that bill should come put of YOUR pocket, not the pocket of a well-to-do citizen.

    • Mikef

      As I mentioned to Fernando, we pay for auto insurance we, most of us, will hardly ever use. I pay nearly $650 a year for auto ins., which is no fault, on a 1993 Honda. People will be able to get a plan, depending on what state they’re in, for that cost. Is it fair to think of it this way?

  • Jasmin Arreola
  • Fernando Gonzalez

    The government should not have the power to force its people to purchase health insurance. This ObamaCare focuses more on making sure that people are covered than it does on addressing the cost of care in the first place. Why should people pay a fee for something that they don’t want or need?

    • Mikef

      Maybe you’re right, maybe it does focus on coverage as a way of lowering cost than the underlying issue, the extremely high cost of coverage. Ask yourself, why do people buy auto insurance? I don’t need it but once every five or ten years, why should I pay? Can we make comparisons there?

  • Jalen Castrejon

    @KQEDedspace Obama care is not the best way to fix this nations health care considering that in order to insure everybody is covered, there will be more tax on the people. If there is more tax on the people than they will have less money to pay for it,then they will fined because they were not able to pay. Whose fault is that? Not the people. Also the average age in this country is 37 years old so most people in this country will have to wait about 40 years to actually get benefits from obamacare anyway.

    • Mikef

      Good points, but nearly half the country who does have their own, not including Medicaid or Medicare, insurance pays elevated premiums. Your right, it’s not the peoples fault, but it is our problem, the thing we have to do is come up with a reliable way of decreasing medical expenses. Does our eating habits and lifestyle in the U.S. contribute to the extremely high medical costs? When we criticize the government for being too socialist, which is the wrong term used to describe this act anyway, we need to look at ourselves too.

  • Errol Kelsey III

    The number one reason that almost 20 million young adults in the U.S. lack basic health care coverage is the cost of the plans. Many between the ages of 18-35 are still in education, part-time scholars, community college, or else they are recent graduates, looking to secure full time employment. For many of these people, particularly in the current climate, it is difficult to find a full-time job with benefits. So to conclude, it is very difficult for young people to commit to health insurance

    • Mikef

      Your point is well taken, but you must also remember that many of the people who do not have insurance have the potential to raise the cost of premiums for those who do pay by way of the emergency room. Not that it happens everywhere and always, but the potential is there. However, it is difficult nonetheless.

    • Jayson McGaughy

      I really like your post. I had the same exact views, Well said Errol. I feel if someone in charge read your post they would actually feel your writing emotionally. Well said.

    • Olivia J.

      I agree with you. Health Care is a basic human right that every individual should have. Those between the ages of 18-35 can not afford these insurance costs due to the struggle to find a decent paying full time job. I think that Obamacare may not be the most useful plan of action, but it is a step in the right direction. It is very difficult to for young people to even make a living off of the temporary employment they are taking part in, so health care is just another obstacle that the need to fend for. Every person should have the right to obtain health insurance.

  • Michelle Dwyer

    It doesnt make since for us to have to pay for soemthing that we really need. Yes i think that everyone should have health insurance so they can go to doctors if there is a certain medicine that they need. But yet i dont think its fair that the people who can afford to pay for their insurance have to pay the fee. I think that health insuance should be free for everyone and not just make the people who can afford it to pay for it.

  • Austyn Mikolon

    I think Heath care is a human right because we are given the right of life and I look at Heath is a part of life. Also people regardless of wealth should have access to quality Heath because if this was a human right then all people regardless of Heath wealth or anything else should have access to quality Heath care.

  • Andrew Johnson

    I believe that every citizen in the United States should have free health care. I don’t like how the government is forcing people to buy health insurance, and fining you if you do not purchase. The United States should emulate the health care model used in Canada, where most health care is publicly funded and is universal. Even though higher taxes need to be raised in order to fund this kind of health care, it is much better than being forced to pay for health insurance.

    • Jalen Castrejon

      Actually Andrew, if you do not pay for Obamacare you may have to pay less in fines then you would if you actually paid for Obamacare. For some people this may be the better option. Similar to Canada, taxes are being raised due to this form of health care.

      • Andrew Johnson

        My mistake, then. But I want the United States to either abolish Obamacare or to just have universal and free health care for everyone

        • Jalen Castrejon


  • Norisha Edge

    I think that health care is a basic human right and it should be free. Most people probably can not afford health care. Health care plans cost too much. All people, regardless of wealth, should have access to quality health care because people that already have a health condition really needed and others who do not have a bad health condition might catch a bad health condition later in their older years like most people do. This can be a future reference to them. Everyone should have health care because we are all humans and our bodies function the same.

  • DreamerDaniel

    @KQEDedspace Every U.S. citizens should receive free health care because the wages that we get for a job every hour is not enough for us to pay for health care.

  • Faine

    Yes, I think that having health care is a human right. Everyone should be able to have an affordable and reliable health care. I don’t think it’s fair that the government should be forcing people to buy it and then fining them if they don’t.

  • Abigail Yager

    I can understand both sides of the argument. I think that health care is very important and it would be nice if it was free for everyone, but in reality, nothing is free. Someone is going to end up paying for someone else’s health insurance. If it’s the people with more money paying higher taxes in order to have enough money for giving away free health care then that is totally unfair for the people with more money. They shouldn’t have to pay for other peoples problems. If it’s the government funding it then the US is just going to go into more debt (which we already have tons of and definitely don’t want more!)

  • Alexa

    I think that healthcare is a human right. It isn’t fair that just because someone has more more than someone else that they get better healthcare. I also think that the government should force people to buy healthcare if they don’t want it.

    • Fernando Gonzalez

      Why should the government force people to buy health insurance? Just because you think it’s a human right doesn’t give the government the right to force people to do something. ObamaCare is expected to cost $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years

    • Andrew Johnson

      Even though health care is essential for almost everybody, I don’t believe it is a human right. The government forcing the citizens to buy health care just seems wrong. It would be better to have a health care program that is optional, or if there is a health care program that is free and universal for everybody.

  • Jalen Castrejon

    Based on the pricing of Obamacare, you may pay less if you do not choose to pay(in fines) then if you do pay for Obamacare.

  • Jayson McGaughy

    People living in the U.S that are 18-35 are still in education, part-time scholars community college, and money is really hard to come by. In this case it makes health care just another tax on their life along with there everyday needs. We tend to say that welfare is abused and not done in the right way. To these people that try to make their life worth something healthcare should be a right. Don’t eliminate these services to the people that do their work right and still struggle due to lack of healthcare benefits.

  • Carrie

    In 2011 the average person paid $2,196 per year for healthcare. I believe people who don’t want this Obama care should not be penalized. It is a choice to have healthcare. How good is this Obama care going to be?
    Its really important that everyone has access to healthcare that is affordable.

  • Emerson R

    Healthcare is definitely a basic right. Even if you look way back in Article 25 of the declaration it states that everyone has the right to standard living adequate for the health and well-being for people and their families. This answer goes back to a fundamental difference regarding human rights.

  • davidjenny

    All Americans should have a right to health care because the Declaration of Independence states that all men have the right to “Life,” which entails having the health care needed to stay alive. Even The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights states 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.

    • Skye

      I agree. No matter where you are at in life, people go through highs and lows, and they both need help eventually. It shouldnt matter on your wealth or income, it should be given.

      • davidjenny

        I agree aswell.

  • Nick M

    Health Care should be a basic human right. Obamacare may not be the perfect solution we need (many countries offer universal healthcare) but it is a step in the right direction. In the “Rheumatologist,” Dr. Simon M. Helfgott compared Canada to the United States, discovering that, “in 2009 healthcare expenditures per capita amounted to $7,960 in the United States compared with $4,363 in Canada.” The U.S. needs to switch to universal healthcare, and the facts support such a move.

  • Brandon C

    Although ‘free’ healthcare should be a universal right, we as a country would not be able to afford paying the costs of such a bill. The problem lies in the amount of taxes required to support something that already costs thousands of dollars. The majority of the people being supported by the bill would not be paying for it, meaning that income taxes for people with jobs would soar. Those people often need the money to support home and family and shouldn’t have to be paying for someone that they don’t know or indeed care about. Conversationally, the people with jobs often already have insurance so essentially they’d be paying for healthcare that doesn’t care for THEIR health, only someone else’s. It’s non-sensicle.

  • Katie W-S

    Lynn K. ‘s English 9 class: I think Health care should be a right, but the fine for not having healthcare isn’t helping. Either way, you spend money, so it makes sense WHY they have the fine, but it doesn’t really help.As many others have pointed out, many other countries have universal healthcare and we’re kind of behind on that.

  • Madison.s

    Lynn K. ‘s English 9 class: I do think healthcare should be a right. However i don’t see the good in this plan. Most people who are younger can’t commit to such a long term payment plan, also they have different needs than the older generation. I believe it is our duty to help our older generation, soon we will be in their position. The plan is obviously flawed and the fine in not having health care is not going help.

  • Garret M.

    I believe that health care should be a human right. extinction is caused by health and environmental problems, but we have the technology for making sure humans can be healthier and live longer. so why not do it for free? why not save as many live’s as possible? Because they have no money? That is not reasonable, nor is it humane. Let us become a nation that provides for the people, and saves the unhealthy people, so that they can work and become a greater part of our country.

  • Alex M

    Health care is and should be a human right. Universal health care for all citizens is something this country really needs, and while Obamacare may offer some benefits, I don’t believe forcing people to either purchase health care or pay a large fine is the right way to go. Instead of forcing fines upon millions who can’t (Or won’t) afford health care, it should be made more affordable and accessible for these people.

    • Cierra Hill

      i agree

  • Jake N

    Lynn K. ‘s English 9 class: Health Care should be a Human Right. Like other countries such as Canada that provide free Health Care services, but the downfall is a fee if you don’t have a Health Care plan which the government should not have the power to do. Not everyone can make more then $10,000 a year and cant afford a Health Care plan then get a fee for not having any plan at all.

  • sean.leonard

    The long term benefits will out weight the long term disadvantages.

  • Sarah C

    Lynn’s English 9: Health care should be a right, but it’s not fair to punish us for not buying insurance. What if one can’t afford it?

  • Kennady Paige

    If people sign up for this medical care and they really need it, they should get it. This is America! Opportunities are endless and for them to with held something that their citizens need to servive is out rageous.

  • Sayuri F.

    While I am unsure as to whether or not healthcare is a human right, i do believe that the decision to have healthcare or to not is. The fine that the government is forcing upon citizens certainly seems a step in the wrong direction. People should not have to pay or feel pressured to make a choice if they do not want to. Especially if all you are paying for is not choosing to buy insurance. Of course it is not an issue of whether or not people can afford it (because if you read above you would know they are only doing this to people who can afford it–the middle and upper class), but rather an issue of how far our government is willing to go before it comes up with a solution that bullies us into buying stuff and strips away the basic rights of human beans

  • Guillermo Ruiz

    It is my personal opinion that not every one should be forced to receive health. It better to have health care than to not have health, but there are some people who are in great medical condition that would not benefit from having health insurance. But since we do not know when an accident could happen some people in great medical condition could end up paying thousands for a car accendent.

  • Aitor iriso

    The government needs its people. The people need health care. I believe that the government and the nation needs to function and does best with healthy citizens. Health care should be given to the people because everyone deserves equality and it is in the best interest that everyone is healthy. However if everyone is healthy, doctors would be short patients and hospitals would be vacant. That leaves the money to be used for health improvement and the survival of humankind.

  • maria

    I think that health care should be a universal human right. Regardless of class or wealth, people should have access to quality health care. Even if Obamacare isn’t the best solution, at least it recognizes the growing problem for most of the lower class in America.

  • Kristy L.

    I think Health Care should be a basic human right because ObamaCare doesn’t solve the problem referring to health care needed to survive life. Everyone can live how they want it to be. Nobody can change and risk their life. Life should be wealthy and healthy so people can survive.

  • David Ayarra

    Well this doesn`t seem fair. I agree that we should have healthcare as a human right, but being fined for not having it? that’s just a lame idea for the government`s way to try to sneak our money to him. Some people cant afford it this seems like a “give or we take”.

  • Kai Sugioka-Stone

    I think that Health care SHOULD be a basic human right, since everyone needs to live healthy to live at all. Let’s say you’re someone who is homeless and broke or you have a disorder or very bad sickness/disease, and you don’t have enough to pay for it. Maybe they deserve no health, or maybe they do. But from what I know, the majority of people who can’t buy health care are perfectly nice people that need health care, I think the majority vote of people wins this, meaning everyone should have health care Regardless.

  • Lynn ACLC

    Lynn K: Great discussion in classes today which certainly reveal the complexities of this issue. One class made a suggestion that you all could reply below this comment so that your comments are easy to find. Please do that or feel free to comment on one of the many comments below. Also a learner sent me a link which brings up some interesting point. Definitely worth listening to and would be great to fact check if you have time on your hands: Can’t wait to see your comments!

    • Angela Kim

      I am pretty split on this debate because I have such opposing viewpoints. I do believe that health care is a human right and everyone should be able to be covered, regardless of their wealth or status. Health care has become increasingly unafforable for many Americans, a fact that should concern all of us. People who already have an existing health care plan will still get coverage while people who don’t will have the opportunity to get coverage. But at the same time, it’s not technically free. We will have to pay higher taxes or have spending cuts in another area. Also, forcing people to adopt a health care program is unconstitutional. The government cannot FORCE people to do something they do not wish to do. There are many Americans who adamantly do not want a health care program for whatever reasons and they should be able to have the choice not to adopt it. But health care coverage is never a bad thing in our lives. It will be there for us in times of need.

    • Mike Phan

      I believe health care should be a human right. Why i chose health care to be human right is because most countries out of the U.S are getting health problems. And i also think the government is trying to make money from us by not making health care a human right.

    • Koii Benvenutto

      I believe health care should be available to all americans who want it. I do not believe there should be a fine for those who choose not get it. It only sets back those who are already to poor to pay for it. Is forcing someone to buy something the “American” thing to do?

    • Quincie Bean

      I do not think healthcare is a basic human right. I do think it is
      important and that as a society we should do what we can to provide

    • Kevin Amarbayar

      The healthcare is human right that should be available to everyone. While it is very idealistic to have universal healthcare in United States, I don’t agree with the method they are attempting to make it so. Young people should not have to pay for poor or old or anyone who is unable to afford healthcare because first of all healthcare is not something we need but secondly it is not within our interest to pay and cover for someone we don’t know.

    • Glen Taggart

      I do not have an opinion as to whether or not healthcare is a “basic human right”, because “basic human right” is somewhat of a vague and confusing concept to me. I do, however, think that

      • rianne richie

        I think health care should be a right, that everyone can have regardless of anything. Health care ensures that people get more check ups, and treatments at a faster rate. health insurance also makes sure, that people get the necessary treatments that could save lives.

        If people have health insurance, it means the state can pay less, and worry less over medical expenses.

    • Jenny Tran

      Right. So I love playing Devil’s Advocate. Health Care is a luxury within the realm of reality that exists as the basis of relativity in the modern day world as well as throughout recorded human history. As the population of the planet exponentially increases at an unparalleled rate, is has become almost ludicrous to believe that human health retains the same meaning as it held a century or two beforehand. There are more and more opportunities to spread bacteria, viruses, death itself on a planet that constantly upholds ideals which almost conclude into a nonsensical futility. As members of a “first world” country, we cannot truly feel the pains of experience that 1/3 of the world face as truth every single moment of their existence. The agony of a rotting mouth from lack of dental care, the grief of a child in a preventable miscarriage, the bloated stomachs of a malnourished child. To not recognize that Health Care on the Planet Earth today is denying oneself of facing the problem head on. Do I believe it should be a right? Perhaps not, due to the inescapable fact as humans that a right is something one must keep fighting to retain over and over. Do I believe it should become a mandatory opportunity open to every living BEING whether an abandoned dog in a ditch or a human being with a gun wound… then yes, but it is a future that must be accomplished for the lowest in society, the shunned, the pitied, and the ones most desperate first before ever dreaming it possible becoming universal for the common being.

    • Sophia Starling Shirley

      I would like to say that we should have a socialists health care system where everyone has free health care and the taxes are higher and proportionate among the different classes. How ever our country is so terribly corrupt with the lobbyists and the biased politicians. Honestly if we were to have an efficient and healthy health care system we would need to completely up root our system. I believe that health care should be a universal right, but the health care we have and is about to be implemented doesnt satisfiy that need.

    • Kobe Hutchinson

      Health Care is a choice, not a law or right. If one chooses to, he/she should be able to get health care. But if they shouldn’t get fined for not having it either. Having Health Care is a choice that should be available to all others and should not be denied, nor forced upon someone. If one has not Health care, then it is their loss.

    • Leia O’Dell

      We need to have the right to choose whether or not we want access to the benefits of healthcare without being confronted by the government with ridiculous fines when I don’t want to pay for other’s bad health decisions. The choice to choose to be healthy or not be healthy is the human right, no one can take that choice away from us. It is not a right to receive healthcare for free, which is what we’d be doing if we are paying a fine instead.

    • Aaron Hom

      I think that health care should most definitely be a basic human right and that the good things about this reform outweigh the bad things. It is a great way for people to find the health care plan that is the most affordable for them. Honestly, I’d rather get a small fee per month than to get a whopping multi-thousand dollar hospital bill. However, I do however do not agree with the fact that they are making people buy healthcare. People should have a choice with the important aspects of their lives such as this. Reforms like health care that affect everyone in the world should be without the influence of big corporation’s lobbyists because it’s for the greater good, not for the scheme of some company’s plan to get rich quick.

    • Jessica Wu

      I think Health Care is basic human right. Everybody should have access to health care, regardless of wealth and income, since it will ensure Americans’ health and give people equal opportunities to be healthy. People will have access to lots of free medical treatments which are really beneficial, but people shouldn’t be forced or obligated to buy health care. People should have choices on whether they want health care, or what kind of health care they want to get. Regardless the bad side of Obamacare, the good side still outweighs the bad; it’s a step towards better health care in United States.

    • Aidan Chin

      I believe that health care should not a right or requirement, but a choice. People should have the ability to choose whether or not they want health care, and if so, the kind of health care that they want. However, I can see why some might want health care to be a requirement. The thing about health care is that it costs money, whether through insurance that you pay for, or hospital fees that you might need to pay. The difference is when you have to pay money. Say a person was badly injured in an accident, and had to go to a hospital. They are likely under a great deal of stress mentally. Having to deal with any hospital fees because of a lack of health care could just stress them further. If they do have some sort of health care, then they do not need to worry as much about whether or not they can afford their treatment.

    • Evelyn Jo

      I am still contemplating this debate because I believe health care should be available for everyone, but it should not be mandatory. Having a fine for those who do not buy healthcare is doing the opposite of what healthcare is set out to do which is to help people with basic needs. However, I also think that everyone should have healthcare as a basic right, or at least cheaper than we have it now. Like Korea’s healthcare policy, everyone should have access to healthcare, and the small payment for healthcare could come out of their employment money. My aunt goes to the hospital whenever she suspects something’s wrong with her and pays barely anything because of the strong healthcare policy set up in Korea. If America were to do something like that, many people could be treated and not worry so much about finance and bills.

    • Thackeray Engberg

      Human healthcare absolutely should be a basic human right. We all deserve to be healthy and if we get sick, we should be given healthiness by the magic doctor wizards. But, that does not mean that the government can force us to buy it. The right to bear arms is a basic human right in our country, but the government does not give you a fine if you don’t go and obtain one.

    • Brendan Champlin

      Should health care be a human right? In a perfect world, yes, and its something our nation should aspire to. However, the practicality of this right is a more difficult question. The United States has had a for profit medical-industrial complex has made insurance and basic medical care extremely expensive for the uninsured as a result of control from large private insurance groups. Would universal health care solve this issue? Only time will tell.

    • Joshua Dickey

      I think Health Care is a basic human right that all people, regardless of wealth, should have. The U.S. declaration of independence describes life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness as unalienable rights. Healthcare falls under the right to “life”. The country must do everything within reason to keep it’s citizens healthy, therefore, healthcare is a right, not a privilege.

      • Christy Rogge

        Food is also a right to “life” should all food be free also? NO! If you want to eat steak for dinner you work hard for it? If you don
        t work hard for it .. you eat raman noodles!

    • Patrick Melendez

      I do not agree with the
      Affordable Health Care Act. The ACA makes people pay for health care and
      medical insurance. I believe people should have access to affordable medical insurance. Medical insurance covers catastrophic injures and
      catastrophic medical emergencies. Health care covers things like routine check ups. Health care is not particularly needed for “health people.” There are many other problems with the Affordable Health Care Act. For example, doctors are given a lot more paperwork to show compliance (which they do not get paid more for). Some states, like California, came up with the solution to “help” the overworked doctors by giving pharmacist the power to prescribe medication. This is a problem because pharmacists do not have M.Ds meaning they do not know how to prescribe medicine. A better solution to make health care more affordable would be to have the government own all of the vaccines. Vaccines are a major component to the cost of health care so if the government owned them health would be a lot cheaper (not to mention the distribution of vaccines would be easier). So in conclusion, do I think health care is a basic right, not exactly. Should people have access to affordable health care, yes. Should people be forced to buy health care, no. And is the Affordable Health Care Act the right solution, no.

      • Brent C.

        In Pharmacists defense, they have received a specific degree in the field of pharmaceuticals, which means that they often have an even better working knowledge of the medicine they are prescribing. With this said, I too agree that the ACA is not the right solution to the nation’s health problems, and I definitely think that it shouldn’t be abused if the nation is to stay under the direction of ACA, which you mentioned with the “Check-ups” idea. There is a very good point you also bring up between what heath care should really include when you talk about health care vs. health insurance. Should every American be able to have Catastrophic medical Emergency Operations paid for?

    • Jack Duffey

      Health most definitely should be a human right. Every American should know that they are not invincible to virus and disease. Without health care, the death rate of Americans will rise, and the population will either fall or not change.

    • Ashton Paulus

      I think healthcare should be a human right, but to force it on people is not the right way to do it. The young people of America won’t buy the insurance, they will just pay the fee and opt out. If this happens all across America, which it most likely will, then the only people who will be using Obamacare will be the people that are deathly ill and no other health insurance company will take. If only sick people buy the insurance, then this plan won’t work. They will suck dry all the money out of Obamacare on expensive treatments, medicines, and treatments

    • Jordan L

      In a country where individualism, and self determination are so important, I think universal healthcare is a no-brainer. An injury or disease hindering someone from achieving their American Dream seems outdated because of our medical technology; since we have the resources to heal them I think doing so is the American thing to do. Complaining that people are forced to pick one is sort of ridiculous because they are already forced to pay taxes for police, firemen, etc. and I don’t think this is really any different.

    • Mia Gerson

      I believe that health care should be all people rights poor or wealth because for the poor they might have some disability or a disease that can be cured with medicine because they have health care and if they don’t have health care because they have to have Million’s of dollar’s to pay for health care but for Obama care they have low prices and options for them to have health care

    • Kenneth chow

      I believe health care is essential to all US citizens. Although it should not be forced, it is it will cause problems and struggles. If everyone was given health care then it would cause working families to pay more in taxes. Even working families may not have the money to pay more than their previous tax amount.

  • Aria-grace B

    I think Heath care is a human right. If we have the resources to help anyone get to a better health we should, it’s only common help and respect. But to make young people responsible for older people’s health care I think is alittle unfair. Health care should be at a customized affordable rate for everyone in my opinion.

  • Martin G.

    I think Health Care should be a basic right, for all countries!

  • Liona L.

    Lynn’s 9th grade ELA class: I do not think health care is a basic human right, but I do believe that all people, regardless of wealth, should have access to quality health care. In general, a healthy country comes from healthy economics; a healthy economics comes from healthy labor productivity; a healthy labor productivity comes from healthy workers; and workers are healthy due to quality health care. To sum it all up, quality health care may influence a better and healthier country.

  • Tina T.

    I think that health care is a basic human right because many people who get hurt and doesn’t have insurance would have to pay a huge sum of money which is not good than having insurance and doesn’t have to pay a large sum of money. The Obama care is a good thing and bad thing because many people and teens are forced to get insurance but when they can’t afford it, then the people who has insurance and payed for the insurance would give some of their money to a person who doesn’t have insurance and can’t afford it. But overall I think that many citizen should have an access to health care to keep healthy.

  • Allen Z

    Health Care is not a basic human right, but the people should be able to buy health care because of the high costs it takes to spend even a day at the hospital. The costs for night at the hospital are 7 times more than other countries. Health care is also one of the biggest drags on the american economy so if we fix this and have a better system we can have more money towards other things like inventions or schools. So in conclusion, I believe that health care should be available to the public regardless of their income and people shouldn’t be fined if they didn’t not purchase health care.

  • Jessica Nguyen

    Lynn K.’s English 9 class:
    All human beings have the right to be healthy. I believe that healthcare should be a part of the government’s role to uphold the “unalienable right” to life. Penalizing people for not being able to pay for healthcare is very demanding, especially with the current economy. I find it unreasonable for such a thing to be passed; forcing someone to pay a fine for something they choose not to have is unfair. Health insurance should not just be made for people who can afford to pay for it. What if the individual could not pay for that, who will? In order for every single American citizen to be able to have the health insurance they need, it would have to be free. But unfortunately, nothing is absolutely “free” in this world. Ultimately, healthcare should be available to anyone in need, but it is what the individual thinks is best for them that matters the most.

  • Cheyenne Hair

    I do not believe Health care is a human right. We can’t keep giving the government power over our lives. If we make health care a human right we are just giving the government too much power over our lives. Besides if we just give people things it gives them no incentive to work.

  • Lina Anderson

    To protect Americans’ rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness requires them to be healthy.

  • Chelsei White

    I think health should be a basic right for all citizens. I also know all people regardless of wealth, should have access to quality health care. I think this because if there wasn’t for sick people hospitals wouldn’t be in business today and causing a lot of people loosing their jobs. So why not allow people to get health care no matter what their income looks like.

  • Ryan Ruck

    @KQEDedspace In my opinion health care should be a basic human right especially for citizens I just fell that along with all the other rights given to us we should be guaranteed the right to a doctor in case some thing goes wrong with us and while some our complaining about the price I believe a country who spends millions on war should find a way to pay for health care #donowaca

  • Ryan Ruck

    @KQEDedspace In my opinion I do not believe that just wealthy should get healthcare I believe that those who work hard deserve healthcare I don’t think money should be a
    big factor #donowaca

  • Eli Peña

    Eli Pena
    period 2
    1) I think health care is a basic human right, because regardless of any factors and influences, everyone deserves to be treated or cured, economic status should not determine whether an individual can get medicine or surgery when encountered with a health issue. It’s tragic to see that people can’t go threw with surgeries simply because they can’t afford it. Everyone’s economic situation differs, and if the money is available then it’s only fair to have more benefits, but basic health care is a necessity for all.
    2) Everyone should have access to health care, that seems like the fairest way to go about it. Private insurance is available for those who can afford it, but no one should ever be deprived of medical attention because of their class or situation. A system would have to be put in place, which is why i believe Obamacare is extremely important.

  • Selena Olguin

    Selena Olguin
    Period 5.
    1.) In my opinion, I think that health care is a basic human right. Every person should have accesibility to health care when it is needed. If someone has an accident that requires immediate care or if someone develops a disease for no fault of their own, they should be cared for fairly and equally without having to worry about cost.
    2.) All people, regardless of wealth should have access to quality health care. There should be a standard level of health care that is available to every person no matter if they’re well off or not and it should be of quality level. I also think that it makes sense for people who are more wealthy to be able to pay for health care that has added benefits.

  • Chiamaka O.

    Healthcare is an insurance for an instrumental factor of one’s right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. Good health is wealth of itself. Good health is priceless and cannot be compared to diammonds and rubies. All persons, irrespective of wealth and creed, should have access to quality healthcare. Medical healthcare has become more and more integral in the maintenence of one’s good health. The human life is highly valuable, in my opinion, and should be just as valuable— if not more— to all other humans. And if the human life is of any value, then affordable healthcare should be of much importance.

  • Luke Crandall

    I think that everyone should have good quality healthcare, rich or poor. I do not enjoy the government’s concept about what’s going on, and they should be able to give everyone healthcare, especially with all of the money they take away from us.

  • Daniel Bautista

    It really does seem like a question to everyone, even though there is a perfectly good answer: yes. Every person needs that security, that knowledge that if something happens to them, they’ll be able to get through it okay.

    • Skye

      I agree. couldnt have said it better!

  • Reed McCoy

    I don’t think that people should be forced to buy healthcare (if they can’t afford it) ,but that’s why there is the affordable health care act. 20,000+ Americans die as a result of having no health care, so why do we worry about the petty taxes we would have to pay for it? This act might force people to buy health care, but for them it will come at a much lesser price than you think. This is a right that all people deserve, and no one deserves to die simply because they couldn’t pay for themselves. You can’t pretend that this atrocity continues to happen, because that would be foolish and ignorant. It’s very much like how the rich favor themselves and are blind to the problems of the middle class, just like we (the middle class) are blind to the lower classes. Countries like Sweden and Canada have better and freer health care than we do, so what is the problem? Why can’t we let change happen instead of letting things continue as they were? The problems with Obama-care (like taxes) are so minor in comparison to the good that it would cause. It’s not about the money big insurance companies make, its about saving lives. Your tax dollars do matter, whether you like it or not. The Government shouldn’t force people to buy it, but rather encourage it greatly, which it is doing a good job at. Remember, you have a choice about what you want, but you should choose the one that helps the people who are much less lucky than you.

  • Andrew Ortega

    Making people have there own health insurance is not right everyone who cant afford it should be able to have it. For people who cant afford it if they have a job then there job should be able to give it to them. Also i think if there are people who cant afford anything, if they get into a acciedent that isnt bad then they should get the care they need.

  • Cierra Hill

    Healthcare is not a need for human rights.

    • Skye

      I disagree. Health care is not only a need, its accentual. Say your grandparents or even your young child gets injured in an accident, and you are not in a financial state to be able to afford the treatment he/she needs. Then what..?

  • Brianna Harden

    This is Brianna Harden. Health Care is not a basic human right. I do believe that it should be offered as a affordable rate but if health care becomes a human right than cell phones would be, computers, and cable television. Health insurance is not something that can just be blanketed on the American people.

  • Brent C.

    Health is undoubtedly a human
    right. It is not only a right, but a human instinct to pursue the path in which
    it will thrive. With that said, Health Care is not necessarily a human right.
    To receive care from others, especially without compensation, is not something
    that people are born with, is not something that cannot be taken from them, and
    it is not an entitlement that all humans should or do have. It is always a
    difficult discussion to have when two men or women of seemingly equal
    backgrounds have such different fortunes and privileges, though sometimes it is
    either necessary to discriminate based on wealth, or impossible not to. The
    Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is based on a great idea, with good
    intentions, and is, perhaps, a step in the right direction. I do think,
    however, that priority concerning timing of operations and care, especially
    concerning organ transports, should be given to those who can pay for the
    operation immediately, perhaps even beforehand. When we do not give priority to
    those who can afford the operations, care, and medicines they need, then the
    medical system becomes a battleground for those who can even get time to talk
    to a physician. Perhaps the worst possible outcome is the timing of it all.
    When people are able to have complex and expensive medical procedures without
    having to worry about finances, then everyone who needs, or thinks they need
    the procedure will back up the physicians who can prescribe it and the surgeons
    who can perform it. Our society is one of Capitalism. Our country was founded
    on it, and the innovations that our nation has become known for and proud of
    can be attributed to the can-do attitude of those seeking a new, and better
    future in which everyone must work to make a living. When our Capitalistic right
    and attitude is taken away from us, and those who have succeeded in their
    financial pursuits are unable to use their own resources to their advantage to
    survive, then our country will have a difficult time indeed finding its
    purpose. Obamacare is just a few of many examples leading us away from the
    American, capitalistic dream, and perhaps with a few adjustments, and the
    government’s willingness to return to those ideals, America could continue to
    fuel the dreams of those living in its land.

  • Skye

    I think that heath care should be available to everyone regardless of
    their wealth because in event of an accident, injury, etc. Having this
    heath care would really help people. I am a huge advocate for equality,
    so limiting the access to these plans would not be fair. No matter how
    rich or poor someone is, I think it is very important to get quality
    care and attention. People want to live a long healthy life and everyone
    needs support.

  • Skye

    I think that health care should be a human right. During the case of an emergency or injury everybody should have access to health care, regardless of wealth and
    income, since it will ensure Americans’ health and give people equal
    opportunities to be healthy. People will have access to lots of free
    medical treatments which are really beneficial, but people shouldn’t be
    forced or obligated to buy health care. People should have choices on
    whether they want health care, or what kind of health care they want to

  • Cierra Hill

    Health Care is a basic human right everybody should have equal opportunties to health regardless of any situation.

  • Tallulah Blue

    I believe that health care is a human right and for those who can not afford it they should not have to pay a fine that maybe more expensive for them. Though I believe we should try to encourage everyone to get healthcare for affordable plans they can afford. I also think that just because someone is young doesn’t mean they don’t have to get healthcare they can’t tell the future and see what day they are going to get injured.

  • Heather

    I think every human should have an health care because they need it for themself also for there childern.Even if they didnt have healthcare they would apply for it so why not have it!!

  • Brittney Herron

    I think heath care should be for everyone no matter the age nor
    how much money you get a year I think that the people that have a illnest
    should be payed way more attention to than other people who don’t because alot of people have illnest and that means with out heath care they’ll die

  • Jasmine Orozco

    Jasmine Orozco
    Gov-Period 6
    1) Yes, I do think healthcare is a basic human right because people should be entitled to affordable healthcare. For example, if you get in a car accident you should not have to be worried about the costs of having to get medical attention.
    2) Yes, I do think that all people regardless of wealth should have access to quality health care because everyone should have the right to get prescribed medicine or go to a doctor for health concerns. However, I do not believe it is fair that you have to pay a fine if you do not have healthcare because not everyone has health problems, mostly young adults.

  • Lindsay

    Lindsay Curlett
    Gov. Period 6
    1) Yes, I think healthcare is a basic human right. I think it’s a basic human right because no one should have to get something they don’t want to especially if you have to pay for it yourself. I don’t think that it is fair to have a burden put on you like that if money is a major struggle.
    2) Yes, I think that anyone should have access to quality healthcare regardless of wealth. Like I mentioned before, money is a major struggle for so many people today and healthcare should be accessible to those who cannot afford to pay a higher amount for recommended top quality healthcare. Anything can happen with one’s health, and insurance is so important to have.

  • Amanda Isabel

    Amanda Isabel Period 6 ;
    1) I do believe health care is a basic human right. I believe that it should be a basic human right because many of us get sick, and it has got to the point that we have to depend on health care insurances to help us pay our bills, even prescription. The cost of living has become really expensive…but making sure the people who live in the United States are healthy, is much more important and should be taken care of.

    2) How do you determine someone is rich or poor? All people should have access to health care! Why do you have to pay a fine if you don’t? Many of us are lucky and have jobs that will cover the costs, but then many of others don’t! So why should we have to determine how much is taken out of someones pockets just to make sure everyone who “deserves” to have insurance, has in insurance. It shouldn’t be determined by wealth, its being labeled and honestly, making it seem as if the affordable health care is on a side.

  • Gabriella Cantrell

    Gabriella Cantrell Period 2
    1. I believe that healthcare is a basic human right. Its party of the American ideal of equality for all. No one on earth is invincible. Every one gets sick! Lack of healthcare makes situations where patients refuse to go to the doctor and their condition gets worse or is passed on to someone else. Spread of viruses can sometimes be prevented by a simple trip to the doctor who provides antibiotics which is also covered by health issuance. The hospitals lose money when they treat patients in the emergency room to later find out that they don’t have health insurance and have no means to pay for this service. They also have to refuse some patients care who are terribly ill and this is hard for anyone with morals to stomach. It has to be a basic human right or there should be no healthcare if people are exempt from it. This would result in a reduction of health costs which will cause problems in the economy because healthcare is a huge portion of economic support; therefore, equality should be made with healthcare.
    2. Wealth should not determine who should receive healthcare. If there are no more poor people surviving to work of the wealthy people then what will be the validation of their wealth? There has to be a lower class in order for the economy to keep circulating so if they are denied healthcare because of this and end up slowly diminishing in population then the economy will suffer. Every one has to remain equal in terms of health. Everyone deserves their life and deserves the benefit of remaining healthy.