Every individual should be able to have the right to a healthy life. However, with the recent debate over healthcare in the United States, it unfortunately seems that healthcare is not considered a right as much as it is a privilege.
Despite the fact that many developed nations across the world, such as Canada and Norway, offer universal healthcare to their citizens, the new healthcare bill proposed by the Trump administration evidences this mentality that the health of a country’s people is not the responsibility of the government. Though proposed as a new and improved healthcare system in place of its predecessor, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), the new healthcare bill leaves even more people uninsured than before and cuts Medicaid.
This raises the question as to why the United States stands adamantly against universalized health care, refusing to follow in the footsteps of the remainder of the developed world. While many remain unmoving in their views on healthcare due to fear of higher taxes, the current healthcare system only benefits the wealthy and greatly disadvantages the poor. With today’s economy containing the largest divide of wealth in America since the 1970s, the healthcare system only fuels this partition by forcing low-income families to pay more for insurance while receiving lower-quality coverage, with the opposite occurring for high-income families.
Despite the fact that one in three people within the United States struggle with their medical bills, the American healthcare system only seems to be further straying away from amending this problem. The current market-based system of healthcare allows for an unequal access to doctors, unequal costs, and overall unequal insurance for people from different socioeconomic levels. While some argue that people should be allowed the insurance they can afford, it is simply inhumane to allow people to suffer medically at the hands of a system that has the means to provide for them.
Some parts of the United States have taken strides toward creating a solution to the shortcomings of both the Affordable Care Act and the bills that have been proposed in this place. For example, Vermont passed a law in 2011 that required the state to guarantee equitable healthcare access for all citizens. Unfortunately, this bill never came into practice, showing that in order to truly change the system a nationwide approach is necessary.
It is time that we stop treating healthcare as less than it is: a human right. It is time that we step up for healthcare.
Zoya Wazir is a seventeen-year-old Muslim-American with a deep rooted passion for social activism and writing. She plans to double major in Journalism and Political Science in order to work toward achieving the change she wishes to see in the American media. In her fleeting free time, she also likes to create art, read celebrity autobiographies, and binge-watch Bollywood movies.