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Pro & Con Arguments: "Should all Americans have the right (be entitled) to health care?"
PRO Right to Health Care
  1. All Americans should have a right to health care because the Declaration of Independence states that all men have the unalienable right to "Life," which entails having the health care needed to preserve life.

  2. Health care is a right for all Americans because the Preamble of the US Constitution states its purpose is to "promote the general welfare" of the people. Just as all Americans have the right to an education, they should have the right to health care because they both "promote the general welfare."

  3. Health care is a human right. 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."

  4. All Americans should have the right to health care as do citizens of other nations. The United States is one of the few, if not the only, developed nation in the world that does not guarantee health coverage for its citizens. [1]

  5. Ensuring that all Americans have the right to health care will decrease health care costs by allowing people to receive regular and preventive medical care and not wait until they are chronically ill to seek treatment when medical costs are much higher.

  6. Providing all citizens the right to health care is good for economic productivity. When people have access to health care, they live healthier and longer lives, thus allowing them to contribute to society for a longer time. The cost of bad health and shorter life spans of Americans suffering from uninsurance amounts to $65-130 billion annually. [2]

  7. Lacking health care can lead people to suffer from anxiety, depression, sickness, and stress, and other symptoms that affect not only individuals, but families and communities of that individual as well.

  8. Health care costs are unaffordable and bankrupting Americans. In 2007, 62.1% of all US bankruptcies were related to medical expenses and 78% of these bankruptcies were filed by people who had medical insurance. [3][4]

  9. Guaranteeing the right to health care will encourage entrepreneurship, which is good for job creation. Currently people are afraid to start their own business for fear of losing the health insurance provided at their existing job.

  10. Health care should be a right because it will promote equal opportunity by decreasing the number of people who are economically disadvantaged in society due to bad health and medically-related financial trouble.

  11. Health care services are crucial to the functioning of a community, just like trash and water services, and should therefore be guaranteed like these services are to all Americans.

  12. The right to health care should be considered a civil right. People should not be discriminated against for being sick. Americans who are ill should not have to make the choice between financial ruin or paying for the medical treatments they need to stay alive.

  13. Coverage of all Americans would best counter or contain the spreading of epidemics such as the H1N1 flu (swine flu) or smallpox.
CON Right to Health Care
  1. Health care should not be a right because it is inconsistent with the Declaration of Independence, which guarantees the right to "pursue" happiness, not the right to happiness or free medical services.

  2. Health care should not be considered a right because the Preamble of the US Constitution states that its purpose is to "promote" the general welfare, not to provide it.

  3. Health care should not be considered a right because it is not listed in the Bill of Rights in the US Constitution. The Bill of Rights lists people's rights that the government cannot infringe upon, not services or material goods that the government must ensure for the people.

  4. It is the individual's responsibility, not that of the government's, to ensure personal health. Diseases and health problems, such as obesity, cancer, stroke, and diabetes can often be prevented by individuals choosing to live healthier lifestyles.

  5. No one should be entitled to health care because it is a service and a material good that a person must pay for to obtain.

  6. Guaranteeing everyone health care will lead to longer wait-times for patients to receive diagnoses and treatment of illnesses, as is the case in Canada and the UK, potentially denying patients with chronic diseases timely medical care. [5]

  7. Providing a right to health care is socialism and is bad for economic productivity. Socialized medicine is comparable to food stamps, housing subsidies, and welfare--all of which is charity. Distributing charity to society makes people lazy, decreases the incentive for people to strive for excellence, and inhibits productivity.

  8. A right to health care is unadministratable because it is too ambiguous what kind of treatment and services should be guaranteed.

  9. Guaranteeing health care as a right will lead to an increase in demand for health care that will decrease the quality of care because health care professionals will be overstretched.

  10. History has shown that granting health care as a right would lead to greater government deficits. Every time the government intervenes in health care, such as with Medicare and Medicaid, there is a greater redistribution of wealth and greater government spending.

  11. If health care is considered a right, then government bureaucrats will be making health, life, and death decisions that should be up to the patient and doctor to decide.

  12. Allowing health care coverage to be driven by the free market without government intervention increases competition and the incentive for providing higher quality medical technology and service.

  13. Providing health care to everyone is a huge expense and may result in tax increases thereby futher harming the economy and individual pocketbooks.

  14. Guaranteeing health care for all Americans will lead to a problem known as "moral hazard," meaning that people will take riskier actions because they know that if they get hurt, they are guaranteed health care coverage.