Image by Aditya Romana from Unsplash.

Is healthcare a human right?

Aneurin Bevan said “No society can legitimately call itself civilised if a sick person is denied medical aid because of a lack of means.”

Imagine being asked if you are rich or poor before being offered healthcare.

Just picture it for a moment.

Can you afford this procedure?


Well, I’m afraid you can’t have it.

But I need it… I’ll die without it.

Sorry, if you can’t pay, you can’t have it.

It’s an absurd scenario, isn’t it? And yet it is effectively what happens in the richest country in the world, the United States. I relate some of the horror stories from that country in my Issue 11 article.

At the end of the day, it boils down to something very simple. If life is a human right, then surely that which sustains and protects life is also a human right. Air. Water. Food. Shelter. Healthcare.

It is worrying, and tragic, therefore, that we are living in a developed world which increasingly seems to think that the denial of many of the necessities which sustain and protect human life is acceptable, tolerable, even necessary.

Clearly, when billionaires are vastly increasing their wealth and many of the world’s enormous super-corporations are revealing almost unimaginable profits, there is no civilised reason why everyone can’t receive the healthcare that they need. It is not a matter of cost, it is purely a matter of political will.

Where healthcare is privatised and beyond the reach of the poor, it is vital that all take a stand to demand universal healthcare for all. Where healthcare is threatened with encroaching privatisation and increasingly varied levels of service dependent on ability to pay, it is vital that all take a stand to demand full re-nationalisation and the equality of provision for all users.

Healthcare is a human right. And like every other human right, it must be fought for.

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