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Healthcare, Privilege Or Right?

Healthcare, Privilege Or Right?

So I’m busy as hell between work and summer semester of graduate school beginning, but I couldn’t let this pass.

Last night apparently was the Miss USA pageant. Setting aside the large issues of objectification of women and our nation’s obsession with sexualizing the female form (exhibit A being one of the judges stating “If you would have been my science teacher, I would have paid more attention in class!”), there was a extremely ignorant response given by the woman who was crowned the winner (probably not a first, but this particular woman has a chemistry degree so one would think she has a grasp on basic logic).

The question was “Do you think affordable health-care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege and why?”

The answer given was:

“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” McCullough responded. “As a government employee, I am granted health-care. And I see firsthand that for one to have health-care, you need to have jobs. So therefore, we need to continue to cultivate this environment that we’re given the opportunities to have health-care as well as jobs to all the American citizens worldwide.”

First, the question was about the affordability of healthcare, not healthcare (meaning access to it) in general. She says nothing about affordability. Her argument for her opinion of healthcare being a privilege is that her experience of being “granted” healthcare shows to her that you need to work for it. So the argument she makes is that being taken care of when you are ill or injured is something you earn through labor.

There are so many flaws in this argument, and the remainder of her answer that it’s hard to unpack it all succinctly. There is nothing about having opportunities in America’s founding documents. Those documents do say “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Since life is the first item in that short list it would be easy to argue that healthcare is a right, and thus access to healthcare being within he financial reach for people is crucial. Otherwise we should change the wording to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if you can afford it.”

I’m not even going to touch her answer about feminism. We have a lot to do as a country to promote critical thinking.


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