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A human's right to life is not a valid argument for universal healthcare

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/20/2012 Category: Health
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,192 times Debate No: 25725
Debate Rounds (4)
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I am arguing that refusal to give medical treatment is not a violation of right to life, and thus universal healthcare is not a right. My opponent will argue that right to life does apply in such a scenario, and therefore healthcare would be considered a right.
Round 1 is acceptance
Round 2 is opening arguments
Round 3 is rebuttal
Round 4 is closing statements


The Human right to life is described in Article 6 of "International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights" with these specific terms:

"Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life."

(When I say "right to life" in my arguments, this will be what I'm referring to, unless otherwise noted.)

This means that automatically, if you're a human being, you automatically have a "right to life". This is legally enforced, and anyone who violates it can be punished. Nobody may be deprived of their life based on somebody' s opinion, or due to an impulsive decision.

Health care helps protect someone's right to life, Therefore it SHOULD be a right.

Universal Health Care would help keep this under control, and ensure everyone has the basics to, in the very least, be able to afford to keep themselves healthy, ergo, protection that individual's right to life.
Debate Round No. 1


There are essentially three parts to your argument. The first part is that nobody can have their right to life taken away, the second is that healthcare is a right because it protects your right to life, and the third is that universal healthcare is the most efficient type of healthcare. I will address each in turn.

Your first point is that your right to life cannot be legally or ethically taken from you. This is valid, and I agree with you completely. However, you fail to recognize the difference between 'life' and 'right to life'. You indicate that if you lose your life in any way, your right to life has been violated. This is simply not true. If one were simply to die of old age when they were, well, old, their right to life has not been violated. This is because no force was initiated against their life. If somebody were to shoot this old man, however, this does infringe upon right to life, because force was initiated.

Your next argument is that healthcare protects a right, therefore it is a right. Since this argument rests on the first point being true, I will go ahead and pretend this is the case for the sake of the argument. Anyways, if something protects rights, that does not make it a right. If having an underground bunker protects your possessions, are you entitled to an underground bunker? No. You don't even have the right to a simple lock. These things are not rights. They are privileges. You may go and buy an underground bunker, or a lock, or healthcare, but you are not entitled to them. Since the purpose of a government is to protect the rights of its citizens, it may not give special privileges, as that infringes on the right to liberty.

Finally, you say that universal healthcare is the most efficient means of healthcare. You say that it keeps healthcare under control, and provides the basics to preserve health. Private sector healthcare accomplishes all of these things, but better. Private companies are fueled by voluntary payment, the government is fueled by involuntary taxation, that is likely not to reach the payers. Private companies are able to better meet the needs of customers through competition with other companies, but the government competes with nobody, and can fail the healthcare industry with no repercussions.


1. I agree with both scenarios in the first paragraph, But both of us have failed to mention anything remotely close to your original argument against "refusal to give medical treatment is not a violation of right to life". If a doctor tries to give someone treatment, but they end up dying, the doctor did nothing wrong. The essence of the action has was taking was good hearted. However, if a doctor refuses to give you medical treatment, that would be violating someone's right to life.

"Physicians often feel compelled to terminate a relationship with a patient for reasons such as the patient"s failure to pay for the services, the patient"s failure to appear for appointments or take prescribed medications, the patient"s seeking services that are morally or religiously objectionable to the physician and/or the patient having a communicable disease. A physician"s desire to terminate the relationship, however, must be tempered by legal considerations. While the physician may withdraw from the physician/patient relationship under certain circumstances, the physician cannot just say "no" to providing the patient further care." That would be refusing to acknowledge that that person has a right to life.

Physicians do have the choice to initially refuse treatment, but after a "relationship" between the doctor and the patient is established, legally, they can no longer refuse it.

(By "relationship", I'm referring to the connection that is established where the physician actually sees the patient. A relationship can be impliedly established in many more unexpected ways, even when there has been no direct contact between the physician and the patient. For example, if the physician agrees to treat a patient for a specific condition and schedules an appointment but the patient does not keep the appointment, a physician/patient relationship may still exist. As another example, a physician/patient relationship may similarly exist if an HMO patient"s primary care physician refers the patient to a specialist physician participating in the HMO and the specialist physician"s office gives the patient an appointment at a designated time and place.)

Under these circumstances, refusing to give medical treatment IS in fact violating the person's rights, and if Universal health care was in place, the physician would have less reasons to refuse the medical care in the first place.


2. I understand what you're trying to say, and I agree. It isn't a right, I'm saying that it SHOULD be. Everyone, no matter what their income, social class, race, sex, etc. should be able to get medical treatment for a serious medical condition.

3. Similar to number 2, I understand what you're saying here, and agree with the facts in it. I'm going to use an allusion here. The declaration of independence states that "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." The #1 purpose of the Government is protect its people, and keeping them healthy is part of protecting them. If the government was more focused on helping its people than the useless arguing involved in common politics, We would be a lot better off than we are right now. If the government ran the health care system, they SHOULD be less likely to focus on the income of the system and focus more on the welfare of the people of their country.
Debate Round No. 2


1. Your argument here is that a doctor may not refuse treatment once a relationship has been established, but they are able to refuse treatment before this relationship is established. While this is true, you fail to realize that a relationship goes both ways. Doctor treats patient, patient pays doctor. If the doctor treats the patient, but the patient refuses to pay, there is no relationship in the sense that we are using it in. The same thing goes if the patient pays the doctor for treatment but the doctor does not treat the patient. In your view, if a patient was no longer able to pay the doctor, the relationship would still exist, and the doctor would still have to continue treating the patient. Also, it is worth noting that it may just be in the doctor's best interest to continue treating the patient. Pretend you have a disease, and a choice of two doctors to treat you. Both have the same qualifications and skill level, with one difference. Doctor 1 has a history of rejecting patients who cannot pay, while Doctor 2 has a history of treating his patients even if he makes less than he hopes. You would of course choose Doctor 2, because you want your healer to be invested in your health. Continuing, you say that in a universal system, the doctor would have less reasons not to treat you. I don't understand why, so please elaborate on this in your next argument.

2. You cannot say that something should be a right. Rights ARE. The Declaration of Independence uses the words 'self-evident' and 'unalienable' to describe rights. The 'right' to healthcare does not meet these criteria. The rights you have from birth are the same until your death, and have been for all people; past, present, and future. Those living in the past did not have the same kind of healthcare we do now, and for a long time they didn't have any at all. But they still had rights. Would you say that the people of the past had the right to something that didn't even exist yet? No. So neither do we. I am fairly certain you don't think people are entitled to every single service or product that gets created, but if you think that once modern healthcare came to be, people somehow had the right to it, how do you decide which services people are entitled to? At first it might just be things like food, shelter, and clothing. Then it may evolve into 5 star meals, private mansions, and custom-tailored suits. These things can and will go out of control very easily, so it is best to not start at all.

3. Here, you say that if the government ran healthcare, they could focus on the welfare of their people. But what about the downsides to the welfare of the people? Think of the raised taxes to pay for something this huge. Think of doctors, whose services are worth so much less now that people are entitled to them. Think of the insurance companies, whose services are reduced to almost nothing, now that the government is in charge. And don't disregard this with claims that the insurance companies are just major corporations with too much money. It isn't just the executives. It's the employees, who are likely in the middle class. Many of them will now be out of a job, since the chances of their employers failing has now greatly increased. And even if the company doesn't fail, it will still lay off many employees just so that in can survive. And all of these people are now unemployed because the government took control of healthcare. That isn't looking out for the welfare of the people. That is destroying their welfare.

Also, since our structure fell apart early on, I propose that you rebuttal my points in your next argument, and in the last round we do our closing statements by summarizing our points that we have made throughout the debate.


Frarf forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


There isn't much to say here, as my opponent has forfeited the round. It is apparent that I have won this debate, but I am willing to debate universal healthcare with anybody who stumbles across this debate. If this applies to you, either message me and let me know or just challenge me.

And don't forget to vote for me, because if you do, I will repeal Obamacare!


1. LEGALLY, If the patient-physician relationship described in my previous argument is present, the doctor is OBLIGATED to treat them. At this point, it's part of what they have to do.

Anyway, Jorge Lucas made the star wars films, which were abominations of logic. Vote for ME if you want to not get killed by dat Millenium Falcon.
Debate Round No. 4
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