The Instigator
Borg47
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
milesk12
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

Healthcare should be considered a right to all of a country's citizens

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/11/2016 Category: Health
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 377 times Debate No: 88067
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (0)
Votes (0)

 

Borg47

Pro

Round 1 is acceptance
Round 2 is arguments/cases
Round 3 is rebuttals
Round 4 is defense/closing statements
anyone is free to accept, I'm not an elitist arrogant prick, so I haven't put any limits on who can accept
this is not exclusively about universal vs private healthcare, but the broader idea that, just like the right to free speech or the right to a fair trial, all citizens should have a right to free basic and necessary healthcare
milesk12

Con

I accept the challenge. My opinions on healthcare as a right have changed a lot over the years, so I think it'll be interesting to argue my current views.
Debate Round No. 1
Borg47

Pro

Those rights outlined in the Declaration of Independence are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It seems to me that healthcare is essential to maintaining life, as well as the pursuit of happiness. Without proper healthcare, a person cannot pursue that which they desire to, much less live without worry and stress. Of course, in order to stay alive one needs some degree of healthcare, whether it be administered by oneself of a doctor. Some people can live their life brushing their teeth, taking showers, and exercising, never having the misfortune of contracting a disease or illness. Others however, are not so lucky - and this may not be through any fault of their own. Those people who eat junk food and don't exercise may be at fault, partially or completely, for their poor health, but their are millions of people around the world who are in unfortunate circumstances through no fault of their own.
Take, for example, a young boy with a heart condition. His parents are poor and have no insurance for themselves or their son. The son is at absolutely no fault for his lack of funds or his poor health. With the right surgery, he could survive and live a perfectly normal life, but his parents cannot afford this for him, so he is destined to die at an undetermined time within the next few years. Should the society, although indirectly, deny the boy his rights - those of life and the ability to pursue happiness - just because they feel like they should not be responsible for the well being of others? If so, then what is the point of living in such a society - if we will not help each other, even the most vulnerable and helpless of people, the cohesiveness of that society seems a waste.
There are some who will say a government should exist simply to protect its citizens by enforcing the law, and the rest should be left to the citizens. There are more and less extreme versions of this sentiment, but in any form it assumes that life is not a right its citizens possess. I find this to be abhorrent - to deny people the potential of a long and happy life because they don't have the funds to afford surgery or healthcare. Life is not fair, but should we not attempt to "even the playing field" so that we may hope to achieve some semblance of fairness? Life is not something we should let slip by because of a lack of money.
Regardless of a moral interest in preserving people's well being and life, there is clearly a monetary gain to be had from guaranteeing healthcare. Those countries who have implemented universal healthcare pay drastically less on all forms of healthcare than those countries who primarily use the free market for healthcare. It is cheaper, in some cases, to fly to another country, have a surgery performed, and fly back, than it is to have that surgery performed in America, even with health insurance. Companies who sell medical supplies are overcharging their customers simply because they can, and this hurts both those consumers and the overall economy. Those consumers have less money to spend in other areas, whether it be buying cars or going bowling, because such a large portion of their income must be put towards their healthcare, without which they would die or experience an abhorrent decrease in the quality of their life.
Lack of insurance is clearly a factor in determining one's health, especially later in life. It may seem expensive to use the taxpayer's money to guarantee healthcare, but in the long run it is much cheaper than letting unhealthy people suffer and, in many cases, die.. As an example, take a person who is developing cancer. They can only afford cheaper medicine, and therefore get lower quality care. Because of this, they must keep returning for care. Although the original medicine may have been cheaper, their recurring costs are far above that of the original, higher quality medicine that would have likely resolved the issue immediately. This is the case with many people, especially Americans. They are very unhealthy, and cannot afford high quality care, so they have to scrape together what they can to keep themselves alive. Over time, the money spent on these services accumulate to incredible amounts, and accomplishes nothing but keeping them alive with a low quality of life. Overall cheaper and more effective services may be available, but without the ability to pay the upfront cost, people are stuck in what is, quite frankly, a shitty situation. Shitty health insurance, shitty healthcare, and a shitty life - and in the end, it costs everyone more money, time, and effort. It is a waste.
I have not yet delved into bankruptcies to do medical costs. These bankruptcies are extremely harmful to the economy, and they are only one example of the way a lack of healthcare or poor healthcare can end up costing tremendous amounts.
Some point out, rightfully, that this kind of healthcare access could increase the wait time for certain medical services. Unfortunately, I see this as the better of two evils - will we have people die and receive awful healthcare because they are poor, and let the rich have the high quality healthcare, or will we have a more fair, albeit still awful, system for this kind of medical wait? Roughly 40,000 people die each year in America from lack of healthcare, but far fewer people die from being stuck on waiting lists.
Government control is not always, and usually is not, a good thing for the general public. But healthcare, as demonstrated by other countries, is clearly in its best form when guaranteed to its citizens by the government. Private healthcare produces more evils than I could list on a sheet of paper 10 miles long. All industrialized countries have the ability to give this to their citizens, and it is time that they start to do so.
milesk12

Con

When most people think of healthcare, they think of it as a human right. After all, is it really that different from things like
free speech, for example? I think that it is.

Many people see healthcare as a human right because almost everyone has known someone who has been helped/saved by a doctor. But, once you look at what healthcare is at its core, you can start to see that it is essentially no different from any other business.

At its core, healthcare is just like any other service. I will be using a mechanic as my example. What does a healthcare provider do? A healthcare provider performs a service for someone in exchange for money. A mechanic does the same thing. At this point, most people would say that while someone doesn't NEED a mechanic, someone does NEED healthcare. I am not saying that people don't need healthcare. It is extremely important to be healthy. However, what I am saying is that we technically DON'T need healthcare to survive. And the argument for "what if someone's life is at risk" applies to both the doctor and the mechanic. Maybe someone was going to be driving on a busy highway, and their engine was having problems. Wouldn't they be in danger if their car wasn't fixed? Therefore, is a mechanic's services a right? Again, I think the reason that people see healthcare as a right is because of how many people it saves. But the point I am trying to make is that no matter how many lives a service saves, it is still a service, and therefore not a right. Think about all the rights in the constitution. Freedom of Speech, the Right to Bear Arms, and the Right to Privacy are well-known ones. What do all of these have in common? They all are not services. Again, a service is still a service no matter how many lives it saves.

The other point that I want to make is that when countries make healthcare a right, and therefore fund it, the quality and availability of that healthcare significantly declines. According to the LA Times, a recent study was conducted on the quality of healthcare in various developed countries. The UK "ranked worst for five-year survival rates in cervical, breast and colon cancers. It was also worst for 30-day mortality rates after admission to a hospital for either hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke. On only one clinical measure was it best: the avoidance of amputation of the foot in diabetic gangrene." [1]. It's simple economics. In America, if a doctor is of high quality, he will get paid more/get more patients. This means that doctors all try and do better than the competition, leading to higher quality healthcare for all. If a doctor is of low quality, he will receive less patients, and therefore have to do better. In the UK or Canada, because healthcare is paid for by the government, there is no incentive to do better.

Overall, my main points are:
-Healthcare is a service, and therefore cannot be a right.
-In countries where healthcare is considered a right, the quality and availability of said healthcare is significantly less than countries that have it privatized.
Debate Round No. 2
Borg47

Pro

To your point that healthcare is a service:
You are not wrong, but just because a service is required to guarantee a right, does not mean that right is void of its value. To guarantee the right to free speech, people employ the service of police officers to protect them when they may be attacked during a protest or a rally. To guarantee the right to privacy, people must use a service. On Internet traffic, for example, people will sometimes employ VPNs so that their traffic can not be intercepted. Just like any other service, people pay the owner of the VPN for its use.
To your point about the car mechanic:
No one is in danger of losing their life when they have a car that doesn't run. They are just put in an unfortunate situation that does not allow them to travel long distances. In a case of a heart attack, for example, that person will certainly die without proper healthcare. Or for a different example, someone with cancer will die, very slowly, if they do not receive the proper healthcare. It is not a question of if they will die, but when. Although they may require a service to live, that service is still put in place to guarantee their human rights.
I don't see why a service is automatically disqualified from being a human right. What about the right to a fair and speedy trial? That seems like a service to me - it involves many people working, for monetary gain, as judges, police officers, and lawyers. Just because a lawyer may provide a "service" to its client, doesn't mean that client doesn't have the right to a lawyer.
To your point about universal healthcare being lower quality than private healthcare:
We do not need to abolish the private healthcare system. I am not calling for the abolition of the private healthcare system, although I do despise it. I am calling for a healthcare system that guarantees healthcare to anyone who needs it. This would, of course, include mostly poor and middle class people. However, these people would still be free to pay for insurance or medical services on the private market should they so desire. I am trying to avoid giving an unfair advantage to the wealthy when it comes to healthcare, and a right to healthcare is the first step in doing so. A man should not go into crippling debt because he had a stroke. It is absurd that in a country as rich as America, people should be thrown into life ruining debt and bankruptcy because of an unforeseen medical cost.
Let us assume that the quality of healthcare is vastly inferior in countries with a right to healthcare. Those countries with universal healthcare have overall healthier citizens that those countries who primarily use a private system. Those countries with universal healthcare have less people die each year from preventable and treatable conditions, injuries, and diseases. Those countries with universal healthcare have a less poverty, due in no small part to the burden of paying for obscenely expensive healthcare lifted off of the lower class. Would the quality be less in certain cases - perhaps, but overall, the health of the nation would improve drastically.
milesk12

Con

milesk12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Borg47

Pro

Borg47 forfeited this round.
milesk12

Con

milesk12 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
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