Healthcare: A human right

Nothing warms the cockles of an American Evangelical’s heart like a well-explained reason to deny government services to the poor.

Bonnie Willis [The Citizen, April 12, 2017, Page A4] convinced us that human rights derive from our creator; that those rights don’t include access to food, to clean water, and most definitely to any government-sponsored healthcare system.

We have those other rights: To peaceably assemble; to bear arms; to petition the government. If we’re a little hungry, or spewing our innards from polluted water, well, at least we have our rights.

I spent about five minutes researching what our creator had to say about human rights. We’re made in his image, so that counts for something. There’s a lot of Jesus being rather abrupt about rich people, and telling us we’re screwed if we act like rich people. Proverbs says: “He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.”

The trouble with Ms. Willis’ tome is that I never heard that softer side of the creator.

Healthcare at the time of the Declaration of Independence (and I daresay it didn’t change much in the 11 years to the Constitution) consisted of this: take two leaches and have your slave notify my slave if you’re still alive tomorrow.

Is healthcare a human right? The creator doesn’t say much about that except for the being kind to the poor bit. However, both Jefferson, in the Declaration of Independence, and Hamilton and Madison in the Federalist, spend some time on the opinion of the nations of the earth.

Presently if you live in a first world country, that being any place in Europe or Australia, you are afforded healthcare by right of your being a human. Some might state it as a human right. All afford it.

Where Ms. Willis sees the future tyranny of a federal government refusing healthcare, those states see the basic humanity in affording life its chance at health, regardless of income.

We do not have universal healthcare in this country because we choose not to have it. We pay more and we have worse results in many cases. If you are a working class citizen and you become seriously ill, you stand a chance of being fired and subsequently losing your healthcare, and then you get to die.

There is nothing right about this. There is nothing Christian about this. There is only the hard-headed team mentality conservatives have adopted to justify their inhumanity.

Ms. Willis couched her debate in semantics. Is healthcare a human right? Perhaps in Darfur it is not so much. But here in the wealthiest country on earth it certainly ought to be.

I have no illusion about changing Bonnie’s mind or the mind of any pious hypocrite who gathers in Christ’s name and disregards his meaning. Jesus cared about people and had very little to say about governments. The tyranny of poverty in the United States is our readiness to sacrifice help, to political dogma.

Food, water, healthcare: If you don’t have those three, there is no point in the rest.

Timothy J. Parker

Peachtree City, Ga.