Is health care a right? Is Medicare for all the answer? Will it work?

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Carrollwood Cultural Center

4537 Lowell Rd · Tampa, FL

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We meet in the conference room on the second floor beside the elevator.

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Medicare for All, or single payer health care, is a hot topic now. There was a first ever hearing on Medicare-for-all in the House of Representatives this week.
Ady Barkan, a 35-year-old activist dying of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurological disease with no cure, who appeared weak and sweaty in a wheelchair and delivered his testimony through a computer because his diaphragm no longer allows him to speak: “The ugly truth is this: Health care is not treated as a human right in the United States of America,” said Barkan, who testified that his care costs $9,000 a month beyond what his private insurance covers, prompting him to resort to GoFundMe campaigns. “On the day we are born and on the day we die, and on so many days in between, all of us need medical care. And yet in this country, the wealthiest in the history of human civilization, we do not have an effective or fair or rational system for delivering that care.”

"Access to comprehensive health care is a human right. It is the responsibility of society, through its government, to assure this right. Coverage should not be tied to employment. Private insurance firms’ past record disqualifies them from a central role in managing health care."
Physicians for National Health Program (PNHP), a 17,000 member national physician organization advocating a universal, single-payer national health program, wrote in their Aug. 30, 2003 Journal of the American Medical Association.

At its root, the lack of health care for all in America is fundamentally a moral issue. The United States is the only industrialized nation that does not have some form of universal health care (defined as a basic guarantee of health care to all of its citizens). While other countries have declared health care to be a basic right, the United States treats health care as a privilege, only available to those who can afford it."
American Medical Student Association (AMSA), wrote in their educational resource "The Case for Universal Healthcare" provided on www.amsa.org

"The hour has arrived to begin anew the Civil Rights Movement, this time for Health Care for All. The Preamble to the United States Constitution and Article One, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution both describe an originating purpose of our United States: to promote the general welfare. Health care is a legitimate function of our government. Health care is a basic right in a Democratic society. It is no more a privilege based on ability to pay than is the right to vote, which was once accorded only to property owners."
Dennis Kucinich, MA, US Representative (D-OH).

"Quality care shouldn't depend on your financial resources, or the type of job you have, or the medical condition you face..."
Edward M. Kennedy, LLB, late US Senator (D-MA).

"Health is not a consumer good, but rather a universal right, and therefore access to health care services cannot be a privilege.
Pope Francis, 266th Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

"People sometimes argue in favor of a universal human right to health care by saying that health care is different from all other human goods or products. It is supposedly an important precondition of life itself. This is wrong: There are several other, much more important preconditions of human existence, such as food, shelter and clothing."
Theodore Dalrymple, MD, Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

"Suppose Congress created a legally enforceable right to health care...
The first difficulty would be to define the scope of that right. Do we have a right to preventive care? If so, health care spending (and taxes) would explode. With the wide variety of tests and treatments, someone must decide where the right to health care ends, lest the nation be bankrupted. Whoever makes those decisions will wield enormous power over people’s health. Who should have that power? "
Michael F. Cannon, MA, JM, Director of Health Policy Studies at the Cato Institute.