October 23, 2018 Substantive Law

Health Care as a Human Right

By Mary Gerisch

Reprinted with permission from Human Rights (43:3), at 2-5. ©2018 by the American Bar Association. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any or portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.

There are rights to which we are entitled, simply by virtue of our humanity. Human rights exist independent of our culture, religion, race, nationality, or economic status. Only by the free exercise of those rights can we enjoy a life of dignity. Among all the rights to which we are entitled, health care may be the most intersectional and crucial. The very frailty of our human lives demands that we protect this right as a public good. Universal health care is crucial to the ability of the most marginalized segments of any population to live lives of dignity. Without our health we—literally—do not live, let alone live with dignity.

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