Is Health Care a Right?

Every US citizen has the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. What about health care? Surgeon and New Yorker writer Atul Gawande returned to his hometown in rural Athens, Ohio, to find out what people there thought.

Even some who’d suffered through high health costs answered, “No.” Many residents viewed Medicaid, which provides health care to low-income Americans, as unfair because some people benefit from it but not others. But they fully supported Medicare, the health system for all older Americans.

Gawande links inequity in the US healthcare system to the historical decision to provide insurance through employers. “[I]t’s proved to be a mistake,” he says.


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