With the, “Medicaid-for-all” Nevada assembly bill 374 dead at this time, one of the more interesting points about the argument is whether or not healthcare is a RIGHT. Assembly Bill 374 which was created by Assemblyman Michael Sprinkle (D) Sparks was defeated; however, in his interview he advanced the idea that healthcare is a RIGHT.
This started me to thinking a lot about our different rights that we enjoy as US citizens, and in turn this led me to doing some research about rights. What I learned was that there is some disagreement about what is meant by, “rights” and there are no clear-cut answers. Depending upon who you are referencing a right for one individual may not be a right for another.
An example of this is the dichotomy of positive versus negative rights. According to this conceptual framework a positive right is a permission to do something. A negative right is where a person is permitted to do nothing. For example, in the United States, citizens have a positive right to counsel if they are accused of a serious crime. However, they have the negative right to vote. They can simply choose not to vote and there is no compulsory obligation. Both are rights, but achieved differently.
When we are looking at the right to healthcare it would probably be more helpful if we were specific as to what we mean exactly. Some of the questions that are commonly asked about healthcare rights are:
- Do you have the right to access healthcare?
- Do you have the right to NOT purchase healthcare?
- Do you have the right to seek alternative healthcare?
- Do we have the right have government provided healthcare?
So, I would ask you as an individual that is invested in this outcome do you have a right to healthcare? If so, what is that right?!? If not, why not?!? Both sides say a lot about us as individuals.