RENÉE LOTH’S admirable column, “Human rights are absolute,’’ invokes the UN’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but doesn’t mention that basic health care is among the human rights specified in this declaration. Article 25 states, “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care.’’ Our present patchwork system of health care is ill-serving the sickest and poorest Americans, in terms of infant mortality, preventable deaths, and a host of other quality-of-life measures. A cost-effective alternative lies in a publicly funded, single-payer insurance program for all Americans, as advocated by Physicians for a National Health Program.
As Dr. Paul Farmer, a physician and anthropologist, has put it, “I can’t show you how, exactly, health care is a basic human right. But what I can argue is that no one should have to die of a disease that is treatable.’’
Dr. Ronald Pies
The writer is a member of Physicians for a National Health Program. His views here are his own.