In our GHU sessions the current topic for discussion is: “is health a human right?” Although not everyone agrees if it is a right, within our discussions we’ve talked about countries with national health plans, where would the line be drawn as to what is considered a “right” in this context, and what sort of priorities are set. These issues are very relevant to current politics as health care is being looked at in the current election season.

The national office recently did a great article comparing Obama and Romney’s health care plans. However, I think it’s important to note in the context of considering health as a human right, that neither of these plans are universal care.

To quote the article, “[Obama’s] plan calls for tighter federal regulations and requires all individuals to buy health insurance, with help given through federal tax credits.”
Meanwhile, “[Romney] believes that more limited regulation and state-driven health care reform plans will ensure a broader choice of health care options for consumers… he proposes to make the tax treatment of individually purchased plans similar to that of employer-based plans.”
Though these are two very different way of approaching the issue, they have one large similarity- private health insurance.
The Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP) website offers a potential solution that counters both Romney and Obama’s plans, by taking the for-profit insurance companies out of the picture all together. Instead they propose a “single-payer” system where all Americans are covered for necessary medical procedures and comprehensive benefits.
As a club we strive to be aware and informed of global health related issues, and I think it’s important just to acknowledge that there are options and ideas outside of what gets the most political coverage. PNHP makes a point that is eerily similar to some of our discussions, and it should not be ignored. “…some have adopted the “health care as a human right” slogan as a cover for inadequate reforms and retreat from confrontation with the powerful forces that ruin our health care system.”
 Don’t forget to vote!
-Anu
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