It’s my position that- regardless of any legal definition- if you have the right to life then a guarantee of being able to receive health care has to be part of that right. You can have the liberty to refuse care but all possible care has to be available to all persons regardless of ability to pay or life for all practical purposes has ceased to be a right. Given how much said health care can cost it isn’t enough just for the care to exist to say it is available to people. It’s not like how you can buy generic store brand foods or get your clothes from a thrift store to try to cut your own personal costs down. You can eat what the nutritionists recommend, work out like a competitive athlete, and still end up with poor health. It doesn’t even have to be your own genetics that get you. There are car accidents. Criminals harm people. Corporations can dump unauthorized toxic waste. You name it, it can go wrong, and for someone somewhere it will.
If you say the Constitution doesn’t cover health care, you might as well say that this document doesn’t specifically mention things like the air having oxygen or water not containing poison. As far as I can tell it doesn’t, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need oxygen or that the government can simply say poison is good for you and make this true. I don’t have to be a constitutional scholar to understand that it couldn’t possibly cover everything, especially when technology is involved. Not only have many communicable diseases common in the 18th century been mostly eliminated here, but lives can be saved in a multitude of ways that would have seemed impossible back then.
You have people all the time saying that just because the founding fathers didn’t mention automatic weapons doesn’t mean that we don’t have as much right to them as simple handguns or rifles- so when it comes to being alive and staying that way, why can’t the same concept cover modern medicine as well as the old basic stuff like food and shelter?
And how are you supposed to be able to pursue happiness if you are unable to pay for a medication that is necessary for the continuation of your life? What if you might be able to technically remain alive but can’t continue to work without those meds? See I know some folks are going to say “get a job ” as the answer to everything but so many people do indeed have jobs yet still can’t pay for medical needs that such answers are laughable. Or they would be laughable if we weren’t talking about life itself often being what is at stake.
I’m so tired of folks acting like this can be just some intellectual political wonk discussion that emotion and ethics both can be left out of. If you honestly do think people have a right to live you can’t just act like health care is the same as a shirt or a toy or a chair. It’s not.