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Health is a Human Right

by Ken Williams
Graduate Special Student
The Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health

“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 and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
-Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25

On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Every year on the anniversary of this date, I am reminded just how important it is that we continue our work towards improving the health of our nation and the world. The more than sixty thousand physicians-in-training that make up the membership of AMSA have committed ourselves to the task of ensuring a future where every person in this country has access to health care without regard to age, sex, gender, social class, nationality, ethnicity, sexual identity, or any other artificial barrier to the health and well-being to which every human being has a right.

AMSA has dedicated itself to the strategic priority of ensuring quality, affordable, health care for all. We see our mission as being actively engaged in the social, moral and ethical obligations of the profession of medicine. With the work we did helping to pass the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), we have worked to move our nation one step closer to this goal. We still have many more miles to go, though.

In the post-ACA world, we now must redouble our efforts to ensure that not only are coverage gaps reduced and that every citizen has access to quality, affordable, innovative health care, but also that the system itself is sustainable well into the future. As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaims, everyone has the right to health and medical care; our task is to ensure that we can provide it.

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