Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege?

Is health care a right or a privilege?

It’s easy to ask, “Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege,” but to answer the question we must dig deep into our souls and understand the plight of others.

I like to think I’m a compassionate person, able to empathize with others born into the wrong family or environment, and even those who just didn’t get as many breaks in life that I did, but it’s not always easy.

I also think sometimes about what it must be like for those living a life of privilege. That’s why the video featured here had such an impact on me, and I hope on you too. It directly relates to our political debates over healthcare and other social issues too.


Defining the word is difficult, because it may depend on your position in life or the office you hold. Career politicians and the uber-wealthy may define Privilege as an advantage, liberty or benefit that’s rightfully bestowed upon them but not those beneath them.

Using Privilege in a sentence may help, so here are some examples:

  1. He lived a life of wealth and privilege.
  2. I had the privilege of knowing your grandfather.
  3. We had the privilege of being invited to the party.
  4. Good health care should be a right and not a privilege.

How does one earn privilege? Can they? Must they? Adam Donye created the exercise in this video to help a group of young adults understand the privileges that gave some of them a head start in life while leaving others behind. They can all compete, but just not on a level playing field. That’s like big corporations who used special interest lobbying power to steer laws and regulations in their favor for competitive advantage.

In the case of the healthcare industry, privilege can also determine who gets medical treatment, who is selected to get an organ transplant, and even who lives and dies. Is that right? Or should healthcare be a right? Think about that as you watch.

Examples of Privilege from the video:

  • Both parents still married
  • Growing up with a father figure in the home
  • Had access to a private education
  • Had access to a free tutor growing up
  • Never had to worry about cellphone being shut off
  • Never had to help mom and dad with the bills
  • College was provided without an athletic scholarship
  • Never wondered where next meal would come from

Note that none of those privileges had anything to do with what was done to earn them, but they still gave some people an advantage and more opportunities.

Life’s not fair, but it can certainly be made fairer if we look at Privilege differently. What do you think?

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