Author: Mike Magee
In the course I gave at the University of Hartford this fall, entitled “Health Care Rights and the U.S. Constitution”, we focused on the power of discourse, precedents, and the range of interests involved in hundreds of health issues.
This topic is eye-opening on many levels. At the most basic level, the value of this “right” depends to a large extent on your definition of “health.” This is already very clear.
We have highlighted three definitions worth sharing here.
The first credit goes to Eleanor Roosevelt. In 1948, as a leader United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, She defined health as “a complete state of physical, psychological and social adaptation, not just free from disease or weakness.” She also made it clear at the time that as responsible citizens, each of us is responsible for our own health. A certain degree of personal responsibility. With the choices we make and the behaviors we exhibit, we increase or decrease our chances of being “healthy.”
The second voice highlighted is also a woman. She is a doctor from Norway and was born in Oslo on April 20, 1939. She is the daughter of a doctor and a politician. She received her medical degree from Oslo University and her master’s degree in public health from Harvard University. She served as three different Norwegian prime ministers and has never fewer than 8 women in her 18-member cabinet. Her name is Gro Brundtland. In 1998, she was confirmed as the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO).
In her first WHO directive in 1998, she adopted the definition of health, which she described as “partly kind and partly fair”. She went on to explain, “good In a sense, our professionals are well-trained and qualified; our institutions are well-equipped and safe; our processes are perfectly designed; our teamwork reflects training and excellent communication. ”
“fair In a sense, these skills and abilities are fairly and justly distributed to the widest possible population. “
The third defining feature of health is the early Catholic cardinals from Chicago in Brundtland.His name used to be Joseph Bernardin. He suffered from terminal cancer in 1996 and was very concerned about health services when he spoke at the annual meeting of the American Medical Association. He said: “There are four words in English that share a common English root. They are healing, healthy, complete and holy. To heal in the modern world, you must provide health. But to provide health, you must maintain personal, family, The integrity of the community and society. If you can do all of this, it is a sacred thing.”
As the planet and its inhabitants enter the new millennium, it is clear that providing medical care—whether local, national or global—is a complex human endeavour. Even if you declare this as a “universal right” like the United Nations and WHO do, you still need responsive projects, well-trained professionals, equal opportunities, continuous care, funding, compassion, understanding, and partnerships. Without forward-looking planning, expectations, scientific discoveries, and reliable funding, even these are not enough.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, it quickly revealed the cost of the United States’ lack of planning, investment, and capacity. Specifically, complex supply chains including materials, human capital, and science have failed. However, what is more worrying than these is the damage and chaos caused directly by flawed senior leaders. What Trump revealed is that trust, truthfulness and integrity are the key elements of providing medical services.
Since the birth of this country, this weakness has been with us.But they have never been called out so clearly like they Pastor Martin Luther King Jr.When he addressed the crowd in the Poor People’s Movement on March 25, 1966, he said: “Of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.”
As I said to my students, we can learn a lot by thinking about whether Dr. King is correct, and if so, why? At the time, President Lyndon Baynes Johnson was working hard to achieve his goals. “Great society.” The three-pronged “martyr’s cause” (because he referred to his efforts as commemorating Kennedy’s death) includes the implementation of the Civil Rights Act, the War Against Poverty, and Medicare. If justice is to be achieved in accordance with the recommendations of the U.S. Constitution, the integration and interdependence of the three are necessary.
Mike Magee, MD is a medical historian and health economist, author of “CodeBlue: Inside the Medical Industrial Complex”.