“Why Health Care is a Basic Human Right”

By Ed Martinez – November 15, 2017


I believe health care is a basic human right that should be provided to all Americans, especially the uninsured and underserved.

I also believe that Congress should charge the federal government with the responsibility for designing and implementing this health care system on a national scale with pre-established performance requirements — ensuring that all services are delivered in a compassionate, respectful and cost-efficient manner.


There are two, interwoven reasons why I believe health care is a basic human right that should be available to the uninsured and underserved, and not a “quality of life” privilege which is exclusively provided to select individuals.


The first and most important reason I believe that health care is a human right is explained in Matthew 7:12, “The Golden Rule.” In this passage, Christ explains, “So whatever you wish that others do to you, do also to them, for it is the Law and the Prophets.” These words acknowledge that the human heart is inherently selfish, and primarily driven not by the motivation to serve others, but by the desire to advance one’s own image and self-esteem.


The second reason I believe health care should be considered a basic human right relates to one of my most poignant experiences as the father of two loving daughters.

My recollection of this “father” experience goes back a number of years — when I was serving as the CEO of a health center in Las Vegas. One day, while visiting a dental clinic, I noticed a mother and father, and their young daughter huddling in the back of the clinic — and, for some unknown reason, the father was quietly crying in the privacy of his family huddle.


I asked the clinic manager about the family’s situation — and I’ll never forget the manager’s response to my question: “Ed, he’s crying because his little girl is now free of pain — and, before her treatment, he was burdened by guilt and saddened by the fact that he was totally helpless in protecting his little girl’s health and wellness.”


The message of Matthew 7:12 (The Golden Rule) and the desire of fathers to safeguard the health and wellness of their family clearly affirm the moral value of health care as a basic human right for all people.


Martinez retired as CEO of San Ysidro Health Center in 2013. He now works part-time as a corporate compliance consultant for the Health Resources and Services Administration, the federal agency that oversees and funds community health centers.



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