Rights and Health: Democracy’s Dilemma
This presentation will explore the concept of democracy (majority rule) with the concepts of individual rights. The US system of government has a built in tension between the rights of individuals and democracy. It has generally favored individual rights. Most of the developed world, including statements by the United Nations, notes the importance of health to both individual rights as well as the common good. The presentation will also describe the health status of the US as compared with those in other countries, providing data on costs, access, and quality of health care in the US in contrast to other developed countries. McGrath makes the argument that our form of democracy, democratic pluralism, provides a difficult path to universal health care but that like education, the importance of health makes it important to revisit the notion of health as a positive right in the United States.