The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Friday August 12th

Access to health care is a basic human right

Health care in America is becoming a luxury that many cannot afford.
Prior to entering UNC in August, I was one of the over 2 million uninsured working North Carolinians under the age of 65. According to Families USA, us working North Carolinians made up a whopping 79.2 percent of the nearly 2.8 million uninsured in our state from 2007 to 2008.

I share the statistics of the working uninsured to dissuade anyone from automatically labeling North Carolina’s uninsured as lazy, unworthy recipients of health care. Regardless of your ideological views, it is now safe to say the “merit line” many have drawn is becoming quite fuzzy as it relates to access to health care.

In response to “UNC Health Care growth, funding criticized,” I believe what Duke Cheston is arguing is that free enterprise is important. I agree with that. Where I disagree is when the importance of free enterprise begins to outweigh what the United Nations calls a basic human right — access to health care. I disagree with Cheston’s argument that the state should not support the UNC Health Care System because its growth crowds the health care market and harms private competitors.

Such private competitors — while certainly not the enemy — cannot offer the $300 million in charity care costs that UNC Health Care paid out last year.

Until that can happen, it is quite fair that the state contributes a mere 6 percent of these expenses that benefit those of us who cannot afford the luxury of health care.

Joe Bridges
Graduate Student
Social Work

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