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The World Health Organization (2017) advocates that health is a right of all human beings and that states have a legal obligation to provide for the healthcare needs of the population they serve. The idea of health being a right is the premise of the universalist health system (Toth, 2016), where the country takes care of their citizens health needs. Per the United States Census, in 2018 there were 27.5 million people who did not have health insurance in the U.S. (Berchick, Barnett, & Upton, 2019). In 2011, a North Carolina 59-year-old man robbed a bank for one dollar, so that he could receive a three-year sentence and gain access to healthcare (Moisse, 2011) The man had a growth in his chest, two ruptured discs and was unemployed (Moisse, 2011). Then in 2013, a 50-year-old homeless Oregon man also robbed a bank for one dollar, with the hope that he would receive a three-year sentence along with back and foot surgery, and shelter (USA News, 2013).
The U.S. provides prisoners with healthcare, and yet there are millions of citizens who do not have the means to pay for their basic health care needs. Other countries of wealth and prosperity assure their citizens basic healthcare needs are met. Regulation defines what is considered a healthcare need versus a healthcare desire, similar to what the prison system will or will not pay for. In a country so full of wealth and prosperity, basic health needs that improve the quality of life should be taken care of by the public funds.
Berchick, E. R., Barnett, J. C., & Upton, R. D. (2019). Health insurance coverage in the United States: 2018. (Report Number P60-267 (RV)). Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/library/publications/2019/demo/p60-267.html
Moisse, K. (2011, June 20). N.C. Man Allegedly Robs Bank of $1 to Get Health Care in Jail. ABC News. Retrieved from https://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/nc-man-allegedly-robs-bank-health-care-jail/story?id=13887040
Toth, F. (2016). Classification of healthcare systems: Can we go further? HEALTH POLICY, 120(5), 535543. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2016.03.011
USA News. (2013, August 28). Affordable care – Oregon man robs bank for $1 to be arrested and get free healthcare. Retrieved from https://www.rt.com/usa/oregon-man-bank-robbery-healthcare-126/
World Health Organization. (2017). Human rights and health. Retrieved from https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/human-rights-and-health