Now that health reform has passed I was reflecting again on the question:
"Is healthcare a right or a privilege?"
In line with President Kennedy's famous inaugural address from 1961 there is a third option: "Healthcare is an obligation."
We as individuals are obligated to take care of our own health. To eat right, to exercise right, to get enough sleep, to find healthy options to relieve stress, to stop smoking, to drink alcohol in moderation, to develop healthy relationships, to maintain an optimal weight, to ensure optimal conditioning prior to engaging in sports, to wear a bike helmet when riding a bike, to wear a safety belt when in a car, to follow scientific-based prevention guidelines best suited to you as an individual, to make one's health a priority, to develop and manage a healthcare-related budget and so much more.
Living up to these obligations alone will significantly improve the health of individuals and communities and lower the cost of healthcare more than any top-down approach. All of us honoring these commitments would literally change the world.
Beyond these personal obligations, we must also continue to identify barriers to good health, to identify the root-cause of these barriers, to stand up in community to break these barriers down, and to support one another in doing so.
Some of these roadblocks include...