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Texas Perspectives is a wire-style service produced by The University of Texas at Austin that is intended to provide media outlets with meaningful and thoughtful opinion columns (op-eds) on a variety of topics and current events. Authors are faculty members and staffers at UT Austin who work with University Communications staffers to craft columns that adhere to journalistic best practices and Associated Press style guidelines. The University of Texas at Austin offers these opinion articles for publication at no charge.

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  • The Civil Rights Amendment Should Ensure Health Security for Hispanic Americans

    The Civil Rights Amendment Should Ensure Health Security for Hispanic Americans

    By Jacqueline Angel, Professor of Public Affairs and Sociology
    Published: April 16

    If all people are truly created equal, and most of us agree that we are, then all of us who live in this country should have equal access to the basic necessities of life

    • Quote 2
      Kevin Johnson said on April 24 at 10:35 a.m.
      In this article, Professor Angel makes the case for Universal Health Care on the basis that it is our “basic human right.” She centers the ethos of her argument by referencing the Declaration of Independence: “all men are created equal…they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Yet, she makes the claim that health care is an unalienable right even though it is never discussed in the Declaration or the Constitution. Specifically, she understands the term “equal” from the Declaration to mean equality of conditions, saying: “If all people are truly created equal, and most of us agree that we are, then all of us who live in this country should have equal access to the basic necessities of life.” However, the word “equal” here is clearly couched by the word “creation” which entails a “Creator.” Thus, when Jefferson says “all men are created equal” he means that all men are equal under the law and no man is inherently better than any other when they begin life. Everybody should get free health care does not logically follow from all men are equal. Professor Angel seems to think that “unalienable right to life” necessitates right to health care. In the same logic why can’t “unalienable right to life” mean fetuses have the right not to be aborted? Just because we are all equally human beings and have the same rights under the law does not require that we all have the same possessions. This is the difference between equality of humanity and equality of conditions. There will always be some who have more than others: more money, talent, friends, etc. The founders did not intend a socialistic society. If everybody has an unalienable right to health care why not an unalienable right to a car? Why not an unalienable right to a house? Why not an unalienable right to free college? If free health care is granted the list of demands from the government will only grow. At the same time, Professor Angel makes some compelling points. Particularly, when she states “The health of the population is the basis of wealth and power...(health care will) guarantee a healthy and productive work force that benefits everyone.” Professor Angel has a good point here; an unhealthy workforce can only hurt an economy. Furthermore, she notes that if we want to maintain the leadership of our country across the world we need to encourage health among our citizens. These points have merit. Yet, at what financial and mental cost? The more free things we give our citizens the more the free things they will expect.