I believe in the fundamental principle that health care is a human right. This belief has certain implications: the access to health care is a given to any man, woman, or child regardless of the color of their skin or how much money they make.

This also means that we have a responsibility to our fellow human beings to ensure that this human right is upheld with the same vigor as ensuring that all people have equality under the law or access to the same public services, such as the police or fire protection.

I realize that America, as a nation, does not hold the principle that health care is a human right. As a nation of free enterprise and corporate health care, we talk about health care for the deserving. Companies that administer and insure health care have ingrained the notion that people who can pay for insurance deserve the best health care.

I have read and heard working-class citizens claim that they deserve health care and the “freeloaders” shouldn’t get “free” health care. The current governor of Maine even stated that Maine’s expansion of health care would include young, single, childless, healthy men who smoke and drink, implying that they too are not deserving of health care.

The fact remains that the fire chief does not ask for our quarterly earnings when the fire department puts out our house fire and the police officer does not check our W-2 when catching an intruder in our home. The hospital should not ask for billing information when you see the emergency room doctor. As a human beings in the greatest nation in the world, we deserve health care as a basic human right.

John Daniel MerrillAugusta