The United Nations General Assembly, with support from the United States, appears likely to approve a resolution Wednesday calling on every country to implement universal health care systems. The resolution reaffirmed the holding in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that access to health care was a human right owed to all persons and, from that, concluded that member states should provide health care to all of their citizens:
Encourages Member States, in collaboration with other stakeholders where applicable, to plan or pursue the transition of their health systems towards universal coverage, while continuing to invest in and strengthen health-delivery systems to increase and safeguard the range and quality of services and to adequately meet the health needs of the population.
Post-Obamacare, all of the world’s 25 wealthiest nations provide universal health coverage. Citizens of poorer countries who do not enjoy universal access to affordable health care suffer far worse health outcomes: while infant mortality is relatively rare in more developed countries, to take one example, four million infants die before their first month of life worldwide. Before the United States had a universal health care system, roughly 45,000 Americans died per year because they lacked health insurance.
Government universal access programs are proven to improve access to health care, even in the developing world. India’s push to expand health care coverage roughly sextupled the number of people with access to basic health services between 2003 and 2010, and is on pace to double that number again by 2015.
Another recent U.N. vote on health care enshrined access to contraception as a universal human right.