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Women's Health

Health Care is a Human Right: Let’s Give the Candidates the Martin Luther King Test


While today in our city the Martin Luther King Parade brought community out to remember and celebrate, many reflected on the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as a leader with conviction and passion for civil rights and human rights. It is important to take the meaning of this day further than an exercise in platitudes and official declarations from the White House, the State House or City Hall and ask the candidates some tough questions, such as what are they really doing to address, in Dr. King’s words, “the shocking injustice” that is our health care system? Are they seriously committed to protecting our health? Their health care proposals to date suggest otherwise.

Historians fear MLK’s legacy being lost and candidates running for president wondered how they measure up to his legacy. Even Black Agenda Report suggests giving the candidates the MLK test.

The National Economic and Social Rights Initiative and the National Health Law Program have assessed the candidates’ plans, using a framework based on the human right to health care. The results are a wake up call: Anja Rudiger, Right to Health Program Director, believes that “we need to tell candidates to stop treating us as consumers who can choose to buy or forgo health care. Instead, they must put forward plans for real change: for universal access to quality care for all, on an equitable basis.”

To read the assessment, visit or





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