Editor's note: This article has been updated to attribute authorship of the article 'People Are Not Happy With The New Miss USA’s Answer About Health Care' to Michelle Broder Van Dyke, which was originally attributed to Karla Zabludovsky.
On May 30, Karla Zabludovsky of BuzzFeed News wrote a piece exposing Venezuela’s dysfunctional health care system. The piece, entitled ‘These People Had A Chance At Life. Venezuela Is Taking It Away,’ exposed the breakdown of socialist Venezuela’s public health care system. “The health care system is on the brink of total collapse and patients who thought they were in the clear are back to fighting a harsh reality,” wrote Zabludovsky. “Doctors . . . perform surgery with antiquated equipment in operating rooms cleaned with dirty water.”
According to the United Nations, “32 percent and 13 percent of Venezuelans do not have access to sanitation services and clean drinking water, respectively.” Despite these health risks – not to mention the poor health care Zabludovsky’s article discussed – the Venezuelan government purports to guarantee “a free national universal health care system.”
Regardless of public health care’s myriad failings – which Venezuela exemplifies – notable public figures continue to advocate health care as a “right,” our most recent Miss USA foremost among them. Many will recall the controversial answer Miss USA – Kara McCullough of Washington, D.C. – gave in response to the question “Is health care a right or a privilege?”
“I’m definitely going to say it’s a privilege,” McCullough responded, later changing her answer after receiving criticism on social media. In the wake of recent debates on health care, her original answer generated some controversy on Twitter especially, which CNN, The Washington Post, and CNBC discussed accordingly. BuzzFeed also chimed in with the article ‘People Are Not Happy With The New Miss USA’s Answer About Health Care.’ Michelle Broder Van Dyke, who penned the BuzzFeed piece, noted that the answer left viewers “a little . . . shocked” and “confused,” citing 10 tweets denouncing McCullough’s words. At the very end of her column she included just 3 tweets praising the controversial answer.
Perhaps BuzzFeed failed to connect the logical consequences of calling health care a “right” and its recent attack on the Venezuelan health system. Venezuela provides troubling example of the reality of public health care. While providing Venezuelans with the “right” to a “free national universal health care system,” the system – among other public health care systems – is failing, and failing miserably.