I feel like it’s kind of silly and disengenuous, on both sides, to continue comparing the right to bear arms to the right to clean water. This doesn’t help anyone in this discussion.
First, people are using the term ‘right’ in various ways: some people mean ‘this is a basic human right that no one should go without’, while others mean ‘this is a constitutionally protected right that no one can take away’. Not only is the basis of the right completely different, the concept of what having a right entails is completely different.
The ‘right to bear arms’ is constitutionally protected in the US, while food/water/healthcare are not. But it’s really important to understand that all that means is that the gov’t can’t prohibit you from obtaining ‘arms’ on your own. There’s obviously no right to have a gun provided to you.
If you want water/food/healthcare protected in the same way that guns are, then I would argue that they already are. There are no circumstances where the government could possibly get away with prohibiting people from obtaining their own water/food/healthcare. Trying to even construct such a situation defies imagination.
So, please, let’s stop with the idea that the gov’t protects gun rights more than healthcare rights, because that’s not really accurate. They may prioritize protecting gun ‘access’ more than they protect actually getting healthcare, but that’s a different argument. Notice how the GOP language has shifted to ‘access to healthcare’ instead of coverage. If they can convince people that all that has to be protected is ‘access’, then they have no responsibility for whether people actually obtain healthcare.
Now, the argument that we all have a right (as in, basic human right) to HAVE (not just access) clean water, food, and healthcare is a separate argument. And while italianbride0508 : is right that, generally speaking, we pay for water and we pay for food, currently in this country, if one is so poor that they cannot afford water and food, we (society/government) do actually provide it for them. The extreme conversative/libertarian argument would perhaps be that we should not do this – this is, as they might say, ‘not the government’s job’. But the question is: what kind of society do we want to live in?
Do we want to live in a society where if someone is too poor, we let them starve to death? Are we morally and ethically comfortable with those results? If you’re comfortable with that, then it would be consistent to shrug off poor people being unable to pay for medical care.