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No, Miss USA, Health Care Is Not a ‘Privilege’

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

New Miss USA reflects ideals of Trump’s America, including that health care isn’t a right

Even though Donald Trump no longer owns the Miss USA pageant, he is likely pleased with this year’s winner, who shares his views on health care and feminism.

Kara McCullough, a physical scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was crowned Miss USA last night in Las Vegas on a platform with similarities to policies of the current administration.

For starters, she does not view access to health care as a basic human right.

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"I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege," the 25-year-old said during the question-and-answer portion of the beauty pageant. "As a government employee, I am granted health care and I see first-hand that for one to have health care, you have to have jobs."

In fairness, she did get one thing right: for many Americans to be able to afford health care, they need jobs (plural) in order be able to pay for coverage, especially if they are unable to get a job that comes with benefits. Maybe she has some ideas of how to make health care more accessible to all Americans?

She sure does!

“We need to continue to cultivate this environment that we're given the opportunity to have health care as well as jobs to all American citizens worldwide," she added.

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OK, but I’m not sure that continuing to cultivate the current environment is working for the 28 million uninsured Americans. Although, I have to admit, as an American citizen who used to live abroad, I’m intrigued by her policy for making sure those “worldwide” also get health care and jobs.

And if that wasn’t enough to make her a darling of the Republican party, she also demonstrated that she doesn’t understand what feminism means — basically a requirement for members of the GOP.

Allow her to explain:

"So as a woman scientist in the government, I'd like to lately transpose the word 'feminism' to 'equalism,'" the pageant winner said. "I don't really want to consider myself — try not to consider myself like this die-hard, you know, like, 'Oh, I don't really care about men.' But one thing I'm going to say, though, is women, we are just as equal as men when it comes to opportunity in the workplace."

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Bad news, Miss USA: What you actually described was feminism. The “I don’t really care about men” position you described isn’t a thing.

And yes, it’s great to have a woman working in a STEM profession in a highly visible role, but in 2017 and today’s political climate, that’s not enough. I’ve heard the argument, “but she’s a nuclear scientist” — as if having a science background somehow excuses her ignorance. Nope, it does not.

This makes me nostalgic for the days when all the contestants wanted was world peace instead of increasing existing health disparities.

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