Promoting children's rights to health and well-being in the United States

Elsevier, Lancet Regional Health - Americas, Volume 25, September 2023
Chapman A.R., Brunelli L., Forman L., Kaempf J.

The United States has a highly sophisticated pediatric healthcare system and spends more than any other country per capita on children's healthcare. However, not all children have access to needed and affordable health care and the life expectancy and health outcomes of children in the country are worse than in any other industrialized nation. These nations typically offer universal healthcare for children as part of a robust recognition of a children's rights framework. In 1989 the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child that recognizes the right of the child to the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. Currently the United States is the only United Nations member country that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. This paper outlines the potential benefits of adopting a child rights approach based on the principles and provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The fact that countries who invest much less in healthcare compared to the United States can achieve better health outcomes provides the certainty that a solution is possible and within reach.