Kara McCullough, the newly-crowned Miss USA, said on May 14 that health care is "a privilege" during the beauty contest (video below).
McCullough, who works as a physical scientist at the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission, was asked during the televised competition: "Do you think affordable health care for all U.S. citizens is a right or a privilege, and why?" reports CNN.
The 25-year-old Miss Washington, D.C., said that employment was required to have health care:
I'm definitely going to say it's a privilege. As a government employee, I am granted health care, and I see first-hand that for one to have health care, you need to have jobs.
So therefore, 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.
The Kaiser Family Foundation stated in September 2016 that just because one is employed does not mean they have health care coverage:
Not all workers have access to coverage through their job. In 2016, 73% of nonelderly uninsured workers worked at a firm that did not offer health benefits to the worker. The main reason uninsured workers give for not taking up an offer of coverage is that the coverage is unaffordable. From 2006 to 2016, total premiums for family coverage has increased by 58%, and the worker’s share has increased by 78%, outpacing wage growth.
The Washington Post noted some of the reactions to McCullough's answer on Twitter:
Miss DC just lost me with that answer….Affordable healthcare is a privilege? Girl bye.
Miss DC was my fav but… not after that answer.
Respect for Miss DC saying that healthcare is a privilege and not a right.
The thing about Miss DC is she’s correct–healthcare IS still a privilege, not a right. It’s just that that’s what’s wrong with our system.
Talking Points Memo notes more of the tweets, one of which said that Americans pay for McCullough's government health care:
Miss USA is a chemist who advocates for women in STEM, but without feminism or guaranteed access to healthcare. Oooookay.
For everyone that says well miss usa is rocket scientist, nuclear chemist I get it. Ben Carson is also a brain surgeon. See how that works?
Don't the taxpayers fund part of military/government employees healthcare? Sounds like we've paid for her insurance and she's ok with that.
McCullough also shared her views on feminism during the contest, notes CNN:
So as a woman scientist in the government, I'd like to lately transpose the word "feminism" to "equalism." 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.
And I say, firsthand, I have witnessed the impact that women have in leadership in the medical sciences, as well as in the office environment. So as Miss USA, I would hope to promote that type of leadership responsibility globally to so many women worldwide.