Health care can’t be a right

Health care can’t be a right. Neither can education or food. But, why? Just what are rights?

Most people would likely think of rights as entitlements or privileges. But, rights and privileges are entirely different things. Privileges are those actions stemming from permissions granted by those in authority. Rights come to us by the very nature of our existence as humans and their exercise does not require permission or any affirming action by anyone else. Not only do rights not require permission of others, or oblige others to take any action, they also do not infringe on the right's of others.

The first definition is statist in nature and grants supremacy to the government. The second definition is libertarian in nature and much more consistent with the philosophy expressed by the U.S. founding documents that tell us of inalienable rights and that people have rights beyond those that are expressed in those documents.

But that does not imply a right to health care. All people have the right to seek out health care, to find those who are capable of providing that care. Health care requires two parties, patient and a doctor. And those two entities must come together and agree to terms on payment for service. The agreement would not be a competition of two parties haggling. Rather, it would be a cooperative understanding based on the thousands of other pairs of entities reaching accord. It’s called the market place.

Health care is a commodity and should be treated that way.

Yes, healthcare is a necessity, too. So is food. And food is also a commodity and there is an abundance of it in this country. There could even be more if it weren’t for government intervention, but there is food and there’s no call for national food provision, with or without a public option.

But what would happen if it were decreed that healthcare is a right and that the might of the federal government would enforce that right? Since people must provide healthcare, those people would be forced into servitude, forced to work for whatever the government regulations say. In short, doctors would have their livelihood controlled. Soon, there would be fewer doctors. And those that remain would either be ideologues or of lesser talent. Regulation stifles quality and growth.

Innovation would decline and new technologies would never come into existence. The level of care would drop while taxes would go higher to pay for a scarcer service.

Instead of universal healthcare, the government should be looking into what keeps healthcare costs artificially high. Congress should stop listening to lobbyists for the pharmaceutical industry who agitate for their products and profits while keeping lesser priced materials from the public. Congress should properly exercise its power to regulate interstate commerce by eliminating laws that prevent residents in one state from buying health insurance from carriers in other states.

Cutting the artificial legislative and bureaucratic fat will do more to improve healthcare than anything else. And it will leave individuals alone to make their best choices.

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