A Right to Health Care?

I once heard an analogy regarding the “right” to health care. It went like this: You have a right to health care in the same way you have a right to travel – you can go wherever you want to, but that doesn’t mean the government has to buy you a car.

The unspoken basis for that analogy is this: you cannot have a right that denied someone else of his. Americans have a right to be secure in life, liberty, or property. A “right” to health care means that you must have a right to someone else’s life or liberty (doctors obligated to treat patients, regaredless of compensation) or to someone else’s property (medical equipment, medicine, or someone else’s money to pay for it). Suc an idea is expressly anathema to the basic foundations of American jurisprudence, as well as the underlying philosophy of the US Constitution.

Smarter, more eloquent, and more well-known men that I have made this or similar arguments against the “right” to health care. Most recently, that falls to Walter E. Williams at Townhall, who writes on that very topic in his latest column.

To argue that people have a right that imposes obligations on another is an absurd concept. A better term for new-fangled rights to health care, decent housing and food is wishes. If we called them wishes, I would be in agreement with most other Americans for I, too, wish that everyone had adequate health care, decent housing and nutritious meals. However, if we called them human wishes, instead of human rights, there would be confusion and cognitive dissonance. The average American would cringe at the thought of government punishing one person because he refused to be pressed into making someone else’s wish come true.

The rhetoric of making priviledges rights is just that — rhetoric — and usually serves only as an argument to deny others of their rights. And that is un-American.

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