06/15/2024

Healthcare is not an inalienable right and why the idea is dangerous

By RICH ROSTRON
The Response
10/9/2023

During the Obama administration, when he was pushing Obamacare, a name for his ‘Affordable Care Act’ that he liked or disliked, depending on which way the political winds were blowing at any given moment, the notion was put forth, CONSTANTLY, that health care is a right. There are some who were convinced by the argument. Others, no doubt, knew better but pushed the idea anyhow.

Why bring this up now? Because we are still living with the effects of Obamacare – i.e., an escalation of healthcare costs above a stratospheric escalator rocketing upward since 1965, and because the notion has a lot to do with how people look at America and liberty. It’s a distorted view that deserves introspection before the ritual socialists bleed the patient dry.

Inalienable rights refer to a person’s rights to say and do what they please, assuming they’re not violating someone else’s rights. They do not refer to actions required by others.

Imagine that you need an operation, and you need it now; you won’t live without it. The only surgeon in the area with the proven capacity to perform the operation doesn’t want to do the operation. Maybe they had a trip planned and this is their first time to get away in 10 years because operations, such as yours, keep interrupting their plans. Maybe they’ve been so busy with patients that they haven’t slept in 72 hours and doubt their ability to do the operation properly in their current condition.

On the other hand, maybe they just decided they don’t want to be a surgeon anymore. Whatever the reason, you really, really want the operation. Would you have a right to force them to do the operation? And how would you force them? At gun point? And isn’t that interfering in their rights.

The degree to which people have a right to health care is the degree to which the healthcare exists and that they can pay or barter with people to provide that care.

In order for the doctor to attain the skills to perform your operation, they had to study extensively. They had to serve their residency, all the while racking up student debt in the process.

Doctors and educators, over the course of centuries, through trial and error, have developed the educational system designed, presumably, to turn out the most qualified physicians. Most are specialized since the ability to function at peak performance in all medical fields is difficult even for the most gifted practitioners.

The medicine and medical equipment used in healthcare were developed by people. They thought about what was needed, what they could market and sell, and they created solutions that we now take for granted. And while they may have had benevolent motivations, they likely hoped to make a profit or, at the very least, to charge enough to cover the costs.

During a 2012 campaign speech, Obama infamously stated:

You didn’t build that. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that.

Fact checkers, who are notoriously Leftist, claim he was taken out of context and was actually referring to roads and infrastructure. But, even if we accept that thin excuse, he still misses the point. Roads, bridges and other infrastructure are not built by the government; they’re built by private companies using taxpayer dollars. And the same is true of healthcare.

In a way, for government to come in now and take (further control) of healthcare, is like the bully who waits until someone builds a great toy and then steals it. Obama would have been right if he said, ‘The government didn’t build that.’

The government, the American constitutional government based on liberty, created the environment where industry can flourish – where creativity and ideas can thrive and prosper. Government involvement is like an anchor that can drag inspiration and initiative to a lowly place where they drown.

In the meantime, the government builds the false dichotomy where Americans who don’t look close enough actually give the government credit where none is due. They begin to rely on the government to fix all their problems. They accept outrageous promises from politicians seeking election.

It’s a worthy thing that a society will strive to provide the best possible healthcare to the members of that society. And, certainly, when someone is ill, they can become almost desperate for help. But that doesn’t change the fact that someone has to provide the care people desire; someone has to do something to facilitate your ‘pursuit of happiness.’

Healthcare doesn’t grow on trees. And, unless someone wants to serve as their own physician, someone needs compensation for providing care, just as someone needs compensation for building roads. And if we don’t have a vibrant economy, the government will lose the ability to take enough money from taxpayers to compensate for those who learn the professions and do the work.