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Freedom's Phoenix

Health Care is Not a Right

August 20, 2009 - 8:39am
Nick Coons by Nick Coons


Ayn Rand said it best: "A 'right' is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context."

A "right", by its very definition, cannot impose an obligation on another human being, other than that of a negative kind.  That is, to not violate someone's rights.

Health care is something that must be provided for by someone else; a doctor, nurse, or other medical practitioner.  The person providing the service of health care has the right to choose whether or not to provide his services, and under what conditions (i.e. getting paid).  To take away this right, to force someone to provide medical services against his will, is to enslave him.

This is a more direct approach to slavery than what the "health care is a right" advocates are proposing.  Their approach is more indirect; they instead want to steal the productive labor of their neighbors to support their system; they want to violate rights to provide for a non-right.

Rights cannot conflict.  One's right to X cannot be in conflict with another's right to Y.  If X and Y are in conflict, then at least one of them is not a right.

Think what you want about the "goodness" of a government-run health care or insurance program, but stop making factually incorrect statements like "health care is a right."  It is not, and cannot, be a right.  Claiming that it is puts the term "right" into the completely subjective realm; namely, "whatever I feel is a 'right', is."

If you want to claim that health care is a right, then do it in the proper context.  For instance the right to life means that each person has the freedom to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated actions in order to pursue our life and further it.  It does not mean that someone else has the obligation to provide us with life.  If we want to look at the right to health care in the same way, that we have the right to pursue health care and utilize whatever services others are willing to provide to us of their own accord, then that is a proper use of the phrase "health care is a right."  Regrettably, this is not what supporters of Obama's health care proposal, or other government-run systems, are advocating.

Related Content:

Is Barack Obama Just a Smarter George Bush? - Jim Iannuzo
Health Care Debate Rages On - Richard Sutton
The Violence of the Health Care Bill - Nick Coons

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