Health Care Is Not a Privilege… Nor Is It a Right

A popular but flawed argument is that “health care is a right, not a privilege.” Health care is neither a right nor a privilege. Rather, we all have the right to seek medical treatment through voluntary trade or charity.

Ironically, those who claim health care is “a right and not a privilege” support policies that make it a privilege. When government enforces an alleged “right” to health care, the political class decides what health care is and when it’s appropriate for people to get it. That is, health care becomes a privilege granted by those in charge.

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7 Comments

Filed under 0bama, liberty, money, politics

7 responses to “Health Care Is Not a Privilege… Nor Is It a Right

  1. queelius

    First, you claim that when something is turned into a right, it is no longer a right because the government decides what that right is.

    So, is freedom of speech, therefore, a privilege, since they can decide what speech is? Is “having the right to seek medical treatment” also therefore a privilege? From what I can tell, you are making an argument against having any government protections whatsoever. Do you believe that, strangely, the government has no role in governance?

    Second, when someone says that he or she believes health care is a right, we should grant them the assumption that they really do mean it.

    That is, they believe people have a right to basic health care treatment in the same sense that they have a right to freedom of speech. Evidently, you do not agree with this view. That’s great, but defining health care as something people have the right to seek does nothing to resolve the dispute; rather, you are just repeating your opinion.

    It is kind of like defining abortion as the killing of a human being, therefore abortions is murder. You cannot resolve a dispute by presuming to define the term, abortion. That is, indeed, what the very dispute is about. Likewise, you cannot define health care as “not a basic right”, because that is precisely what the dispute (in this case) is about.

  2. JB

    …people have a right to basic health care treatment in the same sense that they have a right to freedom of speech…

    No they don’t.

    Try reading The Constitution some time, genius. Let me know when you come across the phrase ‘health care’.

    Secondly, the words above are not mine, but a quote from and a hyperlink to a blog post by Brian T. Schwartz at pajamasmedia.com. After you’re done reading The Constitution maybe you should go read all of Brian’s blog post and comment there.

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/health-care-is-not-a-privilege-nor-is-it-a-right/

  3. moriahbethany

    I read an article on the PBS website that explained our situation well. The reason that health care should be socialized is because health care is not optional. If you do not have the money for a VCR you wait to buy it later. you have a brain tumor you can’t wait until later. Doctors are ethically obliged to treat people who need treatment, and hospitals are businesses, so when someone can’t pay for their own treatment it drives up medical costs as well as health insurance. I think we are at around 43 million uninsured? The current sytem is inefective because it is wasteful.
    Cheers! 🙂

    • Your Better Judgement

      “Doctors are ethically obliged to treat people who need treatment, and hospitals are businesses, so when someone can’t pay for their own treatment it drives up medical costs as well as health insurance.”

      Yup, good luck driving down costs and wastes under government control! You stay classy, moriahbethany!

  4. This brings up good points about exactly what we as country need to ensure and do not need to ensure. I blogged about this angle yesterday. I think this is something that needs to be discussed further.
    http://betabob.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/redifining-healthcare/

  5. Free speech is “A Right” because no one has to provide it. Within prudent limits, I can exercise it myself without needing anyone to give it to me. Health care cannot be “A Right” , because then someone would have to provide it. Under our Constitution, no one can be made your slave to provide your “Right” to health care. What happens to your “Right” to health care if you have to wait six months for cancer surgery? If the government collapses financially under the weight of debt, who will provide your “Right” to health care then?

    • Access to health care is currently a Privilege, since only some people with money may get access to it. Only a society may decide if it’s going to become a Right, just like our society decided Free Speech is a Right via a constitution. Try to tell people in Iran that it’s their right and no one has to provide it for them! The simple question regarding health care right now is whether we as society are ready to make it a Right or not. My vote is for Yes. What’s your vote?

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