Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Health care is not a right

I wrote this about a year and a half ago.
Sometimes it is important to be very clear in the way you use the language, and this is an issue on which a lot of people are willing to misuse it. Once framed as a "right," the supporters of socialized medicine have not only moral support, but moral obligation in their quest to impose a government universal "health care" system on the citizens of the US. So let me say this clearly.

No one has the "right" to health care.


That position is echoed by Iain Murray and Roger Abbott in today's Washington Examiner - Health Care is not a right:
A right, in both a legal and practical sense, is simply an entitlement due to an individual that other people are obliged to respect, with a failure to comply typically resulting in some sort of sanction...In contrast, the expansive “rights” demanded by liberals—like the right to “affordable health care” or to a “decent standard of living”—are not rights but positive demands that require others to hand over some of the property to the claimant. Whereas genuine rights protect citizens from state coercion, the “right to health care” serves to justify state coercion against a particular part of the population: those who pay taxes. Moreover, by their very nature, such positive demands cannot be clearly defined and hence are capable of infinite expansions. As one need is satisfied, others arise.

I think that's well put.

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