No one has a right to health care.
Before you paint me with the broad brush of Scrooge or Marie Antoinette, let’s talk about what constitutes a “right.”
I agree with the eighteenth-century philosophers Locke, Hobbs, and others that we all have basic human rights purely and only because we are human. Among these are the right to life and liberty and the right to pursue that which makes us happiest. These are nothing more than the rights that hundreds of millions of Americans and Europeans have held sacred and cherished for well over two centuries.
You have the right to your life, your existence, the things you were given at birth: your intelligence, imagination, ability to learn, to create, to use your life energy to change and enhance your circumstances. You have a right to pursue those things which give you pleasure. You also have the right to your property, the most fundamental of which is your person, but also included are those things that you create out of natural resources not owned by someone else, or the things for which you trade in free, uncoerced exchange. You have the right to do with these things, your property as you please. You also have the right to enjoy the results of your creativity, intelligence, and effort.
A corollary to this philosophy is that no one has the right to take those things from you without your consent. This is an absolute. Even if someone should want to take from you in order to give to someone else whom they deem needs it, or to make, in their judgment, better use of your property than you, still that person has no moral right to your property. Going one step further, even if a person assembles a coalition of others of whatever size community, and the majority of people in that coalition vote to approve the taking of your property, you still have the inalienable right to your property. It is a truism that no one has a right to your property.
It should go without saying, but I shall emphasize regardless, that everyone has the same rights, meaning you do not have the right to better your circumstances at the expense of others’ rights to their property. No one has the moral authority to deprive another of his property for any reason. As Ron Paul has stated, “If one assumes such a right, it endorses the notion that some individuals have a right to someone else’s life and property. This totally contradicts the principles of liberty.”
Each person owns his or her body, mind, and results of whatever productive capacity they may have. We know slaver is immoral. In like manner, to force someone to produce for their, your or anyone’s benefit, even to force a small portion of their productive capacity, is akin slavery. To say that you have the right to something that someone else must produce is to say that you have the right to his productive energy, intelligence, imagination, time, and the fruits of his labors.
Now let us address health care specifically. Someone, some person must provide the service, the pharmaceuticals, the treatment facilities, the knowledge, the technology—everything in the infrastructure which comprises health care. You have the right to a healthy lifestyle, but healthcare is not a thing that exists as a natural resource for anyone to make use of. It is the result of time, effort, study, labor, creativity, capital, and more. For one person to have a right to any part of that means that another person necessarily has the obligation to provide it, or, as is the case in our society, to provide the money to pay for it. But if every person has the right to the fruits of his own labor, how can it be that someone who has created something useful in the advance of someone else’s health must give the fruits of his labors involuntarily, compensated or not?
But, you may say, isn’t health care different? Health care isn’t the equivalent of a car or DKNY clothing or a vacation to Europe. People suffer and die without proper health care. Surely the provision of health care to the people in a society is different from those creature goods that simply improve the quality of life.
No, it is not different.
The aggregate need for health care does not overcome or circumnavigate the principle of every person’s right to his life energy and fruits of his labor. The right to one’s productive capacity either is or is not. There is no exception. If it is not, if there is no right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness then we are at the mercy of “might makes right,” we are at the mercy of those who take and hold power over others to make decisions that affect their lives and property. There is no end to the imagination and connivance of evil people, those who crave power, to take from others what they themselves did not create to use for their own benefit. The subject of health care is no different from any other. People who desire power over others will always couch their intentions in terms of beneficial services to the masses, all the while increasing their power and wealth at the expense of the productive members of society. They are certainly welcome to find a way to provide those services IF it can be done by methods other than by taking from others what is rightfully theirs. But such is the realm of the entrepreneur, the business man who takes advantage of opportunities to satisfy people’s wants through voluntary means of trade. Those who rise to power in government are the antithesis of the entrepreneur. They take what is not theirs by force and distribute as required to ensure their continued and growing power.
We do not lack proper health care. We lack information and the self-discipline to maintain our bodies in a healthy state. Billions upon billions of dollars are given freely every year for medical research and care. Doctors and hospitals and charitable organizations give untold hours and dollars to help those who cannot afford to pay for medical care. But the feeling of entitlement and the lack of health knowledge and the moral hazard created by the government’s propaganda machine that causes people to believe that their unhealthy lifestyle choices will be rectified by others has caused a bubble in health care no different from the recent bubble in housing prices, the bubble in the stock market, the tulip bubble of 1637, or any other.
Even more than a lack of knowledge and self-discipline, we lack imagination. Is there no way to ensure that each person receives necessary and vital health care outside of laws and regulations created and enforced by a body of (mostly) men who hold a monopoly on the use of coercion and even deadly force in our society?
We must come to the realization that at some point in its use, after having long been accepted, a system becomes a trap to its clients. After some time the system becomes the definition. Health care is no longer the aggregate of all means and methods of maintaining or restoring health, but a codified system of laws and regulations, insurance companies and hospitals, co-pays and claim forms. Decisions made to improve the end result become confused with trying to improve the system. But if the system is misdirected and inefficient, then changing it has no good result. There is no good way to do the wrong thing.
It has been said that the downfall of the railroads in America was when the enterprises in that industry only saw themselves in the railroad business rather than in the transportation business. The method became the end goal. We must individually see that the combined millions of activities and transactions each day that we call the “health system” is not the end goal, but a method of reaching a goal. We must also see that health care is not a community or social question; health care can only be related to an individual with unique health maintenance needs. The means to meet those needs does not have to be provided by an over-arching power over others, and in fact, that means of provision is the worst that can be devised because what government provides today, it can easily prohibit tomorrow. And the decisions made by government are never made for the benefit of the individual, but for the benefit of the moneyed interests who support the politicians and allow them to maintain their hold on power and the creature comforts it brings.
We do not live in the best of all possible worlds. Improvement is always possible. But to move toward a better world requires imagination operating within basic principles, the most basic of which is each person’s right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Each of us must devise a way for our families and ourselves to enjoy the fruits of good health without taking what is not ours.
The current problem surrounding health care in America today is its extremely high cost. This is not something that will be resolved in the near future. If you have the necessary income to pay for high-quality health insurance and other related health care costs, you don’t have a problem. If you do not have sufficient income, rather than call and write letters to politicians and complain to your office mates around the water cooler, maybe it’s time to do something about the situation. After spending considerable time and money looking for a solution to my own cash flow problem I found this.