Health care is not a right. It’s that simple. Those who argue it is do not understand what a right is.
To understand why, let’s first look at the Declaration of Independence and then move on from there.
Our inalienable rights are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Actually, before it was the pursuit of happiness, it was property. Fundamental rights were life, liberty, and property.
The Constitution does not grant us any rights, because it cannot do so. Even an amendment cannot grant us a right. Rights are natural occurrences. The object of government is solely to protect rights (and eventually, as it devolves into despotism, the design of government is to limit or destroy rights–but that’s another post). The Bill of Rights grants us nothing. It simply protects several enumerated rights of We the People, by expressly limiting government authority.
Having a right of property means you have the right to the fruit of your labor. Say you are walking through an unowned field with a friend and pick an apple up from the ground, the apple is yours. You are the one who bent to pick it up. And you are the one who wiped it off to make sure it was clean. Your labor makes it yours. Your friend has no right to say, “You owe me half because I am walking with you.” But this is what those who try to frame health care as a “right” do. Essentially, they say, because I am walking through time with you, you owe me part of your labor.
A doctor’s practice is labor. How can anyone claim to own (or be owed) a piece of his labor without recompense? The argument that some people need it, but cannot afford it is a foolish red herring. Consider this: everyone needs food more frequently than health care. Does that mean we have a fundamental right to eat other people’s food? Can we now all go to any restaurant or grocery store and simply devour whatever we desire without paying for it? And we need transportation to get to work, friends’ houses, etc. Shall we now take the fruit of Ford’s labor and give it to everyone who cannot afford it simply because they need it?
Like food, cars, and designer jeans, health care is only a right in as much as one can trade or barter for another’s labor. Framing the debate as a “right to affordable health care” is as silly as saying everyone has a right to affordable yachts and inexpensive Air Jordan tennis shoes.