“Healthcare must be recognized as a right, not a privilege.”
Those are the words of Senator Bernie Sanders, from Vermont, in an article of his on The Huffington Post, back in 2013.
What drew my attention to his article was a recent conversation I had on twitter about this very issue.
More specifically, is healthcare a right.
It was a civilized and open minded discussion. One that I enjoyed immensely.
But it got me thinking, “how do I better communicate the reality that healthcare isn’t a right?”
It’s a contested issue. It’s an issue that has bearing on other issues (for instance, do you have a right to internet access?).
So how do you communicate this view?
There’s two ingredients to any properly communicated idea. Explain, and relate.
Since I’ve already covered how to relate your ideas, I’ll spend most of my time on the “explaining” part.
Here we go…
Rights Protect, They Don’t Demand
What’s the purpose of rights?
I mean, they’re obviously more than a flippant political term. So what are rights for?
The most basic purpose of a right is to outline, and then protect what is owed to you under a legal system.
It’s a statement to erratic political leaders that certain things aren’t up for negotiating. It’s a higher standard. It overshadows the power of the government.
That’s what makes Rights so important (and powerful). They’re above the reproach of the government.
Here’s what rights don’t do. They don’t demand things. This isn’t a shopping cart where you can add new rights because you feel owed something.
Rights protect your freedom of speech. Rights make a stand for freedom of religious beliefs (which includes no religious beliefs). Rights stand on your front porch with a shotgun defending both your private property and gun ownership.
Right aren’t yelling at your internet provider. And they definitely aren’t fighting your doctor over free healthcare.
Goods & Services Can’t be Rights
What’s the issue with goods and services being rights? I mean, don’t we have a right to life? Wouldn’t that include food and water?
That’s a good point. But here’s where the argument breaks down.
You have a right to life; a life free of violence from others (whether that be private or government individuals).
But you don’t have a right to be kept alive. The right to life isn’t there to make sure you can access nutritional foods and drink lots of water. It’s not there to make sure you don’t get overweight.
The right to life is there to protect your life against other people.
There’s also that little issue of food and water being products, which are sold by individuals like you and me.
Which leads us into my next point…
A Right Can’t Violate Another Right
If Rights are going to stand up to logical scrutiny, they have to be logical.
You know what’s not logical? When one right violates another right. Not only is that illogical to the principle of rights, it’s dangerous to its survival.
If every person has a right to property, how can you say everyone has a right to a specific product? A product, which is created and owned by someone else.
Look at it this way; healthcare is a service. It’s created, packaged, and sold by companies.
Companies are the property of their owners. Therefore, companies fall under the “right to property” principle.
Products and services are created on/with company property and owned by the businessmen. That makes them the property of the businessmen.
Once you say healthcare is a right, the right of that businessman goes down the tubes.
Once healthcare is a right, it can be taken from those who produce it. Who are they to restrict other American’s right to healthcare?
It requires people to give you that service against their will. That’s what most people call theft. Theft is wrong. That much is obvious.
Making Healthcare a Right Won’t Solve the Issue
So what’s the issue that’s trying to be solved?
The lack of affordable quality healthcare.
That’s the problem.
Some politicians think it can be solved by giving the service away for free.
That will only make things worse.
As always it comes down to an economic issue.
The best solution to the problem of expensive healthcare is to increase competition by reducing government intervention.
Stop the subsidies for one. They only lead to increased prices and stagnation. And yes, that means we’d have to get rid of the Affordable Care Act.
Government intervention in any market only leads to stagnation, high prices, and mediocrity.
There’s also charities. Why are Americans not taking advantage of this? When did American’s switch from helping their neighbors to using the government to “help people?”
Taking someone’s property that they created should never be an option. If you want to truly help your fellow Americans you need to do it honorably.
You should be able to help people without violating someone’s rights. (Click to Tweet)
With a country this successful and wealthy, that shouldn’t be hard to do.