January 17, 2021

Gen Z Conservative

The thoughts of a young conservative on political issues relevant to all ages

health care is not a right

Health Care is Not a Right, but a Service. We Must Remind Leftists of that Fact


Too many of today’s politicians on the right and left act as if health care is a right. Whether that’s Trump promising to not cut welfare programs related to healthcare or politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren promising Medicare for All, their ideas and policy goals are founded on a false supposition. They think that it’s a right, but, in reality, health care is not a right. It’s a commodity.

Frank Miele has a similar viewpoint, which he expressed about perfectly in a recent RealClearPolitics article entitled “Health Care is a Right Only if Doctors Surrender Theirs.” As I’ve said before, RealClearPolitics is one of my favorite news sites. Unsurprisingly, this article did not disappoint.

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Summary of Why Health Care is Not a Right

First, Miele introduces the problem from the Democrats as he sees it:

Bernie Sanders is convinced that promising Americans guaranteed health care is the modern equivalent of “a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage,” but he is not alone. In some form or another, health care consistently tops every poll that gauges what makes Democrats tick.

So now that the race has narrowed to “Biden vs. Bernie,” it is time to ask what we the American people will be getting if the No. 1 issue on the Democrats’ agenda is actually implemented.

First of all, we should recognize that there is no realistic difference between any two Democrats on this topic, though some pretend they don’t want to bankrupt the economy by fully funding guaranteed health care for all. In fact, they all agree with Sanders that “health care is a right,” and that means they will ultimately try to buy health care for everyone, no matter how expensive it is.

From: Why Health Care is not a Right

Then, he describes the difference between actual natural rights, such as liberty, and made up rights, like health care:

But when you ask them how or why health care is a right in the same way that life and liberty are human rights, you get circular answers or misleading ones. It is a right because it is important, we are told. Or it is a right because it is unfair for some people to get better treatment than others merely because they have more money. By that reckoning, there is a right to fly first class.

If the difference is that health care is essential to quality of life, then let us consider something else that is essential to quality of life — shelter. Without shelter, most of us would perish, or at least be miserable, yet there is little insistence that shelter is a fundamental human right.

From: Why Health Care is not a Right

Finally, Miele describes how treating health care as a right would destroy American medicine through constraining the actual rights of health care professionals:

free health care — under whatever rubric you care to use — means that doctors, nurses and other health professionals are enlisted in a kind of indentured servitude. Because of my “right” to affordable health care, the health workers are forced to provide for my needs without regard for their own security, their own income and their own families’ needs. The end result would be to force the brilliant people who practice medicine into other fields where they would be rewarded for their work, and to create a cadre of low-paid health care workers who just needed a job.

From: Why Health Care is not a Right

My Analysis

As the son of two doctors, I’ve heard about problems in the health care industry. It’s far from perfect and a plethora of aspects of it need to be fixed. But, frankly, almost none of those problems arose from the market.

Sure, some doctors are greedy and are able to take financial advantage of unintelligent or uninformed patients. Generally, however, the problems in medicine stem from government intervention. And, even if there is some fraud, that has no relation to what is a right and what is not. Health care is not a right. That is a fact whether some bad apples take advantage of their position or not.

Even (or should I say “especially”?) cost increases are the result of government intervention in healthcare. It’s like with universities; when the government was uninvolved, the market set the rate and it was affordable. Then, the government decided to step in and help through payment assistance programs and made it unaffordable for just about everyone.

Capitalism will solve those problems if only we let it. The market is based on consent, so if people do not consent to pay for some procedure or other, then a cheaper alternative will be found. As long as we remember that health care is not a right, but instead a service that should be traded on the free market, that will happen. It did for Lasik, for example.

But, if the government steps in, that won’t happen because people will forget that health care is not a right and demand that the government (read: “other taxpayers”) should pay for any and every procedure, whatever the cost might be. If that happens, we’ll just see price increase after price increase as tax dollars are used to pay for an inefficient system that’s mooching off of government money.

Conclusion to Why Health Care is Not a Right

Americans think of far too many things as “rights,” which is why I have to write about the fact that health care is not a right, which I think should be quite obvious. We’ve been conditioned to do so by the government, which wants to keep us dependent on it for almost everything.

We need to eradicate that mentality and demand no new entitlements. Government spending and our dependence on it is the road to serfdom that Bernie wants to lead us down and he’s trying to bribe us to get us to go along with it.

Rather than going down that dark path and discovering the true nature of socialism, we should just let the market take over and solve our problems. It will, we just have to let it.

By: Gen Z Conservative

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