Is Healthcare a Right or a Privilege?

Is Health Care a Right or a Privilege?

This question comes up in just about every heated health care debate, and the Democratic Party attempts to take the moral high ground when they claim that of course, health care is a right!  But is health care really a right?  Simply put, it’s not.  Wait!  Before you label me as an uncompassionate, cold-hearted fool, read on!  Philosophically, a right cannot be a right, if it impinges upon the rights of others.  I’ve not seen this explained more clearly than in the following statement made by Dr.  Michael Hurd:

“You certainly have a right to accept charity, and anyone has a right to offer it. But the right to offer or accept charity does not mean there’s a right to provide charity. “Charity” and force are a contradiction in terms. If you have a right to force another to provide your health care because of your right to life, then you have the right to raid somebody’s refrigerator because of a right to life. One is as absurd as the other, only a right to the skills of a medical practitioner is even more absurd, because of the years of incredible effort that went into learning those skills.”

Perhaps it sounds callous to say outright that there is no right to health care.  But we cannot turn our back on our forefathers’ definition of our real rights; the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  These rights require nothing of our neighbors, other than:

  • The obligation for them to leave you alone, while you exercise these rights.
  • The obligation not to take away any progress you’ve made towards achieving life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. (your money that you’ve earned, your property that you’ve acquired)

On the contrary, it’s immoral to claim a right to heath care, for that means the person who provides heath care to you must then be your slave.  Before you claim your right to healthcare, think carefully about how this might affect others around you who must then pay for and provide that care to you.  Do you really have that right, or is it more proper to say you have the right to earn money to trade for healthcare in a free market? That you have the obligation to live a healthy life, to the best of your ability?  That you have the heart to provide charity to those in need?

Think about it!  Only when we have our priorities straight will we ever be able to fix our broken health care system.  When we understand what our REAL rights are, then we will know what needs to be done to make health care affordable.

Why I’m Not a Fan of Single Payer Healthcare

Sometimes, people think I’m cold-hearted, because I don’t believe that single payer healthcare is the solution to America’s healthcare woes.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  I’m a softie, who wants to help others, but I’m also a strong believer in freedom and liberty, and by definition, no system of socialized health care can truly provide freedom from the financial burden of healthcare costs, nor the freedom to seek out and receive treatment for every disease. There are opportunity costs associated with universal healthcare, and we are experiencing some of these side effects today, under our heavily regulated quasi-nationalized healthcare system.

Single Payer Health Care is Extremely Expensive

Universal health coverage, in terms of total cost to society as a whole, is quite possibly one of the most expensive ways to deliver healthcare, despite the rhetoric you may hear from well-intentioned politicians.  In fact, it may be the most expensive way to deliver care.  Believe it or not, there was a time in American history when healthcare was affordable. Dr. James Brook, D.O., of Idaho Falls, explains this best in his well-written book, The High Price of Socialized Medicine.  Dr. James Brook used to be a believer in single payer health care, until he became a direct primary care provider and learned about the real health care cost drivers in America.  If you are at all interested in helping to reform America’s health care systems, Dr. James Brook’s book is a must-read, providing a foundation for understanding where we can begin to fix our problems!

Single Payer Health Care Cannot Treat Every Disease

Health Insurance for all does not equate to health care for all.  Insurance and access are two very different things, although many confuse them as one-in-the-same. Several years ago, back when President Obama was considering the Public Option as an idea to facilitate health care reform in America, I was debating the subject with a few people on social media, when I came across a woman who was adamantly against the idea.  When I asked her why, she told me the story of a good friend of hers in Canada, who was struggling to get care for a brain tumor that was causing intense pain and agony.  The poor woman had been on a waiting list for at least 9 months to get an MRI, and each time her turn arose, the system would delay the procedure.  This woman was in so much pain, she had to give her children to her parents, because the tumor was impinging upon her optic nerve, causing blindness and excruciating headaches.  Single payer healthcare inevitably leads to rationing of care. Commonly, those in favor of single payer health care will argue that this is a rare event, but is it really, and in any event, is that OK?  Arguably, a truly free healthcare system (not our current system, nor even our pre-Obamacare system) would not have alienated this woman.  America has not had a free health care system since the advent of employer-sponsored health insurance,  so we don’t know if this woman would have been better off in a free health care system, however, I suspect she would have.  Again, I refer you back to the book, The High Price of Socialized Medicine, for context.

Ironically,  I referred the woman in the above mentioned story to  Timely Medical , a medical broker in Canada, who helps Canadians receive affordable care in the USA, when they are placed on waiting lists.  She was eventually able to receive charitable care right here in the USA, and has now returned to a normal life.

I know that many will argue that America’s system has alienated many due to its cost, and they would be correct.  Our heavily regulated health care system does not operate in a free market, and thus, to the extent that it is devoid of free market principles, it is extremely expensive, so much so, that many are left out.  But rather than throw up our hands and conclude that the only solution is to give all of the power to our government to control our healthcare system, I urge Americans to consider the Direct Pay Care model as an alternative to single payer health care. Why wait for the government to do something, when the free market is already doing it? The movement is gaining momentum.  Let’s pull together and make it happen.


Single Payer Health Care is Immoral 

“Single payer healthcare is immoral”. I know that this statement is going to strike a cord for many single payer healthcare proponents, so I urge you to read Health Care is Not A Right, by Leonard Piekoff, PhD and philosopher.  The title, on its face, sounds harsh and cold-hearted, but the content gives a perspective that I bet you haven’t heard before!  Leonard Piekoff is also video taped making this presentation.  Watching it may give you a better understanding of his point of view. It’s an old presentation, but it’s content easily applies to today.

Part  1 of 3

Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3