The “Right” to Healthcare

Saw a great comment on GruntDoc’s blog:

Odd. I have a right to free speech, yet I must pay my own bills for ISP, blogging, telephone, etc. If I want to publish a paper, I must pay for printing presses, paper, ink, etc. In Europe there is a right to work, yet unemployment is reaching 25% among young adults.

In other contexts a “right” means that the government will not interfere with you participating and paying your own way. The right to free speech means that if I have the money, I can publish a paper. The right to a job means that if I meet the qualifications, I will be allowed to take the job. There is no duty to provide it.

So why does a right to health care mean anything more than the right to buy whatever health care I want? (This would mean some changes to the FDA, prescription, licensing, and drug laws. I doubt that this is what the activists who champion health care as a right really mean.)

I have no problem granting healthcare as a “right” if it’s viewed in the same way as free speech.  I have a huge problem with it if the right to healthcare is the same as the right to an education.  We’re in a world of hurt if the government starts treating doctors like it treats teachers, and patients like it treats students.


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