Dear Democrats: Healthcare Is Not A Right

The argument that healthcare is a right is fallacious and really unacceptable.

A Bill of Rights is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference.” – Thomas Jefferson

What are rights? We have the Bill of Rights, we have a constitution that guarantees us certain rights, but by what measure does it guarantee those rights? Well, let’s first examine what rights we were guaranteed in our founding document. The right to assemble freely, the right to speak freely, the right to bear arms, the right to practice our faith, the right against unreasonable search and seizure, the right against cruel and unusual punishment, and many more. All of these rights have one thing in common: they are protective in nature. They are God-given, and merely protected by man’s law. They were not given to us by the founding fathers, but merely codified by them.

According to Joel B. Pollak of Breitbart, during a speech in California this week, Veep Joe Biden said that ObamaCare “‘ended the debate’ as to whether healthcare is a privilege or a right.” I take issue with this. Pollak made a beautiful follow-up point:

“There is no provision in the Constitution or in the text of the Obamacare bill that refers to health care as a ‘right.’ Nor are any other necessities–such as food, water, shelter and clothing–’rights’ under any federal law or constitutional provision.”

Although Pollak makes a cogent point, I would take it a step farther and perhaps think of it more philosophically. After all, politics is all philosophy.

Not only does our constitution not explicitly, nor implicitly mention healthcare as a right, it does not do so because a right is not given to someone, it is merely protected. Free speech, gun rights, assembly, religion: these are all things which are ours; we own these rights. These freedoms are intrinsically human rights, and the amendments exist not to give us the rights which we already poses, but to stop the government from taking them away.

Healthcare is not an intrinsic human right. It is not guaranteed by God, or any other entity (even ourselves) that we will be healthy, or that we will be taken care of in terms of our physical sicknesses. Healthcare is an action, not a state of being—like freedom of speech, or assembly—and as such, cannot be guaranteed as a right. It can be offered, or asked for, but it cannot be guaranteed.

Think about what Pollak wrote: what else is not a right? Shelter, food, clothing. These are things which are given to us, rather than things which are fundamental to our very being. To argue that a right is a broad term which can mean a receiving of benefits from an outside source is to argue that everything can be a right. If healthcare is a right, what isn’t?

If healthcare is a right, why isn’t a home a right? To argue that healthcare is a right is to argue that rights are physical, and based on need. Many people need homes, many people need food, many people need cars, many people need clothing. And these are things which, in a perfect world, they would have, but they are not rights, they are benefits.

An argument can be made that average Joe needs a car, because without one, he cannot get to work. This would be beneficial to him, and also to the economy. But while I would like average Joe to have a car, it is not the government’s job to provide him with one—using taxpayer funds.

Healthcare is not a right. There are many ways by which it could, and should, be made dramatically cheaper: tort reform, cross-state insurance sales, and ending cronyism, but it is not a right.

The argument that healthcare is a right is fallacious and really unacceptable.