Rand Paul is correct. You do not have a right to health care. Anybody who thinks he or she has a right to health care does not understand how natural law and natural rights work in a free republic.
Anybody who thinks he or she has a right to health care must also explain why everybody doesn’t have a “right” to a new Mercedes or a new boat.
Anybody who thinks he or she has a right to health care must explain how he or she is going to pursue that “right.” Can you force somebody else to provide health care for you? Can you go to your neighbor’s house and steal money from them to pay for your new found “right?”
The laws of natural law and natural rights are very clear, and have been since the 17th century.
John Locke laid the foundation for the American understanding of rights. You have a right to your life, which means the government should protect you from direct harm by others. You have a right to liberty, meaning the government cannot conscript you and force you to do things you don’t want to do as long as you are not harming others. You have a right to your personal property, which means the government and others cannot take your property from you without consent.
These are natural rights. They are very clearly described in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution.
The main complaint that the colonists had against the British government was that it was trampling on natural rights. The Bill of Rights describes the situation well: people have a right to liberty, which means they have a right to free assembly and free press. The British were not honoring these rights. People have a right to property — the British were searching homes without respecting these rights. People have a right to liberty, which means they can arm and defend themselves — the British were confiscating guns and taking away liberty. The people have a right to property — you cannot quarter troops in somebody’s house without their permission because it is their property.
This is why the Declaration of Independence very clearly says we have “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Earlier the Declaration refers to “Laws of Nature and Nature’s God.” These are natural, God-given rights that are unalienable, meaning they cannot be taken away by government or anybody else. You have the right to pursue your happiness as long as you do not trample the happiness of others by taking away their rights.
Note the vital prescription for a natural right: it gives you the right to to pursue happiness and do what you want with your life, interacting with willing buyers and sellers, as long as you don’t take away the natural rights of other people. You have the right to set up a business and sell things. People have the right to buy from you as long as you agree on a price. The interaction is voluntary. Your freedom is protected, and the freedom of your clients/customers is protected.
The moment you engage in force is the moment you have violated the natural law and the moment that the government can and should get involved to protect freedom. If you steal from somebody else, you should go to jail. If you break a contract, the government should get involved to enforce the contract or levy penalties.
Other documents forming the foundation of foreign governments have laid out certain “rights,” including the right to education and the right to health care. Children are even given certain rights over their parents in some documents. Bolivia is entertaining the Earth’s right not to be trampled and polluted by people.
These supposed “rights” are not in the U.S. Constitution and were never intended to be. They were invented by well-meaning politicians to placate certain pressure groups. FDR probably did more than any other president to invent new rights when he introduced the “Four Freedoms,” which includes the right to Freedom from Want.
Here is the primary problem with such a “right:” it is laughable because you cannot have freedom from want without taking from others. The government does not create or invent things (except money). It cannot give you food or health care or education without taking from some people and giving to others. This directly contradicts the right to property, which is a natural right. You cannot trample on somebody else’s natural right to claim your own invented right. This is called stealing.
So, how should health care be provided? You have a right to your freedom, which means you have a right to pursue health care. A free market system allows willing providers of health care (doctors, nurses, physical therapists, acupuncurists, herbal medicine providers, etc) to give you health care for a price. In a free market system, you can and should negotiate with them and get the lowest price.
How about emergency care, which is an ever-smaller portion of health care activity? You should buy an insurance policy to cover you in the case of emergency care, just as you do with your car and house.
The fact that we have a problem with health care can be directly traced to the wage and price controls of World War II. This is when companies began offering health insurance as a benefit to employees to get around wage and price controls. President Truman later passed a bill that codified the third-party payer system by giving tax breaks to the companies, rather than individuals. This interferes with the free market by reducing incentives for individuals to lower costs by negotiating directly with their doctors and health insurance companies on prices.
In the 1960s, LBJ doubled-down on the third party payer system through Medicare and Medicaid. These systems involve the government — rather than you — paying for health care. You have no incentive to negotiate with providers on cost, and thus costs continue to skyrocket, contributing directly to our $14.3 trillion national debt.
Government interference is the primary source of all of our health care problems. We do not have anything close to a free market system today. A free market system, which should be the ultimate goal, would lower costs for everybody and make health care much more affordable — while respecting real natural rights like the right to property.
What about the poor who cannot afford to go to the doctor and/or insurance? This is where charity comes in. The United States has a vast network of charitable hospitals. Churches and other organization will step in to help the most needy. But note that in a free market system health care costs would be a fraction of what they are today, therefore making health care affordable to tens of millions of new people. Our goal should be to get the government out of the health care business, not try to add more government controls to our existing system.
I would encourage all people to voluntarily give as much as they can to charitable organizations. This is my personal policy. But I would never force somebody else to pay for me or any other person’s health issues. This is called respecting true natural rights.
NOTES TO COMMENTERS: I have a right to present my opinions on this blog. If you agree with me, huzzah! If you disagree, you have the right to either a)ignore what I write b)leave a short, polite comment disagreeing or c)go write what you want on another blog d)go kick your cat (and that may not go over well with the SPCA). Your snarky, impolite comment will never be read by anybody because all comments are going to be moderated. So don’t even try.