Healthcare is NOT a Right

Written by David E. Smith

Universal healthcare, also known as “Medicare for All,” is back in the news.  U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) is joined in his advocacy of this entitlement program by most, if not all, Democratic presidential candidates, including U.S. Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro. According to an article in The Washington Post, all of the major Democratic presidential candidates support “Medicare for All” or something else to achieve universal healthcare coverage.

The implicit claim in the assertion that healthcare is a “fundamental human right” is that it is a constitutionally protected right. All experts agree that healthcare is neither a constitutional nor a legal right. In America we understand that our rights to the free exercise of religion, to speak freely, to bear arms and to be secure from unwarranted search and seizure come from God.

To see the difference in government-mandated healthcare and real rights, look at how they are exercised. Historically, American citizens have been free to exercise their real, constitutionally protected rights or not as they see fit. The government does not compel citizens to attend church in the name of religious freedom. The government does not compel citizens to own a gun in the name of the Second Amendment. And the government does not force citizens to engage in the political process in the name of free speech. In contrast, our radically “progressive” friends are eager to compel every American using the heavy hand of government to exercise their so-called “right” to healthcare. Should we celebrate the passage of a bill that in the service of non-existent rights actually diminishes our God-given liberty?

What is really at issue is not whether healthcare is a “right” but whether citizens have a right to taxpayer-funded healthcare. What other cherished American “right” has ever required that we diminish another’s liberty? Does the right to free speech require newspaper owners to print every op-ed and editorial? Does the right to bear arms require the government to arm its citizenry? Does the freedom of religion require government-funding of churches, mosques and synagogues? Why then, does this “right” to healthcare require the government to take from some to give to others? When in the history of our country have we had to secure a right by trampling on the liberties of others?

Make no mistake, that is exactly what is happening with this push for a government takeover of the healthcare industry. This new healthcare “right” will be forced on every American, and it will be made possible by taking from citizens “according to their ability” and giving to others “according to their needs” (Karl Marx, 1875).

We only have to look to the U.K. and the sad case of Charlie Gard to see what government-controlled health care looks like. If the bureaucratic “experts” deem you unworthy of medical treatment, they can slam the door on any options you may want to pursue. We might as well put a fork  in any semblance of liberty when it comes to parental rights, conscience rights and free will. The tyrannical government decides.

In 2010, ObamaCare forced many American citizens into a socialized health care system and forced states into an enormous expansion of Medicaid. According to the Chicago Tribune, approximately 650,000 Illinoisans were added to the Medicaid rolls in the years after its rollout. Crain’s Chicago Business claims that this “expansion has caused skyrocketing enrollment, massive cost overruns and siphoned away incredibly limited resources from those who truly have no way to help themselves.” This 2017 article points out that this expansion has cost Illinois taxpayers “more than $9.2 billion—more than double what was projected.” It is part of the reason state lawmakers voted for massive tax hikes earlier this month.

Sadly, the costs of ObamaCare have been much higher than the so-called “experts” projected, and the Regressives demand for universal socialized medicine will prove to be much more expensive than they project. More importantly, while the financial costs to taxpayers is considerable, the damage to personal liberty is incalculable.

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