Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ron Paul: Health Care is a Good, Not a Right

It is incredible to see how much of the health care reform debate is centered around whether health care is a right or a good. It seems that if we understood this simple concept, the role of government in health care would be understood and the reform debates would be over.

I believe that this may be the first American generation even capable of sustaining this good vs. right debate. If our ancestors were asked to name American rights they would have mentioned the right to worship, to right to free speech, and the right to bear arms. If asked, the current generation might mention some of these, but would also include the right to education, the right to Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security or the right to government disaster aid.

As we have discussed in length in the past (see Health Care: a Right or a Commodity), the Declaration of Independence sheds light on what true rights are: “Men… are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights.” True rights are endowed by the creator- not distributed or rationed by governments. They are also unalienable or inseparable from the human existence. Neither health care, education, nor any other social program fits this description. They are not God-given, nor are they unalienable.

Ron Paul pegs many of the central issues of the right vs. goods debate in his weekly message. We thank our readers for sending this on to us. You can read the text of his address here.

Rusty Scalpel


Hamster said...

A parable

One day a poor pregnant woman came to Ron Paul
“Oh, wise one” cried the woman. “My husband has abandoned me and my children for another woman. I cannot support this child in my belly. I want to have an abortion. ”

Ron Paul gazed upon the poor woman and replied “No. Woman. The baby in your belly has a right to life. Go and have your baby and forget about an abortion”
So the woman had her baby.
The baby was born gravely sick.
It needed a doctor and expensive medical care.
So the woman returned to the Congressman
“Oh wise one. My baby is sick. But I am poor. I have no means of support and no health insurance. My child needs expensive medical care.”
Ron Paul took the the poor woman’s hands in his.
“Health care is not a right. My child. It is a good.” He reminded her . “You chose to marry an unreliable man. You chose to be a wife and mother instead of learning a trade to support yourself. We are all responsible for our choices. If your child is sick and you cannot afford a doctor you have no one to blame but yourself.

The child died after much suffering

Rusty Scalpel said...

Hamster brings up a good point- one of the driving motives for socialized health care. What do we do for those in difficult circumstances who cannot care for themselves? There are certainly many of our neighbors and countrymen who cannot afford care at the time they need it. Without socialized health care, are they going to be left on the streets suffering? If all government aid disappeared, would Americans die in droves?

The answer may appear uncertain, because it depends on the individual choices. If there is no law threatening confiscation of our bank accounts, will we help our neighbors? If the IRS stopped demanding huge percentages of our incomes to support Medicare and Medicaid (which already address the needs of the destitute), would Americans step in to help the needy? Hamster seems to believe that the answer is no. I believe the answer is yes.

Assuming the death of the child without socialized health care is to assume that Americans have no charity or virtue or that they are blind to the suffering of those around them. I do not believe this to be the case. I do not believe Americans need to be legally compelled or that their bank accounts need to be seized in order to help their neighbors. Saying 'no' to socialized health care is not saying 'no' to the pauper. Saying no to socialized health care is a vote for freedom. It is a vote of confidence in America. It is a vote of confidence that America still has virtue- that if Americans are left to make a moral choice, many of them will make the right choice.

Americans do not have to be forced, driven at gunpoint, to help those around them. They have freedoms, freedoms which they believe to be God-given and unalienable, which they will exercise to do the job much better than any federally-devised health program.

Rusty Scalpel

Tom Bombadil said...

Oh Hamster, you made me cry. But your parable is a typical transparent tactic of the liberal (read socialist) wing. That being to make yourself come off as caring and concerned while insinuating that any alternative solutions to the problem are contradictory to those emotions.

Furthermore, I agree with Rusty Scalpel. You cannot force charity or virtue (by taxation or other means) on anyone because that very act is contrary to the nature of those emotions. Charity and virtue are voluntary and cannot be drawn out of a person by taxing them in order to help the poor. That would violate one of those inalienable rights (as opposed to the need you are implying is a right)...remember...liberty.