EppsNet Archive: Rights

Is Healthcare a Right or an Entitlement?

18 Dec 2017 /

That’s the title of a lengthy article on LinkedIn in which the author makes the following argument:

  1. I had to spend more than $30,000 on cancer treatment.
  2. Therefore, healthcare is a right, not an entitlement.
Pharmacy

Because having a “right” to something implies that you have the right to force another person to work and pay for that thing.

You can add a level of abstraction, i.e., “the government should pay for my healthcare” sounds more appealing than “another person should pay for my healthcare” but where do you think government gets the money to pay for things?

The article also offers this: Prisoners get free healthcare and shouldn’t we get the same rights as prisoners?

Of course, prisoners give up a lot of rights in exchange for free healthcare but if you think it’s a good tradeoff, commit a crime and go to prison.

If we, as a country, did what they do in countries with “free” healthcare, that is, add up the cost of everyone’s healthcare and then split the bill equally, most of us would pay more than we do now, the reason being that a disproportionate amount of healthcare spending goes to people who are old and/or sick.

We’d overpay most of our lives for the privilege of possibly underpaying if and when we get old.

If you had the bad fortune of getting cancer, you’d pay less than you would with the current system, but if you don’t get cancer you’d pay more, because you’d have to pick up your share of the cost for everyone who does get cancer.

There is at least one potential cost-saving option of putting the government in charge of healthcare spending and that is that if you’re very old or very sick, you’re not going to get all that technology and all those drugs to maybe keep you going for another couple of years. It’s too expensive, so we’re going to let you die.


Do You Have a ‘Right’ to Health Care?

30 Sep 2013 /

The general point is that a positive right to health care – no matter how splendid you hold that right to be and no matter how lovely is the provision of that right – requires that its recipients receive at others’ expense the services to which these recipients have a ‘right.’ Someone (or a multitude of someones) must supply those services whose recipients self-righteously insist be supplied as a matter of ‘right.’ This fact is undeniable and inescapable.

Note that – although undeniable and inescapable – this fact does not by itself establish a case against treating health care as a right. But recognizing this reality does reveal certain potentially ugly aspects of all this ‘rights’ talk about health care – namely, to exercise your ‘right’ to health care requires that someone else be forced to serve you. Someone else must not merely refrain from interfering in your life and business. Instead, that someone else must be obliged to exert positive effort to help you – and not because you make it worthwhile for that person to exert that effort on your behalf, but because the government will ultimately execute him or her if he or she refuses to supply you with that to which you have a positive ‘right.’

I’m aware that such positive “rights” strike many people as being evidence of a highly progressive and especially civilized and caring society. They strike me as being quite the opposite: evidence not only of economic ignorance, but of collectivized and mutually destructive predation camouflaged with a pretty mask and falsely scented with absurd oratory.