It has been touted by our comrade-in-chief that healthcare is a “right” that all people are entitled to. In that regard I assume he views healthcare in the same vein as the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence. When one looks at those principles that are ascribed as rights, what is observed is that they are A) seen as God given liberties that can only be denied through tyranny (as with the declaration of Independence); B) seen as a protection guaranteeing individual liberty (as with the Bill of Rights); and C) revolve around freedoms that are intrinsic to an individual, but which do not deprive others of their liberties.
Regarding the last point, for example, the first amendment guarantees that I have the “right” to practice my religion without molestation by the government. It also guarantees that I have a right to express my point of view without fear of reprisal. The second amendment ensures that I have the “right” to bear arms and protect myself. These “rights” maintain liberty for a citizen but do not deprive another citizen of their rights in the process.
When I write this blog, my writing does not deprive another of their “rights.” When I purchase a fire-arm, I am, again, not depriving someone of their fundamental liberties. When I worship on Sunday I am not depriving someone of something. It appears that what we as a body politic have always viewed as valid rights, have always leaned in the direction of protecting the liberty of citizens, but never at the expense of others.
There seems to be a basic principle at work in our historical understanding and application of “rights”: basic rights never come at the expense of others. When this principle is applied to the “right” of healthcare it becomes evident that healthcare cannot be seen as a fundamental liberty as historically defined.
Obama has just passed the first step in guaranteeing healthcare as a basic right. His goal is to make it available at little, to no cost, to your average citizen. In order for this to be done, the government must control all costs, from the price of prescriptions to the salary of doctors and nurses. Unfortunately in seeking to give heathcare as a basic right, the government must reduce the liberties of those who have, through personal sacrifice and ingenuity, made the American health system what it is today.
The many people who enter the health care industry usually do so at great personal expense to themselves. Your average doctor spends twelve years in higher education and enters the work force with over a hundred-thousand dollars in debt. The average pharmaceutical company spends hundreds of millions of dollars to bring a single product to market.
For the government to artificially reduce the cost of their products and services means that it has to limit the income potential of everyone involved. In doing so the government must necessarily reduce the ability of the industry to produce, through innovation and research, the necessary services that benefit your average citizen. Hence, in order to “benefit” the patient, by guaranteeing a new “right,” the government must decrease the liberty of the entire medical field by limiting both their income potential as well as their ability to produce the needed goods and services. Further, in an ironic twist, in seeking to benefit the citizen with the “right” of healthcare, the government unwittingly reduces his ability to receive the best goods and services available. All are harmed in the long run!
Our healthcare industry is the best in the world because of the many brilliant people who have had the freedom to pursue their passions in a system that guaranteed them the freedom to do so. No one has the right to freely benefit from the ingenuity of others. In the past this has been called either charity or theft. While charity is good and desirable, and has its place, it cannot sustain an industry to produce the excellent services that benefit others.
Further, if I benefit from someone else’s hard work and ingenuity, then they have a right to be rewarded even as I have reaped the rewards of their hard work. This is the basis of capitalism and the reason our society has seen an exponential increase in the quality of life.
I want those in the health care industry to have the freedom to do what they do best – pursing excellence in medicine. Further, I want them to have the incentive to pursue excellence.
We have a medical field only because of the basic liberties that were guaranteed at the founding of our nation. The people were left unmolested to be creative and inventive. The results have been wonderful. To invent new rights that harm others in the making is only to reduce incentive, discourage ingenuity and lower the standard of living for everyone involved.
Our founding fathers were wise men. A single sentence of their wisdom outweighs all the sophism of our president and his puppets:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”