Healthcare Is a Good, Not a Right

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Political
philosopher Richard Weaver famously and correctly stated that ideas
have consequences. Take for example ideas about rights versus goods.
Natural law states that people have rights to life, liberty and
the pursuit of happiness. A good is something you work for and earn.
It might be a need, like food, but more “goods” seem to
be becoming “rights” in our culture, and this has troubling
consequences. It might seem harmless enough to decide that people
have a right to things like education, employment, housing or healthcare.
But if we look a little further into the consequences, we can see
that the workings of the community and economy are thrown wildly
off balance when people accept those ideas.

First of all,
other people must pay for things like healthcare. Those people have
bills to pay and families to support, just as you do. If there is
a “right” to healthcare, you must force the providers
of those goods, or others, to serve you.

Obviously,
if healthcare providers were suddenly considered outright slaves
to healthcare consumers, our medical schools would quickly empty.
As the government continues to convince us that healthcare is a
right instead of a good, it also very generously agrees to step
in as middleman. Politicians can be very good at making it sound
as if healthcare will be free for everybody. Nothing could be further
from the truth. The administration doesn’t want you to think
too much about how hospitals will be funded, or how you will somehow
get something for nothing in the healthcare arena. We are asked
to just trust the politicians. Somehow it will all work out.

Universal
Healthcare never quite works out the way the people are led to believe
before implementing it. Citizens in countries with nationalized
healthcare never would have accepted this system had they known
upfront about the rationing of care and the long lines.

As
bureaucrats take over medicine, costs go up and quality goes down
because doctors spend more and more of their time on paperwork and
less time helping patients. As costs skyrocket, as they always do
when inefficient bureaucrats take the reins, government will need
to confiscate more and more money from an already foundering economy
to somehow pay the bills. As we have seen many times, the more money
and power that government has, the more power it will abuse. The
frightening aspect of all this is that cutting costs, which they
will inevitably do, could very well mean denying vital services.
And since participation will be mandatory, no legal alternatives
will be available.

The
government will be paying the bills, forcing doctors and hospitals
to dance more and more to the government’s tune. Having to
subject our health to this bureaucratic insanity and mismanagement
is possibly the biggest danger we face. The great irony is that
in turning the good of healthcare into a right, your life and liberty
are put in jeopardy.

Instead
of further removing healthcare from the market, we should return
to a true free market in healthcare, one that empowers individuals,
not bureaucrats, with control of healthcare dollars. My bill HR
1495 the Comprehensive Healthcare Reform Act provides tax credits
and medical savings accounts designed to do just that.

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July
21, 2009

Dr. Ron
Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.

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