Healthcare: Right or Privilege?

The latest target of the online leftists’ ‘two-minutes hate’ was Miss USA, who committed heresy in response to the following question about healthcare.

Do you think affordable healthcare for all US citizens is a right or a privilege and why?

New Miss USA: Health Care is a Privilege

Leftists, of course, think the only acceptable answer is that healthcare is a right.

The correct answer to the question, however, is difficult to ascertain because of ambiguity associated with the term ‘affordable healthcare.’ If ‘affordable healthcare’ means that your healthcare is paid for mostly or entirely by others, then no, that is not a right. You have no right to other peoples’ money.

But if instead ‘affordable healthcare’ means that you have a right to purchase with your own money whatever healthcare you can afford, then yes, that is a right. You have a right to pay for your own healthcare; you have no right to force others to pay.

In the United States, however, citizens are not fully able to exercise the right to purchase healthcare because the FDA often prevents patients from accessing particular drugs or treatments that they want, even when their doctors approve. For instance, as we reported last year, parents of children afflicted with deadly Duchenne’s disease literally begged FDA panelists to let them take an experimental drug that might extend their lives. But the FDA panel voted no anyway.

That free-born citizens would have to literally beg for their lives in front of government functionaries is absolutely disgusting.

FDA delenda est.

Furthermore, asserting the phony right to healthcare paid for by others tends to undermine the real right to pay for your own healthcare. The high taxes needed to support the socialist healthcare system leaves people in many cases with not enough income after taxes to afford to purchase their own healthcare outside the system. In that sense, making healthcare more affordable can actually in some cases make healthcare less affordable.

In Canada, for example, the need to keep everybody and their money within the socialist system resulted in a legal ban on all private purchase of healthcare. Hence it is technically illegal in Canada to privately transact in healthcare or in health insurance. That’s right–Canadian law specifically abrogates the citizen’s right to use his own money to purchase healthcare. The phony right extinguishes the real right.

Of course, in practice, many private healthcare clinics do exist in Canada. But technically, these are illegal, and the authorities tolerate them by refusing to enforce the law. The authorities so far have not dared to shut down the private clinics, because they provide people with essential treatment not available from the socialist system. The existence of the illegal private clinics testifies to the unworkability of the socialist system.

But getting back to Miss USA, she eventually had to walk back her statement, which is a sad reminder of the stifling leftist constraints on our public discourse. We now have a situation in the world, as an online wag put it, where China is a ‘communist’ country governed by the principles of capitalism, and the US is a ‘capitalist’ country governed by the principles of communism.

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2 thoughts on “Healthcare: Right or Privilege?

  1. That question is B.S. because it uses the fallacy of the false dichotomy. “Privilege” is a loaded word. (And like you said, the definition of “right” is perverted here.) They wouldn’t ask if clothing is a right or a privilege. (Maybe give them a few years, I guess.) The fact that most people buy their own clothes (or children’s parents buy them) doesn’t mean they’re a “privilege.”

    • Yeah, there is much mischief in that formulation in that it can be applied to almost everything. Housing: right or privilege? Food: right or privilege? The interesting thing is that, if we asserted a right to food or housing, I think it would be relatively obvious to people that it leads to the thorny question, how much? Do you have a right to sirloin? To a 3000 square foot home? But when it comes to healthcare, people seem to suffer from the Kimmel Delusion that it is not a scarce good; they think it’s possible for everyone to have immediate access to top-quality treatment for whatever ails them. That’s not true, which is why socialist systems, including the VA, put people on waiting lists for months.

      If you claim healthcare is a right, you must therefore also be prepared to answer, how much?

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