The right to health care, explained

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The right to health care, explained

When the cat’s away, the mice will play. While Da TechGuy is in Maine with DaW­ife, I’m run­ning amok on his blog.

In one of my Con­Con­Con posts, a com­menter stated that there was a “de facto right to health care” because of the require­ment that emer­gency rooms treat patients. Now, our intre­pid com­menter should learn the dis­tinc­tion between de facto and de jure rights, as well as to under­stand that EMLATA only applies to hos­pi­tals which accept fund­ing from Health and Human Ser­vices, and only to those who are in the throes of a med­ical emer­gency, or women in active labour. It’s quite a jump from there to free doctor’s vis­its, liver trans­plants, con­tra­cep­tion, trans­sex­ual reas­sign­ment surgery, chi­ro­prac­tic work, or prescriptions.

My response to this non­sense about the “right to” some­thing is the same as it has always been: giv­ing peo­ple the affir­ma­tive, pos­i­tive right to some­thing means that some­one else has to pro­vide that right or face the wrath of the gov­ern­ment, via the seizure of his prop­erty or free­dom. The rea­son that the Bill of Rights starts with “Con­gress shall make no law” (empha­sis mine) is that the fun­da­men­tal basis of our rights is the right to be left alone.

The so-​called “right to health care”, as envi­sioned by the Left, is a “right” which requires physi­cians to pro­vide their ser­vices at the price man­dated by other peo­ple — physi­cians who worked them­selves to the bone through­out high school, col­lege, med­ical school, and res­i­dency, with piles of stu­dent loan debt, who are then told that other peo­ple have a “right” to their ser­vices. To put this non­sense into lefty-​speak, that’s like say­ing that some­one has a “right” to take Eliz­a­beth Warren’s class, even if that per­son is a hick from the South who isn’t qual­i­fied to be admit­ted into Har­vard. Like­wise, the right to keep and bear arms does not mean that the Brady Bill peeps have to buy guns for any red­neck schmuck who can’t afford his own.

The neg­a­tive right to health care — i.e. the right to seek health care with­out the inter­fer­ence of the gov­ern­ment — is no small mat­ter. In Bahrain, physi­cians who treated injuries brought by police offi­cers onto pro­tes­tors have been sen­tenced to years in jail:

The offi­cial Bahrain News Agency reported that eight peo­ple it iden­ti­fied as doc­tors who worked at a cen­tral hos­pi­tal in the cap­i­tal, Man­ama, received 15-​year sen­tences. Other med­ical per­son­nel at the Salmaniya Med­ical Com­plex, Bahrain’s largest pub­lic hos­pi­tal, were given terms of between 5 and 15 years.

That, my friends, is why we have a neg­a­tive right to health care: the right to seek health care with­out the gov­ern­ment arrest­ing our physi­cians. It does not mean that we get to com­man­deer the ser­vices of a doc­tor, or do so indi­rectly by tak­ing over a hos­pi­tal. When a gov­ern­ment gives its cit­i­zens the “right to health care”, they are remov­ing the neg­a­tive rights of physi­cians to pro­vide health care on their own terms, the neg­a­tive rights of every­one else to not have to sup­port a stranger with­out being thrown into prison, and it ignores the real­ity that our great coun­try was founded upon neg­a­tive rights. The sleight-​of-​hand makes it eas­ier to erode all of our neg­a­tive rights, includ­ing the right to access health care with­out the gov­ern­ment nos­ing into your business.

When the cat’s away, the mice will play.  While Da TechGuy is in Maine with DaWife, I’m running amok on his blog.

In one of my ConConCon posts, a commenter stated that there was a “de facto right to health care” because of the requirement that emergency rooms treat patients.  Now, our intrepid commenter should learn the distinction between de facto and de jure rights, as well as to understand that EMLATA only applies to hospitals which accept funding from Health and Human Services, and only to those who are in the throes of a medical emergency, or women in active labour.  It’s quite a jump from there to free doctor’s visits, liver transplants, contraception, transsexual reassignment surgery, chiropractic work, or prescriptions.

My response to this nonsense about the “right to” something is the same as it has always been: giving people the affirmative, positive right to something means that someone else has to provide that right or face the wrath of the government, via the seizure of his property or freedom.  The reason that the Bill of Rights starts with “Congress shall make no law” (emphasis mine) is that the fundamental basis of our rights is the right to be left alone.

The so-called “right to health care”, as envisioned by the Left, is a “right” which requires physicians to provide their services at the price mandated by other people – physicians who worked themselves to the bone throughout high school, college, medical school, and residency, with piles of student loan debt, who are then told that other people have a “right” to their services.  To put this nonsense into lefty-speak, that’s like saying that someone has a “right” to take Elizabeth Warren’s class, even if that person is a hick from the South who isn’t qualified to be admitted into Harvard.  Likewise, the right to keep and bear arms does not mean that the Brady Bill peeps have to buy guns for any redneck schmuck who can’t afford his own.

The negative right to health care – i.e. the right to seek health care without the interference of the government – is no small matter.  In Bahrain, physicians who treated injuries brought by police officers onto protestors have been sentenced to years in jail:

The official Bahrain News Agency reported that eight people it identified as doctors who worked at a central hospital in the capital, Manama, received 15-year sentences. Other medical personnel at the Salmaniya Medical Complex, Bahrain’s largest public hospital, were given terms of between 5 and 15 years.

That, my friends, is why we have a negative right to health care: the right to seek health care without the government arresting our physicians.  It does not mean that we get to commandeer the services of a doctor, or do so indirectly by taking over a hospital.  When a government gives its citizens the “right to health care”, they are removing the negative rights of physicians to provide health care on their own terms, the negative rights of everyone else to not have to support a stranger without being thrown into prison, and it ignores the reality that our great country was founded upon negative rights.  The sleight-of-hand makes it easier to erode all of our negative rights, including the right to access health care without the government nosing into your business.