Trampling Rights

Support for socialized medicine continues to grow in the Democrat Party. This headline from Reason Magazine’s Hit & Run highlights what we are facing:

More Than 100 House Democrats Endorse Medicare for All Plan That Would Eliminate Private Health Insurance in Just Two Years

Their primary rationale for advocating socialized medicine and abolishing private health insurance is the assertion that health care is a right. I agree with this assertion to an extent. I agree that every individual has the right to acquire healthcare from any provider with whom they can agree on terms of payment.

But lets start with defining the operative term: rights.

A “right” is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all the others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life. Life is a process of self-sustaining and self-generated action; the right to life means the right to engage in self-sustaining and self-generated action — which means: the freedom to take all the actions required by the nature of a rational being for the support, the furtherance, the fulfillment and the enjoyment of his own life. (Such is the meaning of the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.)

The concept of a “right” pertains only to action — specifically, to freedom of action. It means freedom from physical compulsion, coercion or interference by other men.

Thus, for every individual, a right is the moral sanction of a positive — of his freedom to act on his own judgment, for his own goals, by his own voluntary, uncoerced choice. As to his neighbors, his rights impose no obligations on them except of a negative kind: to abstain from violating his rights.

Ayn Rand Lexicon: Individual Rights

Nowhere in a rational definition of rights is a right to something that someone else has to provide. A right rationally defines is a freedom to act. Which is to say an individual has the freedom to act to secure healthcare only. To say that an individual has an absolute to have healthcare is enforce an obligation on someone else to provide it. That obligation can logically have one of two forms (or a combination of both). Either some individual will be forced to directly provide healthcare, or some people will be forced to pay for the healthcare of others. That act of force is an obliteration of the concept of rights.

The elimination of private health insurance is likewise a rights violating use of force. Individuals are no long free to act on their own judgement regarding healthcare. They are forced to accept the socialized system.

These are the arguments that need to be made against those who advocate government run socialized healthcare under the guise of “Medicare for All.” The pragmatic accounting argument that it costs too much, accepts the left’s premise, and leaves you haggling about the price.

Author: Stephen Macklin

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