Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is Health Care a Right?

by: R.J. Moeller

Health care is right, not a privilege.”

-Barack Obama

The law has placed the collective force at the disposal of the unscrupulous who wish, without risk, to exploit the person, liberty, and property of others. It has converted plunder into a right, in order to protect plunder…The law has been perverted by the influence of two entirely different causes: stupid greed and false philanthropy.”

-Frederic Bastiat

The latest in the ever-changing news from the White House is that the administration will potentially be willing to concede their “public option” plan in any final health care reform bill. In the face of mounting disapproval, President Obama would be making the smart political move by backing away from the wildly unpopular idea. Americans should be excited by the fact that their voices were heard, but there are two important points that scream for our attention from this entire ordeal.

First, we must not let our elation over the possibly averted federal takeover of our health care cloud the fact that the most influential Democrats in this country actually wanted the plan to succeed. We never should have even come this close to the public option becoming a reality, and please note that the only bi-partisanship displayed this entire summer was between moderate Democrats in Congress and Center-Right Americans around the country who opposed the Obama-Pelosi plan. The public option was, and always has been, only overwhelmingly supported by progressive liberals.

Second, and in light of the first, Americans absolutely must learn from this teachable moment why it is Leftists like Barack Obama both believe in socialized medicine, and will never cease to fight to bring it to our shores.

Simply put, they deem it to be a right.

Now a right is a very serious thing. Perhaps unwittingly, Americans have cheapened the term, distorting the true meaning of “rights” through an ironic combination of over-use verbally and neglect intellectually, but that does not mean it cannot be reclaimed for a new generation. In fact, it must be re-claimed or we will soon find ourselves, this great experiment in republican democracy, on the same ash heap of history where lesser, inferior civilizations now lay. If America fails, it won’t be because of the ideas laid out in the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution, but because her people confused and exploited the most basic precepts, values, and principles of their national inheritance.

Chief among the ideas currently under assault is the notion of “rights”.

As melodramatic as all this may sound, please understand that when the President of the United States publicly asserts that the service of health care provided by trained medical professionals is now a “right”, a divergent path from the republican one we’re supposed to be on has just been presented to you as a legitimate, alternate option. Walking down it will most certainly have real and definite repercussions, whether you embrace the president’s assertion or not. Ideas have consequences.

Practically speaking, a right is something that your government, your neighbor, owes to you no matter what. No if’s, and’s or but’s about it: if something is a right, then you cannot be kept from it.

The most important of rights are ones that involve something others cannot do to you, not what they must do for you.

Freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, the right to life (i.e. prohibitions against murder), and Habeas Corpus are rights. No one has a right to sleep with whomever they want, whenever they want, but we all have the right to tell someone they can't sleep with us any time we want.

Despite what you might have been misled to believe, health care and health insurance are goods; they are services; they are commodities. People work hard to produce and provide them. In the case of medical professionals, they have spent a massive amount of time and money, taken significant personal risks, to prepare to provide John Q. Customer with the strep test or brain surgery or hip replacement he needs. The United States became the medical system that people from countries all around the globe come to use in spite of the government’s involvement, not because of it.

For a quick mental exercise to help dramatize my concern over President Obama’s misguided claim that health care is a right, substitute “health care” with the words “car” or “washing machine”.

The moment you picture Nancy Pelosi standing at the podium of a press conference to announce the new “right" to a working automobile for every adult, or Harry Reid releasing a press statement ensuring that he and the Democrats will fight to put "a new washing machine in every family’s laundry room”, the preposterous nature of Obama’s statement ought to be readily evident.

Who will provide the car for someone who cannot work? For someone who refuses to work? For the person who wraps his or her car around a telephone pole after a MGD-64 bender at the local watering hole? Or for the person who would rather hand-wash their clothes and keep the washing machine funds in order to be able to take a family vacation or buy a purebred Lassie-looking collie?

Will this new “right” be enacted the way it is legally supposed to be, with an amendment to the Constitution? Or will we continue the time-honored, bi-partisan tradition of circumventing the “rule-book” we only like to point to when it helps us defend pet-issues such as Roe v. Wade or Gun rights?

Political foresight involves the ability to see down the road to the likely results of the words that come from the mouths of politicians. This is a difficult skill to master; especially as it pertains to people we may personally like or have voted for. Most Americans do in fact like Barack Obama, and that is not a bad thing. But from the man who has constantly reminded us that “words matter”, it is not reactionary or irrational to piece his together in order to form a general blueprint of the national designs that the president and leading Democrats in Washington claim to have for the country.

Health care, in the mind of the American Leftist, is a right that the federal government should ensure with the tax dollars of wealthier citizens. This is why they will never stop trying to get socialized medicine.

The fact that nearly 90% of Americans are happy with their current health care is of little consequence to a progressive liberal like Barack Obama precisely because he has already accepted the premise that “free” health care is a right. The fact that serious improvements can be immediately made to the cost of health care through measures such as Tort Reform legislation, and allowing American citizens to purchase their health insurance from any company in any state, matters little to the politician who long ago settled it in his or her heart that the elite-led State always knows better than the individual.

If in the consciences of our Commander-in-Chief, his administration and cabinet, and the ranking members of a Democrat-controlled congress, health care is a right, does anyone actually believe that their real intention is nothing more than a mere cost-effective alternative to private insurance? And if that is the case, if the current Leftist power brokers in Washington have no desire whatsoever to bring the health care system under their bureaucratic thumbs (should they be given the chance), then what sort of people are they? Have they no real convictions?

Have they been lying to their constituents for decades? Are those Americans who voted for Barack Obama because they desire Britain’s health care system not furious? Are the special interest groups and unions who rallied support and funds for then-Senator Obama not incensed that the promise of a public option leading to single-payer, State-run health care was all a ruse?

In one breath the Left tell us they believe in their heart of hearts that it is a right to have your government (via the coercively-taken fruits of more-successful people’s labors) provide you with “free” health insurance and care, and in the next, that we who disagree with their hypothesis and warn others about its potentially devastating effects on our nation’s economy (and soul) are fear-mongers who aren’t being honest about the “facts”.

Liberal Democrats have been trying for decades to get socialized medicine. They have specifically attempted to use the “public option” Trojan Horse numerous times. President Obama is on record as having said that the attempt at a public option would be his first legislative step towards a day when the federal government controlled the entire health care system.

In Rules for Radicals, Saul Alinsky’s seminal book on community organizing Barack Obama believed in so much that for more than a decade he taught classes to new activist recruits on its strategy and tactics from, the reformer-agitator is encouraged to use language that his or her audience is comfortable and familiar with in order to enact changes that the public would otherwise oppose.

Any of this ringing a bell?

I am open and honest regarding my ardent belief that health care is not a right: it is a privilege. Trimming down the size, scope, and waste of our government could more than help provide the funds needed to graciously aid those in the most desperate of needs. Private citizens and charities giving more of their time and money should be the rallying cry for all those who truly care for the disadvantaged. Specific, limited reforms, like the ones I mentioned earlier, can drastically decrease the costs of health care for everyone else.

Ignoring the reality of limited resources, our Constitution’s limits for what the federal government can do, and the inferior results of other nations’ State-controlled, single-payer health care systems is beyond foolish.

You know where I stand. If only our president was as forthcoming.