Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Taking on the "right" to health care

Walter E. Williams manages to eloquently explain exactly my thoughts on the question of whether or not health care is a right, and it is exactly the point I attempted to make at the town hall meeting with Norm Dicks.
If one person has a right to something he did not earn, of necessity it requires that another person not have a right to something that he did earn. To argue that people have a right that imposes obligations on another is an absurd concept.

The entire article is a must read and is summed up nicely by Williams:
None of my argument is to argue against charity. Reaching into one's own pockets to assist his fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pockets to do so is despicable and deserves condemnation.

9 comments:

  1. Walt has been one of my faves for a couple of years now. His books and collected essays and even his videos from the 80's are timeless and great pillars of truth to empower one against the tyranny of socialism.

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  2. Let me fix that quote for you.

    If one person has a right to free speech, of necessity it requires that another person not have a right to avoid hearing that which offends them deeply. To argue that people have a right that imposes obligations on another is an absurd concept.

    My point being that rights, including our must fundamental rights, do impose obligations on others.

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  3. Mr. Williams is correct. Americans don't have a guaranteed right to access to health care. We also don't have a right to clean water, clean air, a highway system, and buildings that won't pancake in an earthquake. Those are values that our society has decided are worth taking some of our nation's capital to create. The core question with healthcare reform is, "Is the wellness of our citizens important enough to ensure adequate access to health care for all?" If the answer is no, then no amount of market based incentives or bipartisan negotiating will make health reform palatable.

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  4. Totally agree. As Ayn Rand wrote in her seminal article in *The Virtue of Selfishness* titled "Man's Rights":

    "If some men are entitled by right to the products of the work of others, it means that those others are deprived of rights and condemned to slave labor.... Any alleged 'right' of one man, which necessitates the violation of the rights of another, is not and cannot be a right."

    http://aynrandlexicon.com/lexicon/property_rights.html

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  5. The problem with this quote is that it ignores the INCREDIBLE degree of economic co-dependency in our society. Nobody truly "earns" anything independent of others anymore.

    Apply this thinking to schools. There are many people that think they should not have to pay for schooling for other people's children. Perhaps, but if these laws were passed you'd very soon have an explosion in completely uneducated youth with no prospects. Youth crime would skyrocket, incarcerations would go up (which is amazing since they're at record levels), and companies would have an even harder time finding skilled workers. In short, all of America would start to suffer and eventually even the guy who got his wish of no longer paying school taxes would realize that he's worse off than he was.

    By the way, the guy complaining about school taxes rarely ever says he wants to give his own government entitlements back, but I digress...

    Short-term greed is killing America. We need to be smarter than that and look for programs that are rising tides that will raise all our ships. Hospitals already redistribute costs, and health care decisions are made by insurance companies, not doctors and patients. What's so great about the current system? Providing insurance for all will make it a fairer system, and create a vehicle for controlling costs. Yes, it'll be mildly unfair in the short term, but who cares about that if everyone is better off in the long-term?

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  6. If someone has the right to something they did not earn than the Rockefeller family should give up their fortune, because John D is certifiably dead.

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  7. Marx's notion of fairness was "From each according to his ability. To each according to his need." What's the Tea Party alternative? Perhaps it would be something like, "From each according to her will. To each according to her effort."

    Maybe the first part of that is unobjectionable to you. But I don't know if you'd accept the second part. In any case, it's problematic because it doesn't legitimize earnings on interest, and I presume you want to be rewarded for investments of accumulated wealth as well as labor.

    Can you come up with a dictum for fairness that's as straightforward as the Marxist one?

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  8. Ah, maybe not so Grasshopper. To quote from you:

    "Hospitals already redistribute costs, and health care decisions are made by insurance companies, not doctors and patients. What's so great about the current system? Providing insurance for all will make it a fairer system, and create a vehicle for controlling costs."

    Well, Grasshopper, one of the big differences in hospitals and insurance companies making some health care decisions, as opposed to a government Health Advisory Board and tons of bureaucrats, is that hospitals and insurance companies do not have any control over other parts of my life. There are thousands of laws and government regulations that do/can touch our lives, our families, our livelihood. For example,it is not unheard of for people who have opposed the government to get audited by the IRS. I, for one, do not want to have a fight with the federal government over a surgery or a type of medication while the same government has so much more power at its disposal than I do.

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  9. "Apply this thinking to schools. There are many people that think they should not have to pay for schooling for other people's children. Perhaps, but if these laws were passed you'd very soon have an explosion in completely uneducated youth with no prospects. Youth crime would skyrocket, incarcerations would go up (which is amazing since they're at record levels), and companies would have an even harder time finding skilled workers"

    Wait, you mean it would be WORSE than now?

    How?

    Many of the kids I see in the ER where I work are already functional illiterates; crime and bad behavior is rampant, and most of the kids are completely unskilled in anything they could do to make a living, and have no intentions of even bothering to try, as their grandparents are already on the dole; these grandchildren have the same expectations, to have babies that will be paid for by Uncle Sugar.

    Yes, hospitals redistribute costs, and that too is completely insane. The working citizens pay overly high rates so the hospitals can 'afford' to pay for the care that is NOT paid for, which is a huge amount of the tab. We pay for every single person who comes with a venereal disease, or who wants a check-up for same; for pregnancy testing, including the actual test, and then if positive, for the ultrasounds, follow-up care, delivery care...only so we can then later pay for the child care, in a never-ending and ever-more-expensive vicious cycle of payments that must be borne by the taxpayers, i.e. the working class.

    Socialist redistribution is certainly fun if someone else is paying for it, isn't it?

    While I think charity and some forms of helping to maintain a baseline health for everyone is probably going to be agreed to by most, it's a damn shame that those who work and strive get penalized for doing so, as we've gone far and away from the idea of helping the poor, to a Marxist redistributionist idea that confiscates wealth from the workers, and also that makes health care incredibly more expensive; the more "free" care given away, the more expensive it is for the paying crowd.

    Insane. Welfare, Medicaid, all immoral and expensive in current form, and anyone who thinks the current system is fair or equitable or good, is just NUTS.

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