One of the things argued in this whole health care reform debate is the slogan that health care is a basic human right. That’s the stance of those on the political left who were in favor of this legislation. Their argument essentially is if health care is a basic human right, then private insurance companies can no longer refuse insurance to people with pre-existing conditions and they must offer health affordable insurance for all people.
As arguments go, this is a good one. Logically speaking, it is airtight. If “A” is a human right, then it is criminal and immoral to deny “A” to anybody. This argument was used with great success during the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. For example, the Voting Rights Act declared that the right to vote could not be denied to anyone on the basis of race, creed, religion, etc.
The above argument falls into the type of argument called modus ponens (Latin for “the way of affirmation”). Syllogistically, the argument looks like this:
- If A, then B
- Therefore, B
If A is true, the B necessarily follows. The question that begs to be asked (and one that I would love to hear proponents of health care reform answer for me) is this: Is health care a basic human right?
I don’t have the Bill of Rights memorized, but I’m pretty sure that affordable health care is not listed among the enumerated rights in the U.S. Constitution. Why is that? Was it an oversight by the Founding Fathers? I don’t think so. Here is the reason why I don’t think health care is a basic human right: Health care is not something the U.S. Government can guarantee. This bill that was singed into law last week has nothing to do with health care and everything to do with health insurance. But until the U.S. Government actually gets into the business of providing health care, it cannot guarantee health care as a human right.
I want to highlight an excerpt from an article I read:
But David Axelrod, President Obama’s senior adviser, predicted once people get their benefits, they won’t want to give them up.
“Millions of small businesses this year will get tax credits for health insurance for their employees. Kids with pre-existing conditions will get coverage for the first time. They won’t be excluded any more,” Axelrod said on CNN. “If people really want to repeal those things, then go and make the case to the American people. After all, that’s what elections are for.”
I think this is exactly the position this administration wants to get us into; namely, being dependent on the government for our health care. They want to further this false notion that health care is a basic human right and then position themselves as the champions of this human right against those who want to take it away from them. but as we saw earlier, the bill has nothing at all to do with health care reform. It is a bill ‘designed’ to provide insurance to all (we can argue whether this bill will even do that in another article); it is a health insurance reform bill.
The problem with looking at this debate from the lens of rights is that it furthers the entitlement mindset that has been created in this country for the past 50 years. Mr. Axelrod is probably correct in saying that once people get their benefits, they won’t want to give them up. Absent from all of this discussion is the consequences (foreseen and unforeseen) that this bill creates. Is it any wonder why the goodies of this bill come way before the bill comes due? It’s like having a credit card: You love the things you can get with a credit card, but you hate paying the bill; and the bill always comes!
I’d love to hear what you all think!