Free Markets, Free People

Health Care: When talking about liberty and rights is radical and extreme

The other day, Michelle Bachman said:

“We will always have people in this country through hardship, through no fault of their own, who won’t be able to afford health care,” Bachmann said. “That’s just the way it is. But usually what we have are charitable organizations or hospitals who have enough left over so that they can pick up the cost for the indigent who can’t afford it.”

That initiated the usual reaction from the left:

Before the advent of Medicare and Medicaid, charities did provide health care to those in need. But to suggest that they can do the same today is to misunderstand the enormity of the health care crisis, as charities simply do not have the capacity to handle the demand. As the number of uninsured creeps up to 50 million, for any politician to argue that government should outsource the task of keeping Americans healthy to charities is like saying that people should be punished with death if they are unfortunate enough to be poor or are priced out of insurance due to a pre-existing health condition.

And that’s one of the more family friendly reactions.

But let’s look at it.   First question, why is it that “charities simply do not have the capacity to handle the demand?”  Any takers?

Is it because there are no established charitable programs in place anymore because government usurped the need for them with Medicare and Medicaid?   Perhaps not wholly, but it certainly is one of the reasons.   Charities, like any other organization, focus their giving where there is a need.   And where no one else, usually, is helping.   No need, no priority, no charity.

Secondly, you see the insidious conclusion that “the demand” that would strain the capacity of charities can only be met by … government, of course.  Naturally there’s no way to really test that conclusion because government has destroyed the market for charitable health care giving.

So, as usual, government has helped create the problem (lack of charitable institutions focused on providing health care for poor) and now, according to the left, the government is the answer to the problem it created.  It may not be something you traditionally consider a market (charitable giving in health care) but there’s no question that government intrusion into the health care market changed the dynamic completely.

And finally the unspoken premise: Health care is a human right.  Sorry, but health isn’t even a “human right”.  Obviously health care requires the labor of others.   It requires their time and the abilities they’ve developed over the years.  It is their property to dispose of as they will. But bottom line, health care requires the labor of others in order to fulfill this assumed right.  

Clue: To be a right, the right must not violate the rights of others.  It cannot take precedence or priority over someone’s right to decide how to use their property – i.e. their developed and marketable abilities.   Period.  That’s slavery.   Here we see another twisting of a word that denotes a condition of freedom and liberty into one that demands virtual slavery from others.

You may or may not agree with Michelle Bachman’s statement.  But, in reality it is the way a truly free country should work.  Instead we seem to opt for “government is always the answer” (even when it is the entity that created the problem) and coercion is just fine for fulfilling utopian dreams.

Hard to call that “free” isn’t it?


Twitter: @McQandO

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41 Responses to Health Care: When talking about liberty and rights is radical and extreme

  • “…charities simply do not have the capacity…”

    This is what we call a naked assertion.  It has no support.
    Conversely, charities USED to have the capacity.  In our not-too-distant HISTORY.
    Formal charities actually DO show great capacity, and that completely discounts informal charities, such as those ad hoc funds I see constantly in my rural area, organized to support people who have encountered disease or accident and cannot meet the costs.

  • The question I ask is, “If health care is a right and a doctor goes on vacation while a person is in need of medical care then has that doctor violated this person’s right to health care?”
    The answer I’ve gotten from left wingers is that if a person has chosen to become a doctor then it is not a violation of their rights to make health care a right.  The doctor chose the profession and it comes with the territory.  It is compared to fire fighters being expected to put out fires or people who sign up for the military know that they may be put in harms way.
    I don’t buy it.  It is like if I choose to buy a car then I have to give other people a ride.  I may give someone a ride but it is not a right.  A doctor may choose to give care pro-bono but it is not a right.

    • There is a long line of cases which make clear you have no “right” to police or fire protection.  Except in VERY rare conditions, you or I have NO cause of action against police or fire departments for NOT protecting us.

      • I think the claim here is that an obligation is made when taking these professions.  If you’re a police officer then you’re obliged to uphold the law.  If you’re a fire fighter then you’re obliged to put out fires.  If you’re a doctor then you’re obliged to help the sick.  In short, your profession comes with an obligation to society and since you can freely choose your profession then it is not a violation of your rights.
        Again, I don’t buy this.  Individuals take on obligations by voluntary consent and not by some sort of collectivist obligation.

        • If you’re a police officer then you’re obliged to uphold the law.  If you’re a fire fighter then you’re obliged to put out fires.

          Those are public sector jobs which are necessarily restrictive. While some police are considered on-duty 24/7, they are not expected to handle anything beyond the most crucial and immediate situations, such as a robbery in their presence. Likewise, a fireman might render first-aid at an accident, he’s not going to put out fires while off duty.

    • Isn’t it kinda hilarious that generally the person who will say ” The doctor chose the profession and it comes with the territory” has NOT chosen the kind of profession that leaves them obligated to ‘the rest of us’?
      I mean, what were the chances of that happening eh?    So, if I need a wall built, I should be able to force a mason to do it?   A new roof – a roofer?  My daily bread, a farmer?
      Are any of these lefty friends of yours craftsmen?  You know, knitters, sewers, that sort of thing?  Perhaps you could demand clothing of them, or woodworking, or organic farm products.  After all, if health care is a right, it makes sense that clothing to keep you healthy is a right, and food to keep you from starving is a right.  It’s hardly sensible to insist a doctor save you from starvation if you’re going to go back out and starve because no one will provide food for you does it?  Hardly makes sense for them to save you from exposure if no one will provide a place for you to live, and heat to keep it warm in winter does it?
      🙂  Just sayin.

      • This line of argument I was given opens up all sorts of problems, namely the ones you listed.  They’ll say health care is ‘special’ because if you get sick then you need it.  As you point out, people need to eat so does the farmer have to pony up?  People need (for the most part) a house to live in so does the carpenter have to pony up?  People need clothes and the cotton isn’t going to pick itself… well, let’s not go there.
        The problem, as best as I can figure, is that the left winger I was talking to put society ahead of the individual.  I don’t buy that.  Rights belong to individuals.  They are not determined by societal good.

        • Ah, society, corporations, the government – all things many people seem to think exist beyond the individuals that make them up.   Like any of them can exist without individuals.  It’s the ‘they’ in ‘they say’, ‘they did’, ‘they want’, the faceless, nameless ‘they’.
          Clueless – failure to recognize everything is made up of smaller components, and those components matter.  Well, let’s face it,  the components only matter when THEY are the components we’re talking about.  I’m convinced they’re all pretty selfish when it comes right down to it, though if you ask them, they would tell you it’s exactly the opposite.   They envision a society in which someone else will do the things they want or need done, charity, providing food, providing shelter, providing protection, and they will decide what is good, and what people ought to have and they will force you through government to participate in their grand causes.
          But their fundamental premise is that ‘others’ must sacrifice for the greater good, oh, sure, they’re willing to sacrifice some things, you know, maybe, provided it’s not too too inconvenient and all.   You see it every day – more solar power, but they don’t want the panels in their yard, wind power, but put the windmills where they can’t see them, power plants, in someone else’s state, power lines, not across their land, not in their line of sight – again, and again, and again.
          And they never get that forcing other people to work for you, or your causes isn’t freedom, no matter how you slice it, and when you give them NO choices in the matter even if you pay them it’s still slavery.

      • if I need a wall built, I should be able to force a mason to do it?   A new roof – a roofer?  My daily bread, a farmer?

        Imagine the onus that’d be put on hookers! 🙂

    • Do you suppose it never occurs to them, that like a person NOT choosing to be born into slavery, a person might, if forced to constantly attend to the needs of others because of the profession they choose, chose NOT to be a doctor?   No no, that would require some reality to intersect their thought process where others give selflessly of themselves for their benefit while they go about selfishly expecting others to provide for them because they think they have a ‘right’.

      • I’ll let you decide.  The argument is on this forum here:
        It used to be free but now it is a pay site.  So you’ll be limited to how many page views you get.

        • Ah, nice.  I read only the first section – John Brown as an icon.  How sweet, he was such a good example for everyone, I mean, aside from a little murder and all…..but you know, if the cause is just, outright murder is okay I guess.  It’s not exactly a random choice for a photo now is it.
          And because you can’t show any cases where the police knocked down a door to make a doctor be a doctor, they can’t see it – the force has to be overt for them, has to have already happened, it can’t be a logical extension of circumstances.  It hasn’t happened that people are assigned jobs based on their capacities, so it never CAN happen, under any circumstance, show them where it HAS happened or you’re crazy.   It’ll never come to that, it’ll all be the same as today, except, for whatever it is they currently want.  And if people choose to be Doctors, well screw them, they should have done something else.   And if no one who is truly qualified wants to be a doctor, well….hrmmmmmm….what will we do?  I suppose we can take people who aren’t really qualified.  Hrrrmmmmm you know we HAVE to have doctors, otherwise who will uh, defend? our right to health care.  And if we HAVE to have doctors and on one volunteers, well…..nope, hasn’t happened, so it never can.
          Rest assured, whatever job he/she is in, they aren’t feeling like they’re going to have to serve the rest of us.   I expect there would be little hope of reasoning with such a person.

  • Typical leftist approach: (1) Let us set up a government program to help the charities do their work, (2) Oh, we don’t know why, but more people seem to need this service than they did when charities provided it, (3) We need more tax money to provide for these increased demand for our services, (4) This has now become WAY too big for charities, so we need more tax money, (5) You want to decrease taxes, or leave this to charity? Why, you are a heartless Scrooge intent upon denying the masses a BASIC HUMAN RIGHT!

    The cleverness of this leftist approach is that it is so incremental it is hard to see it coming, and so addictive that it is hard to make it go away.  But even as it claims more “basic human rights,” it erodes real human freedoms.

  • And I notice they push “[almost] 50 million” people without insurance, still.
    Ignoring, evidently, all the push-back analysis pointing out how many of those under-50-million people could have insurance if they wanted it, but choose not to get free coverage, or choose not to buy it.

    Now, there are people in the US who really are both too poor (or too already-sick) to afford insurance, and for whatever reason can’t get free care from the State (or a charity). The number is not giant, but it’s not minuscule, either.

    But there ain’t 50 million of them, and nobody complaining seems to be suggesting a tightly tailored program to get those specific people “coverage”.
    Cynically, I might say that’s because the goal is not to get those people taken care of, but to universalize the State.
    (Much like, to switch topics, there’s been so much OWS-y blather about “income inequality” [supposedly, depending on who you ask and how you measure] rising, rather than concern with the physical conditions of the poor.
    They have to push the former, because the latter simply aren’t compelling as grounds for ever more State intervention.
    That and, I suspect, there’s an ingrained class-warfare aspect.)

  • The very fact that it is too much a burden to ask a charity to pick up the financials of this lends itself to another question.  Why has the cost of healthcare increased at the rate it has???  Seems to me that the likely culprit is the very fact that government got into the picture in the first place.  Tests driven by CYA, Medicare/Medicaid billing with no questions asked, trying to regulate what docs can charge of the system, regulations in place to limit insurance competition, etc, etc.
    Good intentions work great for hypothetical sob stories.

  • Another reason charities do not have the capacity is the separation of church and state argument of the Left.
    I can remember when the Catholic nuns were ran out of the local hospital in Salina  ,Ks. The Catholic Church was a major funder of the hospital and the nuns did an awful lot of work there. The Left said no more and ran them off.

    • The charitable Catholic health care initiative is perhaps the biggest provider of health care to the under/uninsured in this country.  To thank them for their outstanding work, predominantly in the inner-cities, the idiots they serve have consistently tagged them with excessive medical malpractice jury verdicts in those venues.  Likewise, lefties have consistently attempted to burden them with regulations designed to chip away at the underlying religious theme.  For example, it was just a couple of years ago that the Democrats, feeling their oats with control of both houses and the presidency, attempted to mandate abortion services at any hospital taking Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements.  The Council of Bishops threatened to shut the entire Catholic health care system down, and the Democrats blinked.  And that is just one example, and says nothing of EMTALA or the 5000 administrative regulations that come out of Health and Human Services each year.
      So for all the bitching lefties do about the “right” to health care, they do more to stand in the way of its administration and distribution than anyone else.

  • And finally the unspoken premise: Health care is a human right.

    I was over at Jesse Jackson Jr’s web site. He has a whole list of amendments that he has put on the House docket. Of course, one is health care as a human right.
    He had another that I thought just wasn’t completely thought through.

    H.J. Res. 31 would amend the Constitution to declare that “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex” and that “Reproductive rights for women under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any State.”

    That first clause leaves unknown if “sex” is the state of one’s gender or the physical act.  “It depends on what ‘is’ is.”
    Given the old Earl Butz joke, you really have to wonder.  Or as they say, “What could go wrong ?

  • We can define “human right” however we want, politically.  There’s no objective definition out there in the ether.  Most Europeans, even conservatives, put health care up there with education, police and fire protection and legal protections as rights they want to grant.  The US so far hasn’t.  But to expect charity to handle it?  That’s silly.  We’ll get to where the rest of the civilized world is, slowly and surely.  It’s progress.

    • Been here, done this, congratulations for demonstrating you don’t have a clue.
      “e can define “human right” however we want, politically.  There’s no objective definition out there in the ether.”
      Once more, idiot, you’ve just marked yourself for slavery because, if it is true that rights are nothing more than political whim, then it’s foreseeable, and in YOUR case perhaps desirable, that we take your freedom away and make you a moose herding slave by political edict.   No matter how many times you’re told, you just don’t get it.   Men either have actual rights, inalienable (why don’t you spend a couple seconds sport, and look up that word) or there are NO rights at all, merely political whims.
      Oh, and if you don’t buy inalienable rights, stop talking about being spiritual, because if you don’t have rights granted to you by a creator, there’s no creator, and there’s no spirit, and you’re there’s no deep meaning in any significant spiritual works, let alone in Kansas song or a Yoda tag line.

    • I take it Scotty you have not experienced a European healthcare waiting queue? Of course not, I am sure your employer or yourself provides you with insurance so that you can avoid the indignity of dying while waiting for treatment or spending extended periods of time in pain while waiting to see a specialist. Ahhh civilization, how easy it is to admire when you don’t live here eh Erb?

    • We can define “human right” however we want, politically.

      As George Orwell knew too well.  But in the world OUTSIDE of NewSpeak, we define “rights” a good bit more carefully.  Legally, a “right” in you provides you a power, and imposes a duty on another.  It is a teeter-totter kinda thang.

      But to expect charity to handle it?  That’s silly.

      Let me provide an equivalent response; that is stupid.

    • Actually Erby you got me wondering so I went and checked the European Bill of Rights. For healthcare:

      “Everyone has the right of access to preventive health care and the right to benefit from medical treatment under the conditions established by national laws and practices.”

      So everyone has the right to whatever is defined in their national law. Wow, even I hadn’t realized I was entitled to what I was entitled to under the law. And in a moment of clear Orwellian double-speak:

      “This right includes the possibility to receive free compulsory education.”

      Presumably the drafters of this great document were not so incredibly bad at putting together a few simple words that they actually meant that the two double-meaning of that sentence was deliberate.

      Even better is this!

      “Everyone has the right to engage in work and to pursue a freely chosen or accepted occupation.”

      Now I take that to mean that if I choose to be a neurosurgeon then someone is obligated to engage me as a neurosurgeon, otherwise my rights as a citizen of the civilized EU are being violated! Erb, help me! I wish to civily undertake my right to engage in work as a pornstar but I can’t seem to get the work. What should I do???

      Oh wait, you mean that a “right” is not a “right” as such but merely a civilized non-ideological 21st century socialist  narrative construct? In other words… total meaningless BS?

      (European Bill of Rights here:

      • There’s some wonderful contradictions in there, but I don’t see the right to health treatment, what I saw was a right to medical treatment according the accepted national laws and practices.   So, if it’s accepted practice to let a certain stage cancer patient die, then, you die.  No heroics, no further attempts at cures, it’s whatever the accepted practice of the whole community is.
        Somehow, I don’t think that’s what people think it means, well, that is, until they encounter the NHS in the UK for example.
        Hrrmmmm…accepted practice, that sounds familiar – where have I heard that before?  Ah yes, Rome, where the accepted practice for sickly infants was to expose them to the elements or abandon them.
        Well, that fits in with the boobs idea that rights aren’t God given, so if things start costing too much, suddenly medical treatments will get, well, less costly of course.
        Trust me, he doesn’t see it, we’re back to “show me an example of that happening’ because he has less memory than a goose and couldn’t follow a logical path if it were marked with magnesium flares.

        • It really is a wonderful exercise in futility, that document. Did you read the closing article?
          “Nothing in this Charter shall be interpreted as implying any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms recognised in this Charter or at their limitation to a greater extent than is provided for herein.”

          In other words, “we may have defined rights that conflict with other rights defined in this charter, but please do not take that to mean that you may act on the former in contravention of the latter, if you happen to find such conflicting rights just make sure you only exercise those rights we meant and not those we didn’t… Good lord Godfrey who drafted this piece of s**t? Erb who?”

    • Pure sophistry, health care cannot possibly be a human right because rights are those things which when you excersize them they do not burden others. There is no burden to you if I excersize my rights of free speech, or religion or anything else in the constitution.
      But if someone excersizes a so called “right ” to health care, food, shelter, or anything else then someone must pay for it. Therefore it cannot be a right, it might be an entitlement, but that is not the same thing.

      • I have to disagree, kyle, slightly.
        Look at it this way; your right to free speech imposes a duty on government and all employed by government to forbear from any attempt to limit your speech, with the power in you to compel that forbearance.
        In a legal context (i.e., not natural rights), if you and I form a contract, it generally gives each of us rights to certain things, along the power to enforce those rights.  It imposes a duty on the other to provide the rights.

        • Kyle is closer.  A so-called “positive right” imposes an obligation on others to action.  What is called a “negative right” proscribes action, or imposes and obligation of inaction.
          Billy Beck recently cited a friend from Facebook who wrote:

          “If you think you have a right to force me to pay for your health care, then why don’t you have a right to force me to pick your cotton?”

          Obviously, a “positive right” potentially makes slaves of others and is, therefore, a misnomer, a theft of the concept.  This is accomplished with word games, via equivocation, the way FDR slid from the negative to the positive in his “Four Freedoms” speech (“freedom to…” then “freedom from…”).
          Asking you to respect a “negative right” “obligates” you to not murder, not steal, not rape isn’t demanding you do anything.  Unless you argue that you should be free to murder, steal, and rape, then you can’t complain that asking you to respect the rights of others is an imposition, an obligation to do something.

          • I don’t really expect to get anywhere with you, but abstaining from conduct is still conduct.
            And it IS demanding that I do something, and IS an imposition.  It is just one of which you approve.

          • So you see no difference between saying, “Don’t abduct and behead children at the park” and “Go pick apples in my grove for 12 hours a day”?
            You’re that obtuse?

          • Really, you are THAT intellectually dishonest.
            Really…?!?!?  Talk about your straw men…!!!

          • How are examples illustrating the difference between “positive rights” and “negative rights” a strawman?
            One obligates you to do something to fulfill my so-called “right” while the other simply proscribes you from doing something which would infringe on my rights.
            Are the examples extreme?  Sure.  But only to illustrate the point.  You can try to trick the reader by turning the knob down and providing less obviously wrong examples, like asserting a “right” to health care because, you know, like, it’s bad to be sick and not be able to pay for the medicine or lab test that other people can afford.

    • We can define “human right” however we want, politically.

      Who’s “we”?
      Something you can define politically is not a moral right.  It’s a privilege, a legal protection, a government-enforced mandate.
      A moral right is inalienable, based upon our nature as rational beings.  It’s why it is always wrong to murder Anne Frank, no matter what you do politically ahead of time.  You can’t “define” away her right to life and when you do murder her, you’ve done wrong, no matter how big a mob you get to join you.
      But then, you’ve been schooled on this countless times and you’ll never be smart enough to get it.

    • But to expect charity to handle it?  That’s silly.

      How is it “silly” to ask others to voluntarily give up some of their property to serve others, instead of sticking a gun to their head?
      Using reason to convince others is ethical.  Using aggressive force to coerce others is unethical.  Drawing that line is not “silly” though would-be authoritarians like you like to pretend that it is, to dismiss the basic ethics of reason vs. force.  It’s dangerous to you for people to see through all the machinations and realize that persuasion via reason is the only ethical course of action, because it deprives you of the opportunity to scare them or trick them into accepting your unethical “solutions”.
      Extend that premise and you could argue that it’s “silly” to expect you to go to the expense and bother of hiring and paying people to pick your cotton.  And, before you complain that there’s no comparison, consider that the doctors, nurses, staff, builders of buildings, retailers of equipment and materials, inventors, researchers, etc. all contribute to produce the end result of you getting an appendectomy, your kid getting a cast, or your uncle getting cancer treatment.  When you demand, at the point of a gun, that you get those things by government mandate, even if you can’t pay for them, then you either obligate all of those people to do those particular tasks for free (slavery) or force taxpayers to pay them, which is simply shifting the burden to a different slave.
      No.  Ethical.