Why healthcare is a responsibility, not a right

There is no “right” answer to the healthcare reform issue. There are facts, opinions, myths, politics and reality, all in no particular order of magnitude. Unfortunately, thus far and likely in the future, the reform will be political and thus costly and painful and will not address the core issues involved in fixing the inherent systemic problems.

There have been many things written with regard to this topic and I suppose one chooses to read that which comports with one’s leanings on the subject. In my case, I have tried to access diverse opinion sources from Brookings and Rand to Cato, National Center for Policy Analysis, The Hudson Institute and everything in between. I have taken the best thoughts from individuals with whom I have corresponded and have incorporated those thoughts as well as my own. If some of these words are similar to others you have heard or read, it is not because I choose to plagiarize them, it is because they have become part of the lexicon of my thinking.

My thinking and these principles are also offered as a consequence of extensive American, Canadian, and, to a lesser degree, British experiences as a physician, surgeon, instructor, and cardiac transplant patient (in the former of the three healthcare systems). They are meant to provoke thought and discussion, and are not offered as sole solutions, though they may have some individual merit by virtue of their common sense. I offer ten principles for healthcare reform and they are of comparatively little cost to the taxpayer when compared to the current Act.

  1. Healthcare is not a right, but a responsibility.
  2. We do not require a single payer, but, rather, a single payment system.
  3. Changes should be made in small increments, easily understood by the People.
  4. Rationing is a logical outcome in any system with limited resources and high demand.
  5. Efficient, effective healthcare must be provided to the truly needy
  6. Medicine must be practiced in a manner and place that is economically efficient, evidence based, specific to local community needs.
  7. All members of Congress, their dependents and all federal employees must live under the same healthcare rules that they themselves create for those that pay their salaries and provide their pensions- We the People. No waivers can be given to any company or entity.
  8. American pharmaceutical companies must decide at what end of the drug development / delivery-to-patient pipeline they wish the American taxpayer to subsidize. They can no longer take from both ends.
  9. Healthcare reform cannot occur without tort reform.
  10. We must create a national healthcare database so that best practices may be established

Healthcare is not a right but a responsibility

If one does not accept responsibility for his or her actions, there are no consequences for a particular behavior and when translated into the delivery of medical care, that only means increased expenditure. “Rights” are either things you, as a free citizen, may do either without interference (with the implicit caveat that you do no harm to others during the conducting of the specific activity deemed a right) or may not be done to you without permission (such as search and seizure).

What is implicit in a right is a protection but not a gift of goods and services created because of the work, sweat, time and capital investment of others. If healthcare is indeed a right, then these healthcare goods must then be seized forcibly, by law or by theft, from others who have provided them in what is a frank violation of their right not to be robbed of their property. This then begs the question of whether the absolute right to healthcare also involves the right to steal from those who produce the goods and services necessary for that care. In a broader sense one must also ask where do one’s rights end? Do they extend to food, or housing or a job?

Mitchell Brooks is an orthopedic surgeon and the host of Health of the Nation on Talk Radio 570 KLIF in Dallas, Texas.  He blogs at Health of the Nation.

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  • Greg Judd

    Dr Brooks’ list was no doubt thoughtfully compiled, but unfortunately begins with the subject he has thought least carefully about. 

    An assertion like “if one does not accept responsibility for his or her actions, there are no consequences for a particular behavior” is, charitably, at best a non sequitur. Of course there are consequences, whether or not a person “accepts responsibility for his or her actions”. The question pragmatists must address is “so what do we do about them (the consequences)?” The possible responses may well include some measure of support for personal responsibility. 

    The point is the conversation cannot possibly begin with this matter, no matter how fervently you believe it must be included in the development of solutions, for the world does not begin with beliefs (it will probably come as a surprise to Dr Brooks that it doesn’t begin with property rights either).

    • Close Call

      Mr. Judd, I give an emphatic “Eh.”

      Sure, maybe it was a non sequitur, and sure there can be consequences whether one accepts responsibility or not, but still, it’s a pretty good list.  It’s such a good list, in fact – you can remove number 1, and the rest of them are still very good principles when envisioning healthcare reform.  

      For example: 

      How can healthcare be a right and still be rationed?  Easy.  Change the definition of healthcare.  Under my definition, intubating a bed-bound 80 year old woman with dementia, dysphagia, and a visit to the hospital at least once a month, is not considered healthcare.  Should we deny the care?  That’s between the doctor and the patient (or family).  Should we pay for it?  No, because it’s not healthcare.  And who says it’s not healthcare?  The government agency doing the paying.

  • Anonymous

    “If healthcare is indeed a right, then these healthcare goods must then be seized forcibly, by law or by theft, from others who have provided them in what is a frank violation of their right not to be robbed of their property.”

    How dramatic…

    In the US, we feel everyone has a right to an education.  Are you saying that education goods are forcibly seized from educators?

    “If one does not accept responsibility for his or her actions, there are no consequences for a particular behavior and when translated into the delivery of medical care, that only means increased expenditure.”

    Are you saying that death is an acceptable consequence for someone’s mistake? 

  • Sean Conlon


  • smfwrites

    When I hear people in Canada and EEU talk about their type of health care systems, they generally talk in terms of what they all feel they owe to each other as the rationale for universal coverage and subsidized payment.

    When I hear people in the US talking about the “right” to health care, they seem to be talking in terms of what we all owe THEM.

    Sounds like a small distinction, but it feels like a chasm between choosing to help one another and an entitlement mentality.

    Note to e_patient: There is no “right” to education in this country. We feel it is the right thing to do, so we fund it publically, which is an entirely different sensibility.

    • Anonymous

      Are we going to squabble over the word “right.”

      Education is compulsory in the US. The government pays to educate everyone.   My local, state and federal government felt teaching me calculus was worthwhile.

      If I write that statement again as…

      Healthcare is compulsory in the US.  The government pays for healthcare for everyone.  My local, state and federal government felt treating my asthma was worthwhile.

      Are the statements of equal value?  Should we stop paying for the masses to be educated?  Is education more valuable than healthcare?

      • smfwrites

        Ah, I had indeed forgotten for a moment the compulsory aspect of public education. 

        Interestingly enough, though, when we write the sentence as “Health COVERAGE is compulsory in the US,” there’s a lot of backlash  about how this is a plot to benefit the health insurers. Everyone wants the care, but no one wants to pay the tab, either as premium or increased taxes.

        And, as my handle suggests, haggling over words and their meanings is my life’s work, thankless though it is, as no one reads what I write as carefully as I write it.  :))

        • Anonymous

          No one want to pay for education either…

          We are having this conversation because we really are not a community of people who care for each other.  Perhaps it is our American individuality.

          In 2008, parents of a child with type 1 diabeters chose to pray for their child instead of seeking medical care because they believed in the power of prayer.  They were convicted of second-degree reckless homicide.

          So suppose parents of a child with type 1 diabetes chose to pray for their child instead of seeking medical care because they don’t have enough money to pay for a trip to the emergency room and the subsequent hospital charges.  Do you think they should be convicted of second-degree reckless homicide?

  • System_MD

    Kevin et al:
    1. Healthcare (one word) is a system and as two words, health care is currently a service, though it should be a partnership…which in turn means both partners have rights and responsibilities.
    1a. I know you and suspect your readers will enjoy a forthcoming (Jan 2012) book “Not Right! – A Prequel to Uproot U.S. Healthcare.” It shows why health care never was, is not, must not be and never will be a right.
    2. We need a payment system that reconnects consumer (patient) with supplier (providers) or the system will never balance.
    3. Respectfully, we need rapid, radical change, not slow incremental. We need system replacement, not reform or adjustment. I agree with you 100% that the People need not only to understand the necessary change but to determine the new system, especially its basic principles.
    3a. Healthcare (the sick system) needs a good doctor using the principles of good medical practice, not a wily politician practicing compromise partisanship. A ‘”good” medical approach means diagnosing the cause of illness and treating that, not the signs and symptoms. “Uproot U.S. Healthcare” (http://atlasbooks.com/marktplc/02933.htm)  shows the etiologic (causal) diagnosis, which leads directly to the only curative treatment plan.
    3b. Any functional system must start from accepted basic principles. Healthcare doesn’t have any. The Public must discuss, debate, dialogue and reach a consensus on basics.
    4. There always is rationing because rationing means “make reasonable” or in the case of healthcare, balancing supply with demand. There are only two ways to do this: using market forces or centrally (government control). All universal health care countries use the latter. The U.S. has a hybrid system where there are markets (but they don’t work) and central control (that consumes more healthcare dollars than anything else, so it has no incentive to economize). THAT is why our system has no balance and never will, until we create a new one.
    #5-10. are right on.
    Deane Waldman, MD MBA


  • smfwrites

    Re #2, as we’ve seen, any attempts to reconnect the consumer and the supplier with the real cost of the desired / prescribed care leads to allegations of rationing and totally disrupting any rational discourse. And the providers aren’t crazy about it either – they brag that they’ve been trained not to think about costs, as if every patient contact qualified as an episode of House.

    Those who grew up in the era of $10 HMO co-pays think that should be the standard (the $10 part, not the HMO part, which they hated but actually did bend the cost curve), even if the real cost of the episode of care is $100,000 and the drug is $50,000 a year for the rest of their life.

    There’s a hard cold fact that no one wants to face: We cannot as a society afford to pay for every conceivable treatment in every conceivable circumstance. And if the $100,000 came out of the family’s pocket, they’d pull the plug quicker than anyone. But since it’s OPM (other people’s money), the sky’s the limit. We can’t afford it and this is NOT in fact the system that exists in the OECD countries that we’re told have better outcomes. They ration. 

    Actually, the market, as structured, works perfectly: to get money from patients to doctors, device makers and drug companies via insurance carriers — even when providers cut off wrong body parts and cause infections that kill people. That’s what it was designed to do. And that’s what we need to fix.

  • Alice Attard

    How about the right to not be robbed by PIP insurance companies for expenditures that are auto related in no-fault states. I believe that you would find the abuse on insurance companies huge. I have pointed out payments made by medicare on my family members behalf and the insurance company refuses to knowledge their existence but state they will only do so when Medicare sends them the documents as they have their own lien system. By the way the insurance company sent this letter to the wrong address (even though they have been in communications with me for 20 years).

  • Gloria Grimsrud

    I know two people who say they can’t afford health insurance.  Both have had expensive hospital bills (one from a fall off a ladder) and one had a baby.  They both have cars and homes and get by.  They are both Republicans and against the forced buying of health insurance.  So, the answer, for them, seems to be “let whoever pay my hospital bills”….. how is this logical, reasonable.  They don’t like “welfare” but they will gladly use it.  Things are just crazy these days.  Wbat is the answer.  One of them has no job.  One of them does but no insurance is offered.

  • Leslie B

    Our concepts of what are “rights” and what are “responsibilities” is an evolving thing. For example, once upon a time, and not too long ago, it was a medical school’s “right”  to limit the number of women, minorities, certain religious groups etc that it would accept for matriculation. Now it is not. People have the “right” not to be judged based on background. Banks do not have the “right” to deny women home mortgages because they are women, etc. Maybe we are at the point in the discussion where we need to toss around what does the “right” to some kind of healthcare include as far as services are concerned. Some insurance companies have waived co-pays for yearly GP visits and GYN visits – the discussion has started?

    • newheart807

      The principle of what is a right never changes. The specifics do as society allegedly progresses.

      Mitchell Brooks, M.D.

    • Anonymous

      Rights and Responsibilities are intertwined but not synonymous. 
      A right is something that is inherent, not created by the social contract of people and government. A responsibility is what each side of the contract needs to do to be sure the right stays intact and is not violated.
      This is the reason the mentality of our patriarchal society is slowly changing to include women and minorities into areas they were not formally permitted. You recall that at one time women were not considered ‘real people’ but rather ‘possessions’ ,which means they did not have rights of the people.
      Since  women were possessions, they [lawmakers, etc] did not see a problem with denying entrance to the school, or credit cards from a bank; a woman can even get her teeth fixed without her husbands permission-Hallelujah!
      Aren’t you glad society has changed a lot of their views on human beings. The struggles of our ancestors has made life more rewarding for us.

  • bjc

    The article is generally well reasoned and written. However, principles 1 and 5 are, as conveyed, functionally incongruent.

    • newheart807

      They are not incongruent. We must, as a society provide healthcare to the truly needy; it is who we are, not only as Americans but as physicians. This healthcare, however, MUST not be legislated in the context of a right, as it surely will in time.

      Mitchell Brooks, M.D.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with much of your article but must respectfully
    degree on your premise.  Healthcare is a
    right in the United States by statute under EMTALA and COBRA.  

    The Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor
    Act (EMTALA) is a U.S.
    Act of
    Congress passed in 1986 as part of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget
    Reconciliation Act (COBRA). It requires hospitals
    and ambulance
    services to provide care to anyone needing emergency healthcare treatment regardless
    of citizenship,
    legal status or ability to pay. There are no reimbursement provisions. As a
    result of the act, patients needing emergency treatment can be discharged only
    under their own informed consent or when their condition requires transfer to a
    hospital better equipped to administer the treatment. [1]

    The question
    is:  If we have long accepted that
    healthcare is a right to some degree, what is the scope of the right to

    [1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EMTALA

    Shad Beavers, JD/MBA Healthcare Management

    Healthcare compliance consulting, LLC


    • newheart807

      That is the point, is it not? EMTALA is not care; it is a screening process. That it is costly, resource draining and is substantially lacking in follow up is all part and parcel of the Laws of Unintended Consequences. Your point though is on target; that is, it is NOT care.

      Mitchell Brooks, M.D.

  • Anonymous

    Well said Kevin
    When teaching, I have told my children that ‘every right has a responsibility, if you ignore the responsibility, you forfeit the right’and ‘ if, in the exercising of your right, you take away someone elses’ right, you have forfeited your right’.

    In your list of healthcare reform, I would question:
    -how would you determine the truly needy? all sick people consider themselves needy.
    -I am not sure what you mean by a national database, sounds like Big Brother to me-if healthcare is to be specific to community needs, then at the very most, it should be a state database. This would give the competition necessary between states to improve output performance.
    -since healthcare is suppose to be a service commodity-not a corporate world mentality-then the logic of rationing should not even be in the picture. In other words, get government out, put professionals in, Let the professionals compete for the clients, this will give them accountability. Check with other nations healthcare systems such as Japan. We can glean a lot from others without actually adopting their full visage. “Take what you need and leave the rest.” “A great leader surrounds himself with intelligent counsels.” Not sure the author of these statements but they are a truth.
    -finally, be sure ones health insurance works across the lines of each state.

    Healthcarefguy says that because the law has made healthcare a right then it is a right-not so. The law changes with the social ideals of the people [and in converse, the social ideals change with the law] A right does not change, it remains perpetual. It is innate, not created.

  • Anonymous

    t is interesting how a service by a human, provided to another human is considered a “limited resource” since it appears that the “limits” come as a regard to ability to pay.   There needs to be accountability, truth and transparency and ownership within the system(s).  I have witnessed some within the VA system provide horrendous care with only the “system” being responsible.  The concept of responsibly in our medical care system appears to have the founding belief that all providers are responsible and it is the patient who needs to be more responsible for their health outcome. 
    The answer is most likely in the middle between medical paternalism and patient self directed care.  The issues are multifactorial to say the least-I don’t profess to have the answers, however, when we look at the health status of the poverty stricken-do we say that it is due to limited resources of lack of access or what is it, not enough money to pay to address care in a preventative fashion. There are those who will always be around who will take advantage of systems or laws there is more seen within those in poverty since they do not have the personal resources and need to access though a higher level of social systems which brings them under the microscope.  History has shown us this; it was once thought that child abuse was only an issue in “poor communities”, HIV was a “Gay Disease” and so on. 
    The decisions will be made politically and usually favor those with more political capital.  I believe our country was founded on independence however, would have never succeeded without interdependence.

  • Anonymous

    Health care in America is a luxury when you are poor, a privilege to purchase when you are middle class and a right when you are dying. Too often poor people get the best care when they are dying.

    • Anonymous

      Which tells me that it is not Healthcare but rather Illness Care

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HCEZ2UXHABSWA4YXOAKFCGCQMQ Alice

    Very well said.  Number 9 is absolutely essential and will not happen without Numbers 7 and 8 (in my opinion).

  • Anonymous

    11. We must stop subsidizing unhealthy food – corn for HFCS and cow feed. 

    12. We need to use the tobacco model of a strong message and revenue for preventive healthcare measures by a  RISK tax per G, G and mg respectively on processed sugars, fats and added salt to prepared food – an apple needs to cost less than a bag of chips.

  • http://www.facebook.com/stowe.teti Stowe Locke Teti

    Your determination that healthcare is not a right is not as broadly considered as you seem to believe.  The long history of considered thought on the subject of rights invokes philosophical and political assumptions and arguments which you do not sufficiently address.  A cursory review of generally accepted rights would yield the Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1949, and reaffirmed in 1998.   Article 25 states healthcare is a basic right inherent to human dignity, along with life, liberty, and education (Article 26).Looking further back in the history of rights, the political arguments of Rousseau, Hobbes, and Locke informed Thomas Jefferson’s thinking, becoming not just the doctrine, but the philosophical and ethical heritage of the United States.  The bedrock of our Constitution is the idealogical link between rights and freedom.  The conceptions of rights you advocate- “a right is a protection but not a gift…”- is flawed in that you do not recognize that a ‘gift’ is precisely what we all contribute to live in a society free of a state of nature.  Remember, it was after such a state, “in which disregard and contempt for human rights have resulted in barbarous acts which outraged the conscience of mankind” (U.N. 217(III)) that the aforementioned Declaration was adopted-, that being the atrocities of the Second World War.  That type of descent into evil had been described by Thomas Hobbes as “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” (Leviathon XIII, Ch XIII, 1642)For those who think that we have progressed beyond that, consider Bosnia, Herzegovina,  and Rwanda.  Upon reaffirmation in 1998, Secretary General Kofi Annan stated “Our time- this decade even- has shown us that man’s capacity for evil knows no limits.”  Considering rights in the polarized manner of “protection” or “gift” neglects the nature of rights set out by our Constitution and the U.N. Declaration in which we are both contributors and beneficiaries of the fruits of our civilization.  Additionally, our rights are not gifts, they are consequences of contract, law, or ‘being’,  as in the term ‘inalienable rights’Unless you are comfortable with our society refusing to provide medical care for disabled persons, the elderly, and children not provided for by their parents, your conception of rights ought to be reconsidered.  As an aside, if you maintain such a position regarding medical care, you cannot escape applying the same thinking to education.  It won’t be long until that list ends up including personal security, the right to legal representation, and the right to freedom from cruel and unusual punishment.  After all, why should prisoners be allowed to essentially “seize forcibly” food while in prison?  That is what is occurring by your calculus.  Your article asks where rights end, but does so rhetorically; that is a flaw of proceeding from an idealogical position which you hold to an argument that justifiys your holding the position in the first place.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to have chosen as your basis for “determining rights VS human needs” argument by avoiding the issue of Physician Responsibility….and your resources for shoring up your next argument that “People should somehow be censured for their health issues according to life choices” is Plutocratic, and is utterly a red herring: I suppose you would suggest that persons with a certain Genotype be ineligible for basic healthcare given this argument has been made by studies done by these Institutes you seem to agree with wholeheartedly. Let me tell you I was once wealthy and I had insurance: two incurable and non lifestyle related diseases later I am impoverished and because I stay separated but not divorced from my ex-wife of 27yrs.I have minimal basic health coverage. 15 years ago I would have agreed with many of your assertions and tort reform? Well if a if a Dr,DO is incompetent or irresponsible and his peers will not police his poor skills which leads to wrongful death on a scale unheard of …I am thinking of the British MD who it turned out became a serial killer for profit and they still do not know how many victims he had..Tell me Sir..why did the DRs of Britain not notice or rather refused to get involved until well over 20 patients had died under conditions any coroner should have found suspicious! It turned out the Administrative sector noticed the high rate of deaths after a receiving an unusual number of death notices which were only brought to the attention of the Board off supervisors after several family members complained to the Police and the police began to investigate their claims. So TORT reform should happen when the MDs police their own with the same fervor as drug testing for job applicants! I understand that the case I just cited is an extreme example of poor conduct by the entire system designed to stop things like that from ever happening long before it gets beyond even 2 suspicious deaths ….however no one really wished to say anything because you know it is simply not a good idea to bite the hand that feeds you. If you are going to practice medicine Sir first  Cura Te Ipsum..for thy conscience seems a bit ill methinks.

    • Anonymous

      No doubt, the MD;DO needs to be accountable. I don’t think that is the subject of this discussion though. And we have to keep in mind that the more government controls over healthcare there are, the more confinement a doctor [or any healthcare provider for that matter] has in performing the service, so that service will appear to be worse and worse. 
      If the service is bad because of a negligent or lazy provider, then we can use the word ‘right’ because the client has the right to be treated fairly, and with the best the provider has to offer. Another thought is that all providers are human and subject to error. Most do not want to do harm to another but it does and will happen. this is where free enterprise competition for clients would help to improve care. I am not saying there should not be responsibility here, I am merely saying one cannot expect another to be more human than themself.

      • Anonymous

        I agree wholeheartedly with your sentiments . However As long s Pharmceutical and Big Business are hand in glove partners with their personal Govt, Agency of our joke of an FDA… Well I know Drs. are all too human ! I am the Grandchild of an MD who made house calls, took bartered goods,( like plumbing or one year a 100 laying hens) in exchange for treating his patients who were perhaps cash poor and yet too proud to accept a freely offered by Granddad treatment which if not done posthaste rather than later procedure would lead to a much more expensive or terminal outcome .The majority of Drs are the most decent and caring people our society produces! And there are too, in the last 30 years in particular ; a growing trend of less than ethical and only minimally talented persons entering the profession and because once enough Drs. decide,or simply don’t recognize their interns need remedial training the system rubber stamps these incompetents and hopes they will spoon leave or be litigated out of the profession. The State Boards of elder MDs allow people to practice unimpeded hardly ever does even the worst most deadly peer ever get anything more than a written reprimand hence the system is not effective and really no consumer or patient is able to do any better than “Buyer Beware”” This is why ethics, then more ethics and indeed psychological screening should be mandatory for any person pursuing a MD or DO license. See the really bad Drs don’t think they are bad, and are incapable of the one thing Drs must have to be effective at all :empathy….and humility enough to know : Medicine is a calling like the priesthood, those who enter the profession should do so bearing in mind duty, and not profit ,ethics not free Drug
        Co.Vacations and insider trading options!

  • Anonymous

    The medical profession is corrupt.  The tort system does not need reform, it is the physician.  I went to a doctors office, where there were more drug reps then patients.  The receptionist talked loud enough so that I heard what she said.  Apparently, it was another drug rep, who she said, We are booked for free lunches in this office for a year.  I know this doctor gets all kinds of gifts from Big Pharm, and for the doctors to say, they are not influenced by them, who are they kidding.  Why do doctors when they call to school and college, feel like they are owed everything special, because they chose to become one and go to school.  Please I can’t stand it when doctors cry poor mouth, when they readily take hundreds of thousands from Big Pharm as consultants, large gifts and trips, which of course they don’t count toward they income when they cry poor.  The number one killer in American is not Cancer or Heart Disease it is Medical Errors, causing over 730,000 each year, and those are the ones reported.  They cannot police themselfs, Most doctors and nurses, turn a blind eye to doctors who are impaired or dangerous.  They blame the patient. Fake codes happen all the time in a teaching hospital.  The professsion that has the most serial killers is the medical profession, look up those facts its shocking.  They go from hospitals to hospitals getting away with it, because no  one tells, let the next one worry about this person, whilte the public health is in danger.  I can go on and on, What I have seen bobbles the mind.  I myself have been butchered, blinded and crippled by poor care, and I am careful.  God help the ones that aren’t.   Physicians heal Thy Self

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OZ6R2B4TYBFS5LFFABMQO4IPBQ Mitchell

      I believe you to be horrendously misinformed.  There may have been a day when docs were taking trips and getting gifts from pharma companies but those days are long gone.  You can’t even get pens and paper from them anymore.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=636596728 James MacDougall

    Healthcare is a human right.

  • Anonymous

    It is interesting how a service by a human, provided to another human is considered a “limited resource” since it appears that the “limits” come as a regard to cost of access.  I have been in favor of a limited tort reform however, recently being witness to some

  • http://www.facebook.com/randall.bock1 Randy Bock

    Every extension of one “right” comes at the diminution of another.  There are not limitless “rights”: every axis, in every direction, along every fruit of endeavor.  The granting of this right comes at the expense of the health insurance system in general, paid for by others not able to give consent (i.e. taxpayers). 

    There can be no genuine health “insurance” if others are allowed to have the fruits of that insurance: the granting of benefits benefits, late in the game, by claiming need.  Humans are resourceful gamers of any system: why would one pay for insurance for decades, if you could “cut the line” later on by having a medical problem that could not be denied the “right” to medical care?

    Once this “right” is established, 

    Healthcare is a useful resource, oftentimes invaluable; yet not exclusively so in the human spectrum of need.  Using “cut and replace”, put in the words, “The Automobile”; “An attorney”; “A cell phone”; “AAA”; “A good credit rating”; “Intimacy” et al. — and you will have an equally valid sentence, an appropriate near-future “right”.  Not necessarily inappropriate in an age wherein foreclosure is a “wrong” against which some claim a “right”; which “right” used to be established by paying one’s way in the form of a mortgage; ditto for the “right to healthcare, via payment of health insurance prior to a claim.

    • Anonymous

      I agree with your comments. I would like to add that we may need to determine what the definition of “insurance” is and whom that definition is pointing to.

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