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Health care is not a right, part two

July 9, 2012
Last week, The Reminder editor asked, "Is health care a right?"
Our founders would have no problem saying, "No." They declared that rights come from God, and rights that come from God are inalienable. They are not granted by, nor can they be taken away by, government. They identified those natural rights as "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
All other so-called "rights" are merely privileges or benefits temporarily bestowed by government, which can just as easily take them away. But for the government to grant benefits, they need to extract money from you and me to do it, or they need to coerce some of us to provide the benefits to others.
For example, if health care is a right, you'd be able to go down the street and force a doctor to treat you. But you can't, so government has to force the doctor to treat you. Not enough doctors? Then rationing must follow, unless government drafts a certain percentage of college graduates, and forces them into medicine.
We may like to think health care should be available, maybe even free, along with free housing, free food and free cell phones. But they are only "rights" if you can force someone to provide it for you. Otherwise, they are simply welfare benefits, obtained by taking money from some of us, skimming off a big chunk for administration, and giving what's left to some of us. And once this cycle starts, the benefits expand exponentially as new rights are discovered: free birth control, free condoms, free cell phones, free legal representation, free interpreters, etc. You can have all these things, but you can't have all these things and still be free.
Pat Henry
East Longmeadow

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