One of the primary distinctions between America and most every other country in the world is our belief in human rights. We hold a distinct position in our belief that all men are created equal with certain unalienable rights that were endowed to all men upon their birth.
So what is the meaning of “unalienable right” as used in the Declaration of Independence? Unalienable means something that cannot be transferred or assigned (given to another). In this case we are considered “endowed” as being part of us that cannot be separated. These rights are also known as natural rights. Rights derived from nature and not granted by any government.
It is also understood that rights come with responsibilities. We know that the right of freedom of speech comes with the responsibility to use that right without infringing upon others. We have all heard the saying that freedom of speech does not give you the right to yell fire in a crowded theater. Although this saying is partly correct the truth is you absolutely DO have the right to say it, but you also bear the responsibility for HOW you use it.
An expansion of the rights and responsibility position is that the responsibility is placed upon the person enjoying the right. In the above scenario Jack could not be held accountable for Tom yelling fire in the theater. Every right is predicated upon the duty of the individual to use that right unless and until it infringes on the right of another.
Each and every right has a direct bearing upon the operator of that right. The person bears the cost of enjoying that right as well as the benefit that it entails. For instance; we have the right to freedom of press. We can write and/or read anything we may wish to but we must purchase, burrow, or otherwise legally obtain that item. We have the right to freely move about the country any time we want but we do so by our own means.
Should we as a citizenry, because we have the right to freedom of the press, demand that the government purchase our books for us? We have the right to keep and bear arms; should the government provide them to us? We have the right to travel freely about the country. Should the government also provide us a “free” means of transportation?
The answer in each and every one of these is a resounding NO. First of all our rights do not come from the government, the government is only supposed to protect our rights from being unjustly taken from us. Anything the government provides the government can take away and therefore it is not a right.
There are those who say that “universal health care” is a right, but how can that be? I would agree that each and every person in this nation should have equal access to health services. And just as I cannot afford a million dollar mansion, I purchase what I can afford. Because I cannot afford to eat steak and lobster every day I make due with hamburger and lunch meat. I do not begrudge the person who has earned a living and can afford more, good for them.
And because I cannot afford to fly to the Mayo clinic to receive the best possible health care I go to my local doctor and get what I can afford. Most people forget that a mere fifty years ago, (less time in many places), there was no health insurance. We bought and paid for health care from what we earned and we paid as best we could. And we went only when we absolutely had to.
Of course health care costs were much lower back then before the government got involved with regulating every aspect of our “care.” There is not one government agency in existence today that runs efficiently in spite of the trillions of dollars the government takes from us each year. Do we really want the same government that has bankrupt the nation to also add another layer of costs to an already out of control industry?
I have heard from many liberal organizations that they want the government out of the bedroom and their laws off their bodies. They state that people should be free to do with their bodies what they will and they do not want to have government interfere in what they see as their “right.”
I would have to say for the most part I agree with that logic. And using that logic I can also say that even though I do not agree with a person’s lifestyle or choices I believe they have the right to do as they will as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of another. That being said; a right also has its responsibilities. If a person wishes to engage in behavior that puts them at risk for contracting a deadly virus, dealing with pregnancy, overdosing, or any of the myriad of dangers that await us in life, they also must bear the cost. As Andrew Wilkow, Sirius Radio talk show host says quite often, “Your freedom to be you includes my freedom to be free from you.” It is the individual who is responsible for the decisions they make and the rest of society is not and should not be responsible for their care.
Remember, health care is not “free” someone has to pay for it. That someone is me, my neighbor, Joe the plumber and every other hard working American. The money we earn is our property and property ownership is a right. Why should I and the rest of us have to pay for others reckless behavior? This is an infringement on OUR rights.
The question then arises; if a person has a right to universal health care then whose responsibility is it to pay for it? Remember, rights and responsibilities go hand in hand. And by establishing those that have a responsibility to pay for another’s right you establish a class system which further divides our country.
We actually have a version of universal health care in existence today; it’s called the Veteran’s Association (VA) Medical System. This system takes care of the medical needs of the military veterans of our nation. I have used this system personally and have found that, for the most part, a person can get adequate medical care. Of course you have long lead times, some times a month out, before you can get in to see someone and most often it will not be a doctor but a physician’s assistant. They are always crowded with waiting times to pick up prescriptions of sometimes more than hour and some visits as long as four hours total.
The VA, as with every other government agency today, is mired in red tape. Each and every action of the staff has a specified procedure that must be followed to ensure everything is done a certain way. There is no deviation from the prescribed list. When I was first seen at a VA hospital for injuries to my back I received in Afghanistan the “list” required that I be seen by the Physical Therapy unit. I was given pain drugs and muscle relaxers. Next on the list was spinal injections and then the referral to the neurologists.
Then in the middle of my treatment my job required that I move. I checked in to my new VA medical center to continue my care. The new doctor saw my chart but could not send me directly to the neurologist, oh no, I had to first be seen by the physical therapists, more pain pills, spinal injections, etc. This is what the list says must be done, even though I had already gone through the list at the last hospital; it had to be done by “their” staff.
A year later I moved again to another VA hospital thousands of miles away. I checked in and through the modern miracle of computers my file was transferred and all was wonderful. Well, after another round of physical therapy, more drugs, spinals, etc. I was then able to see the neurologist who looked at my cat scans and pronounced that I had indeed ruptured two discs in my back and one in my neck. However, because the inter-spatial distance between the discs hdd not reduced to a specified dimension they were not allowed to operate to fix the problem. He could tell I was in pain and asked if I wanted more drugs? I asked if the operation would make it so I was no longer in pain and he assured me that in the majority of cases the procedure would remove or greatly diminish the pain I was feeling but he was not allowed to operate because of the procedures the government places on them. It is their position that pain can be mitigated by the use of drugs until such time as the patient’s condition meets the requirements and that pain was not a factor as that could be controlled by drugs.
This same mentality will be entrenched with any universal healthcare system our government would create. It is the nature of governments to document every minutia of what transpires and the cost to implement and maintain such a system will be astronomical.
Currently in our society many people do not go to their doctor for common colds and sniffles. We go to the pharmacy and get our cold medicines, get plenty of rest, chicken soup, etc. However, if health care is “free” then why would you spend your own money on cold drugs? Just go to the universal health care clinic and get if for free. Heck every time someone stubs their toe they will be at the clinic for their free health care, just get in line. But we won’t mind waiting because it’s free and the staff won’t care how they treat you, after all your not paying for it.
And those who do the right things, exercise, eat healthy, and take care of themselves will have to pay for the burden of those who abuse themselves and the system. Where is the right of these people to not be unjustly burdened with paying for someone else’s abuse? Will the government then have to limit caloric intake of obese people? Well they have the police monitoring people to ensure they are not engaging in unsafe sexual acts or sharing needles that spread HIV? What rights do those paying for the “free” healthcare have to ensure their money is not being wasted?
If government takes over the health care industry what recourse do the citizen’s have if something goes wrong? The government cannot be sued if it does not give its consent to be sued. Either we will end up with no recourse if they block law suits or the flood gates will open if law suits are allowed because the government would have nearly unlimited funds for the ambulance chasers to go after.
As far as rights go remember one thing the government does not grant rights it can only grant privileges and immunities. Universal Health care is a privilege; but as with Social Security, in time the public will accept it as a “right”. Once it has Universal Health care has begun any politician would be committing political suicide to try and remove it once it has been instituted. This would result in a permanent entitlement, like Social Security, that will increase the national debt to record levels that will place future generations into debt servitude. As in the immortal words of President Ronald Reagan “a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we’ll ever see on this earth.”
Not only is Universal Health care not a right, it is also something we cannot afford as a nation. Every nation where Universal Health care has been implemented it has been deemed a failure. Those that can afford to pay for private heath care do so or stream out of those nations to come to America to receive the health care they desperately need. The long waiting lists for certain life saving procedures literally has people dying while waiting for their turn. So they come to the only vestige of real health care left in the civilized world, America. Let’s not screw it up.