• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Is Healthcare a ‘Right’?

    Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) likes to refer to healthcare as “a fundamental right and not just a privilege.” But what exactly does he mean? Is there really a ‘right’ to healthcare?

    Debate over the purported ‘right to healthcare’ has quieted recently. Or rather, with concrete proposals under consideration, ‘rights questions’ have been drowned out by other concerns—things like cost, taxes, the deficit, a “public option,” end-of-life decisions, and so on. But the rights debate is well worth having because the stakes are so high. If Ted Kennedy is correct—if every American has a fundamental right to government-provided healthcare—then we are constitutionally obligated to provide universal health insurance. All the discussion of costs and deficits is beside the point.

    The problem is that Sen. Kennedy is wrong; there is no fundamental right to healthcare. When the founders wrote of our “inalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” they were referring to natural rights, things that we can enjoy on our own, without depending on government. They exist by nature—they are not entitlements to things produced by others. The rights to life and liberty are individual rights that I can pursue or neglect as I wish. Governments are instituted merely to secure these rights by providing the necessary infrastructure for their flourishing—this involves instituting a rule of law and order, providing for the public defense, and so on.

    The idea that healthcare is a right is based on a theory of rights completely alien to that of the founding. Sen. Kennedy speaks of rights as if they are created by government, not derived from the “laws of nature and nature’s God.” According to Kennedy’s thinking, the only way that rights exist is through positive government action; the natural rights theory is both outdated and discredited.

    Inevitably, these two conceptions of rights clash. Government must infringe on some citizen’s natural rights to liberty and property to grant benefits to other citizens and, in doing so, making the beneficiaries dependent on government. Over time, as natural rights are subdued to modern, positive rights, we all become dependent on government—this is the direction we are moving in.

    This is the basic issue that separates the two schools of thought—whether we are to be equally self-reliant, or equally dependent. Alexis de Tocqueville’s well-known phrase is fitting here: “Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude.”

    Posted in First Principles [slideshow_deploy]

    52 Responses to Is Healthcare a ‘Right’?

    1. James Kirkland, Bato says:

      If one can say healthcare is a right, then what is to stop the socialist from saying next, that a guaranteed national wage is a right also; maybe healthcare being made a right, is a way to get the camel's nose under the big tent of labor and all its corruptive acts. Ya think?

    2. Tony says:

      There's a pretty straightforward test one could apply to health care (or anything else) to determine whether it is a right or not, and that is whether it must be paid for. A right is something that by definition belongs to the right-holder at birth, having been conferred by God, the Universe, Nature or whatever your belief system permits. As such, anything that must be paid for cannot be a right.

      With respect to health care, one probably has to point out that even if the government supplies it for "free" to recipients, the classification of health care as a right would also preclude the government from paying anyone to provide that care. Doctors and nurses would necessarily have to work for free, because to do otherwise would be akin to telling someone that they will be killed unless they (or the government on their behalf) pays a fee.

      • Pete says:

        So if healthcare is a privilege, then that means that no job is obligated to supply its employees with health insurance, then that means someone who works as a waiter and chooses not to buy health insurance should die if he gets hit by a drunk driver or hit by a bolt of lightning because he didn't have enough money to pay for emergency service… Or are you saying that only emergency medicine is the only service in which people should get free healthcare? I'm sorry but relying on selling your clothes and valuables and begging your local church for charity to pay for your children's dental work should not happen in this great country.

        If everyone paid their proper dues and not used loopholes to bypass paying their fair share to the government, then we wouldn't be running in a deficit or have national debt. It's the price for living in a country that works to secure life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Rights, while inalienable, aren't given, they are protected by working people. Freedom is not free, we pay for that with either the blood of sons, daughters and friends who put on the uniform or tax funded defense budgets or local government elections. And healthcare has been treated as a right in this country for long before this debate ever began.

    3. L P Johnson says:

      I just wrote a letter to my 4 NH representatives as well as Pres. Obama on just this issue. I also sent my letter to my local newspaper, the Union Leader and was told they do not publish 'open letters' so will not publish it. I have also sent it to the Washington Post, but have not heard yet if they will publish it. I sent it to the newspapers thinking that if by chance it was published then it may actually garner the attention of the President, or my State Reps.

      To my understanding, “Rights” come from God, or “the Creator” as it says in the Declaration of Independence. Things like, but not limited to, the freedom to speak freely, the freedom to worship God in whichever manner you as an individual sees fit, the freedom to defend yourself and belongings from another who means to do you harm, including a tyrannical government; as the Colonies did against the King of England.

      We as Individuals, here in The United States, have lent some of our Rights to the government through the Constitution to provide for things that we may not as Individuals provide for ourselves, such as the common defense, or the power to be represented to other Nations.

      Now, Health Care, it is a Service. Yes, an essential one, but still a Service. The worth or value of a service can only be determined thru the Common Agreement between Individuals directly involved in providing and consuming any service, including the Care of Ones Health.

      The Federal Government may not assume any jurisdiction over any Service without first asking the permission of the Citizens of The United States to relinquish their Right to arbitrate on their own behalf as to the value and quality of such services, through a Constitutional Amendment.

      My solution is in a nutshell, get the government out of the way and many of the problems will be solved.

      • Pete says:

        Didn't Jesus, the one and only son of God heal people on a regular basis? There was no compensation for him and none was expected. However through his good acts, he was provided for… well until he was crucified… I'm not comparing doctors to the son of God, but rather the giving of health and care to those who need it to rights, which the above writer comments on how they are endowed by God and are inalienable. If ever there was an example of a god given gift that should be considered a right, this is surely one of them.

    4. Pingback: » Financial News Update - 08/20/09 NoisyRoom.net: Where liberty dwells, there is my country…

    5. Pingback: Friday Notes « 36 Chambers – The Legendary Journeys: Execution to the max!

    6. Tracey Estes says:

      Is life more valuable in other modern industrialized countries than it is in the United States? The reason that I ask this is that we do not have socialized health insurance but countries such as Canada, Cuba and Sweden do. England has had socialized medicine since 1911. According to the Census Bureau, there are over 48 million people without health insurance. There has been such negative propaganda that our government has been pushing on us since at least the 1950's and many people buy into that. Insurance lobbyists pay government officials to prevent any changes. We have been told that socialized health insurance is too costly and that we shouldn’t want our government to manage insurance. All citizens deserve to have health-care. Ronald Reagan once said that socialized medicine leads to communism. Yes, I am serious. We already have socialized insurance in the form of Medicare and Medicaid.

      Our government did get involved during former president Richard Nixon’s time in office. Richard Nixon had a meeting with John D. Ehrlichman about one Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO), called Kaiser Permanente. This is only a small section of the conversation. It is available at uspolitics.tribe.net.

      "…Ehrlichman: "Edgar Kaiser is running his Permanente deal for profit. And the reason that he can … the reason he can do it … I had Edgar Kaiser come in … talk to me about this and I went into it in some depth. All the incentives are toward less medical care, because …"

      President Nixon: [Unclear.]

      Ehrlichman: "… the less care they give them, the more money they make."

      President Nixon: "Fine." [Unclear.]

      Ehrlichman: [Unclear] "… and the incentives run the right way."

      President Nixon: "Not bad."

      It may not benefit us to have HMO's but it sure did benefit Kaiser Permanente, now commonly known as Kaiser Healthcare. Kaiser maintains they are not-for-profit even though the evidence is to the contrary. Instead of the government managing us, HMO’s do. Businesses that can afford to provide insurance to their employees are not able to keep up with the sky-rocketing cost of healthcare which means higher out-of-pocket costs to their employees. Why should business owners have the responsibility of providing insurance anyway?

      The mission of HMO's is to avoid paying for health-care. HMO's have doctors on staff that are supposed to find a way to deny your claim or refuse a procedure you may need. People die every day from these decisions. Humana has been in the news frequently.

      On May 30, 1996, Linda Peeno, who was a contract worker for Humana for nine months, testified before Congress as to the demerits of managed care.

      She began by making a public confession:

      In the spring of 1987, as a physician, I caused the death of a man. Although this was known to many people, I have not been taken before any court of law or called to account for this in any professional or public forum. In fact, just the opposite occurred: I was "rewarded" for this. It bought me an improved reputation in my job, and contributed to my advancement afterwards. Not only did I demonstrate I could indeed do what was expected of me, I exemplified the "good" company doctor: I saved a half million dollars..

      In England, 12% of their taxes go to their national health care system. Our taxes could go towards a better system if our government could balance a checkbook. To date we don't seem to know how to prioritize and put our citizens before other expenses.

      Congressman Jim McDermott has this to say: "The United States spent $1.6 trillion on health care in 2003. That is an average of $4,900 per person for the entire country. The average of the next 29 industrialized countries is less than half that amount, about $2,100 per person. Switzerland, at number two, spends $3,106. That is $1,800 less per year per person than the United States. Every one of these countries has universal health insurance except us" (House of Representatives-March 4, 2004).

      However, are there problems with socialized health insurance? It would be stupid on my part to say that it is a perfect system. One problem is that people often are on a waiting list before they can receive care. When I contact my doctor, I have to wait two to three months before I can be seen. The difference is that I have to come up with a great deal of money before I can be seen. If I lived in England, Cuba, Canada, Switzerland or some of the other countries, I would not have to worry about paying for it. Here in the good old USA, I have to worry about finances and my health. Another problem with socialized medicine: taxation, but hey, didn’t I already point out that English citizens pay about 12% in taxes for healthcare.

      We have public school and we also have Medicare paid for by tax dollars so why should we be limited by our government? The only way to get much done in this country is to unite but unfortunately many people don't seem to care about their fellow man. People are made angry by the thought that their dime in taxes could help someone else. I would like to end this with the following phrase "Viva La Revolution". Only by uniting can we accomplish anything. Remember the Civil Rights Movement?

    7. Pingback: AntiObamaBlog.com » Obamacare: The Maine Experiment

    8. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Nothing which must be produced by man prior to its consumption can be anyone's right unless he/she produced it. The producer is the only one with a natural right to his/her product. That goes for any created human value at all, be that spiritual, intellectual, or material. The right to the "pursuit of happiness" is affirmed, not the right to demand happiness be conferred. The right to one's own liberties, not those of others. The right to create one's own life, not to demand another provide it. Simple. Profound. Universal.

    9. Albert Campbellsvil says:

      Liberals want many things to be a right,that they give you out of the goodness of their hearts.Its all about keeping them in power and us dependant.A great man once said if you give up liberty for security you deserve neither.

    10. Paul J. Fiske, Allen says:

      This Progressive Socialist thinking has been seriously permeating the thought process of the American public since the 1960's.

      Please people read the true meaning of the Declaration and follow the tenets of the Constitution's 7 Article in accordance to the original intent of our Founding Fathers.

      "Life, Liberty and the Ownership of Property" (later changed to The Pursuit of Happiness" to placate the Southern States)and even these cannot be guaranteed without vigilance.

      Health Care is a product to sold in the open free market.

      It is not a "right"!! Neither are these false "entitlement programs" None of this existed in the early part of the 20th Century and we got along just fine. We need to get back to the basics of the Great American Experiment, before all is totally lost….PJF

    11. Bobbie Jay says:

      The president promised this to the people, as he adamantly states. Obviously he mislead the people as he has to bus those that want it, while those that see his proposal to be what it really is, are coming to the town hall meetings at their own free will.

      AS human life, individuals have the duty to take care of our own, without government intervention.

      Personal Healthcare costs is not a right to engage with public tax dollars.

    12. Dale, Cincinnati says:

      In stating that individuals have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, the Constitution guarantees that the government will not infringe upon the rights of individual citizens. The left is claiming that the Constitution requires the government to guarantee individuals' lives, liberty and happiness. Right now the Democrats are trying to change the language of the constitution and I'm not happy. Who's rights are more important?

    13. Linda in TEXAS says:

      Healthcare is NOT a right, but a privilege, as are many things liberals would like us to believe are "rights".

    14. Grace, Florida says:

      No, I don't believe it's a right. I especially don't believe that my tax dollars have to provide it for someone else. People who get sick can get care. I know we pay for that too but to hear someone say they can't receive care is just not true. I think there are classes of people who believe they are entitled to healthcare just because they are Americans. I say no. You need to contribute to society, get a job, take care of your family, stop having kids you can't afford – just stop the cycle of big government taking care of you. I believe there are so many people who have learned how to trick the system. I think if you overhaul welfare and medicade we would solve allot of our problems. Make the poor contribute something.

    15. Mike Mancuso, San Jo says:

      From my point of view, Ted Kennedy is the poster face for term limits. How long has he feasted at the public trough?

    16. Normca says:

      Yes, Teddy Kennedy wants all of us to have health care. Just not the level of health care that he has been entitled to. He doesn't care what type the health care it is – just health care. So he can go to his grave thinking he is responsible for something. Its because of him that legitimate emergency room visitors in Mission Viejo CA have to wait 4 hours [like I did], while those who do not have health insurance, including many illegals immigrants, with a cold are being treated. He would like to change his legacy from one that walked [or ran away], while probably intoxicated, from Ms. Mary Joe when he could possibly have saved the life of his mistress. Then spent 30 years in the US Senate writing laws for others to live by, puking on good men like Clarence Thomas and Mr. Bourke. T Kennedy is just another felon in the US Senate and does not know what real life is about. Wonder – would he like to be on the commissions that will decide if a senior citizen can have surgery ?

    17. Lwesson, Texas says:

      Tracey Estes does point to some issues concerning the current day, Alice In Wonderland health care "system". Yet I cannot help but to hear a whining when she says that I am afraid of my dime going to help a stranger.

      First off, we are NOT the ever delightful Switzerland. We have for some time now, thanks to the unctuous Teddy Kennedy, submerged ourselves in repopulating the nation. The "dimes" unlimited needed to attend to these new people I DO take umbridge to!

      Secondly, we, unlike say citizens in Canada and England are NOT SUBJECTS OF THE STATE but rather We The People are the ultimate arbitrators of power. J. Green does the issue well in taking individuals like Kennedy to task about the government issuing dictat about The People being GIVEN the new right to health care. It is not for the Government to GIVE to a free people. Now a people who are subjects of the State, well the people ultimately are at the tender mercies of the STATE especially when they are disarmed (see The Second Amendment). Sadly, there are legions of Americans who are more than happy to become Subjects to be "taken care of" by the State thus giving the impression to the STATE that The People are wards, subjects to be handled, nannied, coddled, modulated, sedated… from birth, if not aborted, to the grave. This is a dangerous giving of power to the STATE of which The Founders did not ultimately trust including The People! Thus the Bill of Rights and the structure of the Government were thusly constructed to keep the Republic from drifting into tyranny.

      Apparently the safeguards were not enough. Ben Franklin may well have been right when he answered a query as to what form of government we were to have, "A Republic, if you can keep it!"

    18. Brad L, Phoenix says:

      If the government focused on the major problems of our current health care system, I believe the majority of Americans would back it: Uninsured (those who can't afford it and those with pre-existing conditions), Costs (unnecessary tests, Tort reform and those here illegally) and Transportability (open the markets for individuals to shop for their own coverage and keep it when they change jobs).

      I don't see the need to totally dismantle the current system, just improve it.

    19. Normca says:

      One more from me – sadly this president either has not read any of the House versions, as with the stim – pork bill, he farmed it out. Or he is just standing up and lying. Either way; it shows just who he is.

    20. Joe Honick, Bainbrid says:

      There are several key flaws in the fervent opposition to virtually anything the administration has proposed:

      1. no alternatives are presented

      2. if alternatives are known, where have they been for the two Bush/Cheney terms in office?

      3. if the alternatives are clear, why has Dick Armey had to admittedly resort to the tactics of the 30' and the 60's and protestors of the times and had to push on his allegedly 'grass roots' folks the use of the word "Nazi" to make points?

      4. aside from the Jews, Hitler's main enemy in his mind were the Bolsheviks…what does this say about those using the new "N" word today.

      5. why has the US Chamber of Commerce used some reports orginated from a research outfit owned by the UnitedCare Group a major insurance operation?

      6. And really finally, how is it the screamers of the right do not seem to know that no legislative proposal is ever passed as originally presented? Our system requires a filtering process that is very public, goes through committees of both Houses of Congress and ultimarely is publicly exposed to debate on the floors of both places? Do your protestors not know the President cannot pass laws on his own as witness FDR's failure to pack the Supreme Court? Why is obfuscation necessary instead of constructive offering of alternatives?

      Frankly, I do not agree with all elements of any legislation I have seen, but I am suspicious of those who have to resort to name calling the founding fathers, courageous and brilliant as they were, still did not provide for women to vote and for other things they could not think of in the environment of the times. I am grateful they existed and acted but think they would shudder at the misuse of their titles today.

    21. John B. Edwards says:

      Healthcare is a basic human fiscal right, not a Constitutional one. Literally speaking, if you can pay for it, you have a right to it. It is a right and a privilege that requires the person seeking it to pay for it. In other words, we have the right to the care that we can afford.

      Our government has tried to provide healthcare for the indigent and elderly, but the programs are rife with fraud that costs taxpayers billions a year. This is the fundamental problem with government-run healthcare – insufficient protection from crooks and thieves.

      Obamacare is a disaster, because it would be a huge government-run program that would be rife with fraud and would cost all Americans higher taxes, less access to healthcare, a decrease in medical facilities and personnel, would overwhelm the shrinking number of doctors and facilities and drive up the deficit until the system and possibly the government, collapses.

      Healthcare needs some form of reform, but it must come from the private sector, not from a complete government take-over of our healthcare system. The government should have input into any reform discussions and make proposals, but it should be minimal and not coercive.

    22. Weisshaupt says:

      Whenever I hear someone say Health Care is a right, I ask them if that means that the Federal Government must supply everyone in the country with an arsenal and require training in a militia because of the 2nd Amendment provides a Right to Bear Arms.

      Millions of people are without guns in America today, and Tanks and F-16s are just not affordable. Obviously we need a Government system to provide them via subsidy.

    23. Jeanne Stotler, wood says:

      "THe right to life, Liberty and pursuit of happiness" does not state that anyone can get medical care for free, except for part A medicare there is a charge, I pay for part B and carry a suppl. policy. The truely poor get Medicaid, and NO DOCTOR would turn a sick person away nor would a hospital. I have several doctors in my family as well as M.D. friends they are more than willing to cut fees and work out payment schedules, so do hospitals. Only 5% of citizens have no insurance due to ability to pay, illegals are not and should not be included, the other uninsured CHOSE not to have insurance as they want the new ar, big screen TV etc, it's called priority's. I had no Ins. righr after my husband died as I could not afford it and the mortgage payment food and cost of raising four kids. I went back to school and as soon as I was hired by a local hospital, I got INs. It is called PRIORITY

    24. Tom, Georgia says:

      To consider government provided healthcare to be a right requires that, as a prerequisite, governments be considered to have a right to own and use slaves to do their bidding.

      Come to think of it, does that not apply to socialism in general? I guess that explains why creeping socialism is always accompanied by creeping totalitarianism. Sonvagun.

    25. Ace, Monterey says:

      If Healthcare is available, all Americans should have a right to access it. (Right to Life, Liberty etc…) HOWEVER; It is not the government/tax payers responsibility to pay for it.

    26. John Roane Sarasota says:

      It is not a Constitutional right and neither are SSN, Medicaid, Medicare, etc. Our US Congress is out of control the last 70 years and not one President kept his oath of office and performed as the third leg of the milking stool. If you can't understand that because you never worked in a milking barn, then just trying sitting on a stool with only two legs.

      Now what we have is a one legged stool strapped to our behind.

    27. Weisshaupt says:

      "Frankly, I do not agree with all elements of any legislation I have seen, but I am suspicious of those who have to resort to name calling the founding fathers, courageous and brilliant as they were, still did not provide for women to vote and for other things they could not think of in the environment of the times.I am grateful they existed and acted but think they would shudder at the misuse of their titles today."

      What, specifically is being misused or misprepresented? The Founders gave us the Amendment Process because they knew that couldn't foresee everything, and it was used to give woen the right to vote, and it could be used to grant the government the oligation of providing health care, but it hasn't. And even if it were, it would be a service of the government, not a "right". Its the political Left in this country that is misrepresenting and disregarding what the Founders said,in order to claim a right to bully others into living the way Liberals think they should.

    28. Ace, Monterey says:

      The Demorcats are always trying to redefine the word "Right" to mean "entitled". I think every American has a right to own a Ferrari. If I have the money; I have a right to buy one. It's my right under our few freedoms left. Again, as with Healthcare, there is nothing in our constitution saying that the government is to pay for my Ferrari or someone's Abortion.

    29. Bill P says:

      It is interesting to read all of the comments about Healthcare being a "right". I am not an activist. I am not one who wants to interfer with a woman's right to choose. I do not favort abortion!!!!I do think we as a country need to stand on the side of Life. SO if healthcare is a right, to those who take this position, what do you say about the unborn????? Mr. Kennedy???

    30. curt L. Columbus, O says:

      If we value anything more than healthcare, we need to focus on larger issues than healthcare.

      The senate will meet and RUN with cap and trade while we debate death panels. Either bill will kill us.

      We must debate the common denominator of all these issues–clunkers, heathcare, tarp, brazilian oil drilling,deficit spending, bailouts,nationalizing capital, et al.

      Where does the federal govt get any authority to do any of this? If we focus instead on paring down the government and making them fear us more than Soros or SEIU, we can win all arguements. In fact, we wouldn't even have these issue by issue arguments!

    31. curt L. Columbus, O says:

      Re the comment about Kennedy and term limits, I agree…to an extent. $30K/yr and no benefits and especially no retirement; that IS a free market form of term limits I can support!

    32. Dale, Cincinnati says:

      Yes, and the left's view that everyone has a "right" to home ownership created the US' current financial crisis. Handing our more "rights" will just take the country faster down the path to insolvency.

    33. Philip Boyce, Jackso says:

      Great article, Jonathan Green. Please send it to the Editor of the T-U in Jacksonville.

    34. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Health care, food, clothing, shelter, spending money, are these all "rights"? Sure, just ask the people that don't have them. They will be happy to tell you what their "rights" are.

      When the question of who pays comes up, well that's another matter.

      Liberals are always there to tell us about the plight of all the "have-nots" here and around the rest of the world. And about how it's not "fair" that there are "have-nots". And about how we should all pony-up our "fair share" so that the "have-nots" will have. They feel guilty, so the rest of us must pay.

      They keep reminding us that "we are the richest countrey in the world". Well, maybe once upon a time, but not today. All that's left in the Treasury are a bunch of IOUs.

      My advice to all those who feel such guilt, including those in the White House, Senate and Congress, give away everything YOU have to the "have-nots", then you can join them. I have enough trouble trying to support myself and my own family. I can't and don't want to support anyone else's. I'm sick and tired of the Democrats in Washington trying to buy the votes of the poor and illegal aliens with my money. That's what this is all about. It's all it has ever been about.

    35. Douglas W Smith says:

      Right, Priviledge, Socialism/Communism, Capitolism and on and on, argue all you want. It's all smoke and mirrors. Because while people are arguing semantics, this false leader is taking our country in a direction it may be difficult to return from anytime soon.

      We have not learned our history so it appears we are destined to repeat it.

      "The budget should be balanced, the Treasury should be refilled, public debt should be reduced, the arrogance of officialdom should be tempered and controlled, and the assistance to foreign lands should be curtailed lest Rome become bankrupt. People must again learn to work, instead of living on public assistance.."

      Cicero – 55 BC

      Doug Smith

    36. Bill P says:

      Hey Douglas:

      Great Quote!! I hope you are writing your congressman!! I hope you all are writing your congressmen!!!

    37. Marshall Hill MI. says:

      The Constitution does not Address it!

    38. Edith Ring, Mt. Arli says:

      The Declaration of Independence and Constitution was written by good men guided by their faith in God. Take away the 'o' in good and you have God; conversely, add the 'o' to God and you have good. Therefore, regardless of His name and how you worship Him, our good rights come from God. Quoting G.K. Chesterton, "Once abolish the God and the Government becomes the God". Is this not the sad situation we are in today?

      On speaking about healcare, Obama is quoted as saying, "It doesn't apply to me, I have the best healthcare in the world". So what's in it for him other than to secure the votes of the moochers and illegal aliens?

    39. Edith Ring, Mt. Arli says:

      Please correct paragraph 2 to read "healthcare"

    40. Susan, Missouri says:

      Healthcare is not a right. The founders wrote man has the "inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

      I checked, "healthcare" isn't in my little pocket-size edition of the Constitution, nor do I find it in the Bill of Rights.

      I guess the founders just assumed that future generations would take personal responsibility for their own health care and well-being, among other things, sort of like they generations before "healthcare" even was an idea in anyone's mind.

    41. Roger S., Ma. says:

      Jerry…Chicago: couldn't agree more.

      And, Douglas W Smith, love your quote!

      Personally, I still favor Cicero's 1st oration against Catiline, especially the opening 20 lines or so, as in "Wherefore, O Catiline, do you despite all (continue to) abuse our patience…"? Substitute almost any prominent name from the current D.C. polit. scene, like: Reid, Peelyasee, Specter, Teddy, Barney, the great guru of BO himself, you got yourself a match! Sad days ahead before we can boot them.

    42. Al, The Villages, Fl says:

      There is not much to be gained by trying to figure out why the Obama administration is supporting cap and trade, the stimulus as it is, the healthcare bill etc. if you assume that these are bills intended to fix problems and put the ship of state back on track. If that were so, the proposals would have logic, merit and where there are issues, they could be worked out. The problem is that these bills are first and foremost designed to increase government control and move us toward a secular progressive government. That's why the republican amendments have been defeated in committee votes and why we have the impasse on the health care bill with the government option.

    43. Jerry from Chicago says:

      Re: Tracey Estes, wow, one hardly knows where to begin.

      If things are so much better in one of those 29 different industrialized nations, why don't you, and all of those uninsured you worry about so much, pick one and go there. They all have that wonderful national health care that you admire so much. I think you would be much happier there and I am certain the rest of us, who choose to remain here, will be even happier.

      With regard to"Viva la Revolution", there is a plce for that too, somewhere where the sun doesn't shine.

      But you will not do that will you? No, you will just continue to compalin about "unfairness" and look for more Republicans to blame.

    44. Richard says:

      The whole idea of natural rights is ridiculous. You are not born with freedom of speech. That is a right conferred to you by society. You have no natural rights, all rights are provided by the society within which you are a member. Regardless of that, our founding fathers saw to it in their wisdom to deny voting rights to women and people of color. Yet, this was changed. Additionally, the phrase used by the author referring to inalienable rights includes "among these are life,…" Among these. So life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are AMONG other rights not listed. Perhaps healthcare is one. Perhaps it is not. But we will never know, will we? Further, does not "life" include your health? Without your health, you die, thus life is no longer there. Hence, health is a primary aspect of maintaining life. This author's article has hole after hole.

    45. Richard, CA says:

      Re: Jerry from Chicago, wow, one hardly knows where to begin. First, Tracey never specifically states that things are so much better in those 29 nations. She doesn't go into their cultural values, their entertainment skills, or freedoms. She writes about healthcare. Is it so wrong to want to live in the USofA and want to, from her perspective, improve it? Apparently so, in your perspective. Revolution has a place where the sun doesn't shine? Didn't revolution create this country? My, Jerry, your ignorance is showing.

    46. Publius Huldah, Cook says:

      Dear Friends:

      I'm a retired lawyer & philosopher. I posted yesterday a paper, "Is health care a right", where I examine 4 views on the nature of, and source of, rights. I promise you, it is profoundly informative, easy to read, and short.

      Obviously, we don't have "rights" to other peoples' property!

      You can read the paper at http://publiushuldah.wordpress.com/

      I would like to hear from you and know what you think. PH

    47. Lawrence says:

      On one hand we say we are the greatest nation in the world and yet over 1/3 of Americans are suffering from malnutrition and the lack of affordable healthcare. I have excellent healthcare because I can afford it…yet there are those who can not.

      Tell those who are without to get a job…?

      Where can they find a job?

      We blame the President…we blame Congress…we say government shouldn't be involved…but what are the haves doing to rectify the problems of disparity…nothing but talking and blaming!

      Fellow conservatives…get off your soap boxes and start manufacturing businesses that employ people…decisions to close plants and move businesses off shore is based on the % of profit and not a committment to stabilize our economy. We must tell the insurances companies…the boards which we sit..to stop raising rates…make healthcare affordable…and stop being consumed by greed and profit. It is ok that a CEO is paid $15million a year but maybe his or her secretary could make at least $3million. Clearly the people who do the work so we can make millions should be compensated in like manner! If we did out part there might not be a need for government intervention.

      Remember our labor history…it was the neglect of the employees by management that caused the spread of unions.

      If you want government out of the subsidy business…let's get busy and do what we can to make life better.

      Bitching…complaining…pointing fingers will not bring about a change in our "wealthy Nation."

    48. Pingback: Healthcare Summit « NooneOfAnyImport's Blog

    49. Pingback: Is Health Care a Right? | WMOX Radio - AM 1010 WMOX Meridian, Mississippi

    50. markdavismd says:

      Obama is under the impression that government grants rights, not true. Natural rights upon which the Constitution is based are derived from fundamental observations of nature and the deity that created it. In order for government to make health care a right it must by definition impinge on the right of a second party to provide it to the first. Obama's false assumption that coercion by fiat will increase the rights of the few over the many is an academic exercise leading to failure. Since a small number of people lack a product force the majority to pay the bill. Obamacare is that product. Socialism has failed wherever its tentacles have embraced large populations, it will fail here at great cost to this society. Mark Davis MD author of Demons of Democracy

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×