It's amazing how the Left defines everything they advocate for in terms of rights. In the past, they have griped about the right to a living wage and welfare. Recently, it has been about the "right" of collective bargaining. After one year since Obamacare had been passed by Congress, now the Left, as always, is whining about how health care is a right. Much of the Left's complaints are rooted in their self-entitlement mentality. Ideally, the state would provide the people's needs, a trend which we are regrettably seeing in the European Union. I'll leave the ideological discord at that for the time being.
Much like I did with collective bargaining a few weeks back, I would like to differentiate between a real right and a false right. This time, I want to view it in terms of the government's role in respect to those rights. The government is either the guarantor or the protector of rights. If the government is the guarantor, you can guarantee that the government has the ability to take away those rights just as easily as they granted them. That has been the story of many citizen's rights throughout history. When the government is the guarantor, it would be significantly more accurate to state that they are not so much rights as they are privileges.
If, on the other hand, the government were the protector of rights, that brings us in the realm of natural rights. If natural rights are fundamental, then you cannot have a conflict between one's fundamental rights and another's fundamental rights. If you did, then you would be dealing with a case of misinterpretation of those rights.
What does this mean in terms of health care? You have the right to choose to exercise. You have the right to smoke two packs a day if you want. You have the right drink as much alcohol as you want and participate in other high-risk activities, provided that you are not harming others in the process. You have the right to have a diet that consists of Big Macs, Twinkies, and other processed foods, thereby becoming obese in the process. I would deem it really, really moronic to damage your body in such ways. However, I find the great thing about America, or at least the nostalgic version that many Americans have, is that we have freedom. We have the freedom to choose success and happiness. We have the freedom to choose self-destructive, idiotic behavior. We have the freedom to choose something in the middle. It is the American Dream to make that choice for ourselves.
The moment when stupid choices have spillover effects on others is when I have a problem with an American's stupidity. Joe Schmo, you can smoke two packs a day for all I care. But don't expect me and every other American to pay taxes via Obamacare to cover your treatment because you didn't care that smoking increases your chances of lung cancer. If I do end up having to pay for it, then you violate the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of me and every taxpayer in this country.
The sad part of this whole debate is much of our health care problems could be prevented. According to the CDC, one in five deaths is caused by smoking. Much of the cardiovascular diseases, which is at a shocking statistic of 81 million Americans, could be easily prevented with good diet and healthy exercise. Diabetes II, which is the prevalent type of diabetes, is also preventable with good diet.
Although I can list more diseases, I wanted to amply prove that most health care issues are preventable. This is important when considering the fact that increase in demand drives up the cost of a good; it's simple economics. Therefore, your stupidity should have tangible costs (i.e., consequences). That is all the more reason why health care should be treated as a good, not as a right. If it were treated as a right, everyone would think that there is an unlimited supply, which would drive up the costs even more. The result would be in a rationing of health care since there would not be enough doctors to see all the patients with their stupid and/or preventable maladies. It would bring financial ruin to this country. I'll let Harvard Economics Professor Jeffrey Miron explain why Obamacare, or any nationalized health care, is a bad idea: