As the battle over healthcare continues in the Senate, Democrats argue against the repeal of Obamacare by insisting that “healthcare is a right.” Many believe healthcare to be a right that the government should provide for free, paid for by tax payer money, to those who cannot afford it. However, there are several flaws with this argument. To make the claim that healthcare is a right is to ignore the definition of a human right and neglect to consider everything this statement implies.

Senator Rand Paul gives the perfect response

Recently, Senator Rand Paul gave the following statement in response to Senator Sander’s claim that “healthcare is a right”:

“Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services, do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? You’re basically saying you believe in slavery. You’re saying you believe in taking and extracting from another person. Our founding documents were very clear about this. You have a right to pursue happiness but there’s no guarantee of physical comfort. There’s no guarantee of concrete items. In order to give something concrete, you have to take it from someone. So there’s an implied threat of force.

If I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care, do you have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be. If you believe in a right to health care, you’re believing in basically the use of force to conscript someone to do your bidding.”

Senator Paul is absolutely correct in this statement. Healthcare is not a right, it is a service. Rights do not cost money. They cannot be bought, they can only be protected.

A human right does not depend on someone else doing their job. Healthcare is only possible because of skilled and hard-working physicians and providers who have chosen to become trained in assisting others. Another person’s labor is not a right, it is a commodity.

The government does not grant rights

Additionally, the government’s job is to protect our rights, not grant them. A human right is defined as “the interest in a claim which is recognized by and protected by sanctions of law imposed by a state.” Therefore, anything granted to us by the government is not a right. The government’s only job in regard to healthcare is to protect our right to access it and allow for a free market where each individual can choose the best option for his or her needs at an affordable cost.

To allow the government to provide us our rights would be to turn government into God. This would also allot the government a dangerous amount of power. If the government provides our healthcare, the government gets to make decisions regarding our health that it should never be making, as we are currently witnessing in the case of Charlie Gard.

To quote Thomas Jefferson, “A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything you have.”