It comes down to a matter of moral rights. Is healthcare a moral right to be expected, or is healthcare a privilege to be enjoyed? Today people think it is a right. But rights come with corresponding duties. So, if it is a right, then others have the corresponding duty to ensure you enjoy that right. If, on the other hand, it is a privilege to be enjoyed, then you cannot demand it, you can only appreciate it when you are afforded the opportunity to enjoy it.
The proponents of universal healthcare are framing their argument in terms of rights. They would try to persuade us to believe that individuals have the moral right to healthcare. If that is true, then it necessitates that taxpayers are morally duty-bound to fund it, even against their will.
What is not asked is what ground one might have for holding that each individual human being be accorded this basic rights in any kind of polity whatsoever. Does the US Constitution provide for this right? Does divine law provide for this right? From whence do proponents of universal healthcare derive this right?
All kind of sound-bite arguments are used in this battle for the minds and money to support universal healthcare:
“We should help the needy.” Yes, but all such help is to be voluntary, according to Scripture. Taxation isn’t voluntary it is involuntary. It is good and right to give to the poor and needy, but it is not right to demand that of each other or else face consequences.
“It is fair.” Is it really fair to take something from one person and give it to another? Is it fair to require individuals to fund other people’s bills involuntarily? How is that morally defensible? That’s sounds like stealing.
“We are responsible.” How? According to what moral law? What made us responsible? What made us duty-bound to fulfill that supposed right?
“It is just.” By the use of what standards can a compelling case be made for the taking money from one group of people, and handing it over to another group of people? I don’t see how the massive transfer of funds, (which is required in a system that exists to provide such a fiscally demanding service as healthcare) is justice-enhancing. In fact, I find it to be just the opposite.
Why isn’t personal responsibility for the care of one’s own health not the overriding duty? Why does one person have the right to expect another to provide what one is duty-bound to provide for himself? Why are other people duty-bound to fund my own healthcare? Why not my mortgage? Why not my grocery bill? Better yet, in today’s economy, why not my gasoline bill? They may be compelled by love to do so, and that would be the enjoyment of a privilege on my part, but on what basis can I expect them to provide this for me as a moral right?
I think we are becoming an increasingly self-absorbed culture that expects way more than we should. We think the world owes us what we want, and we get mad if the world doesn’t give it to us. The promise of universal healthcare is an appealing one, but it appeals to our greed, not our personal responsibility.
That’s the lure: “You can have it for free. We’ll give you this right.” But you don’t have a right to everything our culture says you ought to have. Beware of greed. Beware of thinking the world owes you anything. It doesn’t. You owe the world the blessing of being a contributing member of society, not a freeloader.