Emergency room treatment, veterans’ health care benefits, Medicaid and Medicare are well-established programs in the United States — each one founded on recognition of a right to health care.
The Affordable Care Act is just an extension of the right to health care based on the knowledge, resources, and needs of contemporary American society. Anyone calling for repeal of the ACA (including Bob Jentges and David Anderson) on the ground that health care is not a right — but rather a product or service just like buying a car, a dinner at a restaurant, or a dance lesson — should be demanding a repeal of all these programs.
According to Anderson’s view, “You are not owed anything — you are entitled to earn it and pay for it like we have for the last 225 years.” What he says about health care applies equally well to education, welfare, food stamps or a lawyer to defend yourself.
This view leads to constructing society on a delusion: Whatever you accomplish or acquire in life is solely due to your own personal, intentional effort. It can inflate egos; it can make some people feel good; it can even inspire some to do great things. But it’s still a delusion.
That’s why the view ought to be rejected. That’s why many serious, successful people recognize an obligation “to give back.” That’s why so many Tea Party people and Ayn Rand fans embracing it are ready to march the country off a cliff. And that’s why there’s a right to health care.
We can encourage personal responsibility and the value of making your best effort without tying them to a delusion.