Dr. Leonard Peikoff wrote an article in 1993 explaining why health care is not a right, and it deserves to be read by every American in advance of the inevitable debate over the issue during the next presidential election cycle.

Under the American system you have a right to health care if you can pay for it, i.e., if you can earn it by your own action and effort. But nobody has the right to the services of any professional individual or group simply because he wants them and desperately needs them. The very fact that he needs these services so desperately is the proof that he had better respect the freedom, the integrity, and the rights of the people who provide them.

You have a right to work, not to rob others of the fruits of their work, not to turn others into sacrificial, rightless animals laboring to fulfill your needs. ...

Some people can't afford medical care in the U.S. But they are necessarily a small minority in a free or even semi-free country. If they were the majority, the country would be an utter bankrupt and could not even think of a national medical program. As to this small minority, in a free country they have to rely solely on private, voluntary charity. Yes, charity, the kindness of the doctors or of the better off--charity, not right, i.e. not their right to the lives or work of others. And such charity, I may say, was always forthcoming in the past in America. The advocates of Medicaid and Medicare under LBJ did not claim that the poor or old in the '60's got bad care; they claimed that it was an affront for anyone to have to depend on charity.

But the fact is: You don't abolish charity by calling it something else. If a person is getting health care for nothing, simply because he is breathing, he is still getting charity, whether or not any politician, lobbyist or activist calls it a "right." To call it a Right when the recipient did not earn it is merely to compound the evil. It is charity still--though now extorted by criminal tactics of force, while hiding under a dishonest name.

The idea of socialized health care is worse than impractical, it is immoral. (As are almost all socialist endeavors.)

(HT: GeekPress and Transterrestrial Musings.)

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