Health care not a right

LETTER — Posted May 3, 2010

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Advocates of health care insurance funded by taxpayers through the federal government argue that there is a fundamental right to health care. This assertion is shortsighted and naive in its hopefulness and dangerous to liberty over time.

Our nation's founders identified "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" as both "self-evident" and "endowed by our Creator." Health care is neither. It emanates from a doctor, nurse or other provider of that care. Therefore, any claim of a right to care requires an obligation to provide care by another person, thereby subjugating the one to the other.

Rights endowed by the political class are subject to their whims and can be both granted and denied. This is the essence of tyranny and the very thing our Declaration of Independence was written to oppose.

Consider if no person chose medicine as a career -- would the right to health care cease? Either such a right doesn't exist, or the government must require some members of society to serve the others.

Although the advocates of health care as a right are likely well-intentioned, their view leads ultimately to oppression.

Joseph A Jaskolski, MD, Califon, N.J.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2010/05/03/edlt0503.htm.

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