In 2008, Barack Obama stated that healthcare should be a right to every American. This is, quite frankly, unrealistic in a free, capitalist America. The left’s demand for free healthcare is misguided in several ways. The biggest being that healthcare is, in fact, not a right. It’s a commodity. You have a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. You do not have a right to a service provided by and paid for by other people.
In January of this year, Ben Shapiro, editor in chief of The Daily Wire, explained why treating healthcare as a constitutional right is wrong. He stated, “to make a commodity cheaper and better, you need two things – profit incentive and freedom of labor. The government destroys both these things in the healthcare industry when it decides medical reimbursement rates for millions of Americans, particularly poor Americans.” This violates individual autonomy.
Shapiro then goes on to state that this leads to doctors being stripped of their individual freedom to treat who they want and charge what they want, and enforces involuntary servitude. As a result, America suffers from mass shortages of doctors.
This further proves that the healthcare industry is a market and markets need competition to function. Without competition, there is no incentive. Without incentive, there are no doctors to treat the very people who demanded free healthcare in the first place.
The biggest argument proponents of universal healthcare like to make is that it’s fair. If we can give everyone the same health coverage, why wouldn’t we? Free healthcare for everyone might seem fair, but it’s really not. When we make healthcare equal between everyone, we end up rationing it like Canada and the UK. These rations include service restrictions and controlled distribution. This means people could be waiting months to get treatment just to be turned away.
According to Scott Atlas, fewer than 10% of patients in the US wait longer than two months to see a specialist versus 41% in Canada and over 28% in other European countries. It’s simple economics – supply and demand. When the supply can’t meet the demand, the system fails. This is exactly what would happen if the US implemented free healthcare.
Paul Roderick Gregory found that the tax rates of countries with free healthcare average payroll tax is 37% more than twice what the average American worker pays. People may not see this as a bad thing. After all, everyone pays some, we all have healthcare, and everyone’s cared for and out of debt, right? Well actually, this system, no matter how affordable to individuals, is not affordable to our country.
The cost of providing the general welfare instead of promoting it, as said in the preamble of the US constitution, is socialism, which has proven to be a failure in countries like Venezuela, where they are being encouraged to eat rabbits to avoid starvation and experiencing shortages in medicine and money.
We all want to believe that universal health coverage would be successful, but it simply isn’t possible. In allowing the government to dictate our healthcare, we surrender our individual liberties and the liberty of our country in more ways than one. Americans have the right to purchase healthcare. What they do not have a right to is forcing a third party to take care of them at whatever price the government decides. Healthcare is a service to be paid for, not a constitutional right to be demanded.