If you accept the proposition that one person’s rights end where another’s begins, then you cannot escape the fact that health care is simply not a right in America. Because if health-care is a God-given right, then by definition you can force someone else to treat you at no charge.
Free speech is a right because you may choose to exercise it without forcing someone else to do it for you. The freedom to worship as you please is a right, as long as you don’t force others to worship as you do. The right to keep and bear arms does not force others to pack heat.
But to declare health care a right is wrong. The only way to make health care a right is to force doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners – who have spent a lot of time and money learning and perfecting their profession – to give you something of value against their will. That’s not exercising a right; that’s a mugging.
All of which, of course, brings us to ObamaCare. But to be fair, the government’s mugging of the health care and health insurance industries has been well underway long before the Chosen One ascended to his White House throne.
One of the more common forms of government mugging over the years has been the practice of forcing private insurance companies to provide certain coverages in their insurance policies which the government, not the private insurance companies, deem necessary.
If a private insurance company decides it does not wish to provide, for example, acupuncture coverage, but the government passes a law – which you violate under peril of fine or even imprisonment – mandating it, that’s a third-party mugging. The government is forcing the private insurance company to take money from its policy holders and give it to acupuncturists against the will of the private insurance company and its customers.
Ditto a more recent trend by government – at the behest of greedy, self-serving unions – to force “nursing ratios” on private hospitals.
Instead of the private hospital deciding how many nurses it needs to handle the number of patients the private hospital serves, a legislature of self-serving politicians with no experience or expertise in running a hospital gets to force private hospitals to hire a specified number of nurses based on a set of arbitrary, one-size-fits-all criteria just to increase the number of dues-paying SEIU members?
Or how about the new ObamaCare mandate which forces private insurance companies to spend at least 80 percent of its premium revenue on medical care with 20 percent allowed for overhead, administration, marketing and profits. Spending 79.5 percent on medical care won’t be enough. It has to be at least 80 percent. Or else.
By the way, do you know who will get the royal shaft on this deal? Your individual insurance agent who will have his or her pay dramatically cut by insurance companies in an effort to conform with the new government spending mandate. Which is likely to put many of them out of business.
And that will mean you may soon be on your own to navigate the increasingly complicated waters of health insurance options, or rely on paid employees of individual insurance companies whose primary interest is selling you on their company, not necessarily providing you with the best insurance policy for you and your family.
But the worst, most-outrageous ObamaCare mugging, of course, is the federal mandate forcing every man, woman and child in America to buy a health insurance policy…or else.
This might finally be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. Americans have a tendency to look the other way when it’s somebody else being mugged by the government – especially when its “big business.” But when the government comes to you and tells you to buy health insurance…or else, well, them’s fightin’ words.
The right NOT to buy health insurance is a true right. And to violate that right is wrong. Period.
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Chuck Muth is president of Citizen Outreach, a non-profit public policy grassroots advocacy organization. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.