OPINION: Universal Health Care Should Not Be A Right

Jim Martin | Chairman, 60 Plus Association

There is no shortage of Democrats tinkering with the idea of seeking their party’s presidential nomination next year. Thus far, it appears traditional Democrats are outnumbered by others positioning themselves as more progressively liberal than the previously announced candidate. But one common thread among them is “Medicare for All.”

As bits and pieces of Obamacare are chipped away legislatively and through court challenges under the Trump administration, liberals see an opening to reignite debate over single-payer health care. Even casual observers of politics see that Medicare for All — now possessing the acronym MFA — will be front and center in the 2020 campaign. 

The theoretical and actual problems with MFA are manifest. The estimated $32.6 trillion dollar price tag of MFA is staggering but even this unworkable figure isn’t enough to dissuade many people from the allure of establishing a “right” to health care for everyone.

The notion of health care as a right predates the contemporary political landscape, but the current debate surrounding MFA is doing precisely what the progressive Left wants. It is raising awareness and generating a sense of urgency across the electorate about the issue.

These are necessary prerequisites for bringing any issue to critical mass, and the 2020 presidential campaign is the stage on which the Left will seek reach a tipping point.

One important aspect that escapes many people, too, is that a right is something that can be exercised without coming at the expense of someone else.

My decision to attend church, own a firearm or vote in no way hinders anyone who chooses to avoid church, guns or the ballot box. That is the beauty of a right. We are free to exercise it just as we are free to eschew it. The same cannot be said for MFA or any other single-payer health care system. 

Declaring health care a right means somebody must surrender something so that certain others may exercise their “right” to health care. It might be a working family that forfeits more of their money to government for redistribution.

It may be the hospital or clinic that is compelled to provide services under any and all circumstances. It may be the individual physician who is prohibited from receiving fair compensation for their labor. Someone or some group must surrender part of their liberty for another. This is not how rights work. 

But Medicare For All is not the only invented “right” on the horizon. We’re seeing the beginnings of an effort to create Social Security For All; free money given away to people deemed worthy by the government. In Stockton, California, there is a pilot program to give $500 a month to a group of people who make $46,000 a year or less. 

Some call it universal basic income but it’s essentially a move toward Social Security For All. The difference between Social Security For All and actual Social Security is that taxpayer money is being given away to people who have not paid into Social Security for decades as American seniors have.

Interestingly, Stockton’s plan was announced a few months after Finland decided last year to scrap its Social Security For All program. The Fins have not yet said what went wrong with their two-year experiment in giving away free money but one can imagine. 

A nation can no more institute Social Security For All any more than it can institute Medicare For All. Seniors and those approaching retirement age understand that Social Security and Medicare are programs they have paid into their entire working lives. They are the bedrock of America’s compact with older citizens and they must not be jeopardized by the misguided notion that health care and cash are somehow “rights” in the 21st century.

Medicare for All and Social Security for All would bankrupt our retirement support system, crushing the people it is intended to assist in their old age. 

The nation is accelerating toward declaring as rights things that are not and a frightening number of people are being seduced by this false Utopia. It’s American Socialism and it’s a lie, but its supporters believe it will work because America has enough wealth to take from others and give to preferred classes.

These new “rights” of the Left are the most dangerous threats to the United States since the Civil War. If we don’t wake up soon, they will destroy the most successful, most prosperous, and most generous nation in human history. 

 Jim Martin is the founder and chairman of the 60 Plus Association. 


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

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