Health Care Is Not a Right
Washington, D.C., July 27, 2009--President Obama’s push for universal health care rests on the premise that people have a right to medical care and medical insurance. “This is wrong,” said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center. “This notion of some sort of entitlement to health care is a distortion of the concept of a ‘right’ and is ultimately what’s behind all of the problems with today’s medical system.
“Philosopher Leonard Peikoff explained the basic point in a 1993 speech (view the video or PDF) given in the context of HillaryCare. It applies equally to Obama’s ‘reforms.’ Peikoff argued that ‘all legitimate rights have one thing in common: they are rights to action, not to rewards from other people. The American rights [to life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness] impose no obligations on other people, merely the negative obligation to leave you alone. The system guarantees you the chance to work for what you want--not to be given it without effort by somebody else. . . . 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.”
For more information on the Ayn Rand Center’s position on health care, please visit our Web site.
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