Disclaimer: This article argues for an important semantic difference. It makes no claims about the merits or faults of healthcare policy.
Healthcare as a right has been a rallying cry for liberal America for some time. It makes sense. Anyone with a conscience finds it difficult to be a part of a society that allows people to be priced out of cures for curable diseases or mired in debt after an emergency room visit. Pricing people out of care is becoming an increasingly unacceptable to society, so the solution liberal America is advocating for is to treat healthcare like a right.
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. When our country was created, the definition of a right was a novel idea. Previously, to paraphrase Senator Ben Sasse, your rights came from the king. That which was not mandatory was forbidden and exceptions were granted on a case by case basis. If you wanted to open a store, you needed special permission. Traveling from one place to another was even subject to scrutiny. The king was the only one who was free. Therefore, anything you did was possibly cause for punishment at his sole, arbitrary discretion. Continue reading