Is Health Care an Inalienable Right?
What is an inalienable right? According to Dictionary.com, it is a right that cannot be taken away, denied or transferred. As documented in The Declaration of Independence, these rights include: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In addition to these rights there are those in the Bill of Rights, which we are familiar with. So, knowing these rights and knowing that they operate on the same general principle of being given at the point of birth, does health care have a place among them? Although wording can be interpreted so it is included under a person’s right to life, health care is not an inalienable right.
It could be said that health care is not an inalienable right because it is not mentioned in the Constitution. The Preamble does mention that one of the United States’ purposes is to promote the general welfare. It does not say to provide it. The legal section of The Free Dictionary states that the General Welfare Clause allows Congress to spend money for the general welfare but not the power to pass laws for the general welfare. The government does not have to establish goods and services for the people.
Health care is not a right because it is a service. It is a material good that must be paid for. Material goods include medical equipment and doctors and nurses. Emergency services and routine check-ups are not free. Someone had to buy those hospital beds, antibiotics, wheelchairs, etc. and now they are passing on those costs to the patient. If health care was a right, and not a service, there would not be as many doctors and nurses because there is no trade off with medical school and the profession. In his article, “Do You Have an Inalienable Right to Your Neighbor’s Labor” Joseph Rosenberger states that if a hospital provided emergency services without costs, then the hospital would have to raise the costs of other services or operate at a loss until the hospital can no longer handle the financial...
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