Health care is neither a right nor a privilege, it is a commodity

To the Editor:

The question to Miss USA whether healthcare is a right or privilege and debate of relatively small differences between the “American Health” and the “Affordable” Care Acts miss the mark.

Rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness come from God and are unalienable and equal. To effect rights, they must include the right of contract, equal to buyer and seller, to freely exchange goods and services. Government has a power, not a right, to grant privileges; i.e., special advantages or benefits to favored classes, thus, alienable and unequal. To grant a privilege of property or services to a favored class, government must violate the rights to property, honestly obtained, and liberty by violating those of the disfavored class. Healthcare is an exchanged commodity, same as food, clothing or plumbing services. A commodity is not a privilege to the person who earned it through their labor (i.e., not a special favor granted), but becomes a privilege only when the government grants the special unearned favor to someone.

Intervention in markets by granting privileges to nonearners and by impairment of earners is equated with the lack of healthcare, goods and/or food in places such as Venezuela and North Korea (2017), Soviet Union (1980s), British exodus of doctors (1960s to 1970s), India (1960s), Ukraine (1930s), Pilgrims (1620) and enumerable other historical examples. Three hundred million of us, specializing in our own expertise, are the most effective managers of the economy and its sectors (e.g. healthcare), not central planners. The American Health Care Act only minimally reduces the Affordable Care Act’s suffocating intervention and nationalization of healthcare.

To make sound economic decisions one must know the value, determined only by individual consumers, and the cost, determined only by individual suppliers. To know the value and cost, any welfare subsidization of individuals unable to pay must be kept separate from the free market exchange of products and services, without restriction or subsidy. Insurance, by nature of the product, must categorize people according to risk classes or “pools” (including pre-existing conditions); the higher the risk and cost, the higher the premium. Insurance must be left to fulfill its function of covering unexpected high-cost procedures, leaving patients to pay everyday health expenses. As part of welfare, government should be limited to providing subsidy (e.g., vouchers) directly to individuals for insurance or healthcare; by the states, to provide a competitive check on unreasonable welfare expenses and taxes.

Eldon L. Rash