Is health care a right?

I don’t think so, but I haven’t found the right words to describe why I believe this. Don Boudreaux of George Mason University who blogs at the excellent web site Cafe Hayek summed it up nicely (original here):

Genuine rights – such as freedom of speech – are not commodities to be purchased; nor does their existence require the on-going application of human labor and other resources to ensure that they are adequately supplied.

Genuine rights are negative, in the sense that they demand only that each of us refrains from harassing others. Because each unit of health care requires labor and resources for its production, no one can have a ‘right’ to health-care in the same way that she can have a right to speak freely or to worship the God of her choice. Enforcing Jones’s ‘right’ to health care necessarily means forcing Smith to work to produce this health care. A political ‘right’ that cannot even in principle exist without the confiscation of persons’ labor and property is no right at all; it’s a wrong.

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