Ever ready to spout off about things political, Dallas Mavericks owner and billionaire Mark Cuban now wants to shore up Obamacare, pushing the idea that the U.S. Constitution should be changed to proclaim health care as an American “right.”
Speaking to reporter Nicholas Ballasy of PJ Media, Cuban tried to explain his desire to implement nationalized, single payer health care. While on one hand Cuban doesn’t agree with government-run hospitals, on the other he thinks people should have a “right” to health care.
“I think health care should be a right. If there’s a legitimate way to modify the Constitution, I literally think there should be an amendment to the Constitution for healthcare for chronic illnesses and serious injury. We all play the genetic lottery,” Cuban said according to Ballasy.
“I think all of the talk about Trumpcare vs. Obamacare really just avoids the ultimate question, which is, is health care a right or not?” Cuban added. “But I’ve had friends who have had cancer, we’ve all had people who have had severe illnesses and if they didn’t have insurance. In a couple cases, I’ve since paid for them because they didn’t have insurance or enough insurance. I think that’s wrong — that’s a cost we all should share.”
Unfortunately for Cuban, the idea of turning healthcare into a “right” works against the whole concept of rights.
In the American system, a right is the inviolable ability to act without the permission of other people. In addition, one may exercise his rights as long as the rights of another person are not violated in the doing.
A right is something available equally to all citizens, something that can’t be taken away by government. But it is also something that isn’t granted by government. In the American tradition, a right is something given to individuals by God, not government. And, since a right is something that does not require action by others to be fulfilled, therein lies the rub when it comes to health care.
If health care became a right, it would require the labor of doctors, nurses, and other care providers. Therefore, we would essentially turn healthcare providers into slaves of the state, forcing them to care for people despite their personal desires and feelings on the matter. After all, if it is our right to get health care, how can any doctor refuse us?
Therefore, health care simply cannot be a right. Your right of free speech does require me to do anything for you to exercise it. Your right to life only requires that others don’t try and kill you. Your freedom of religion only demands that everyone else just leave you alone. But, if healthcare became a right, your “right” would force others to make sure you stay healthy. Compelling others to do something violates the very idea of a right.
Indeed, as a nation we had this discussion way back in the 1940s when President Franklin Roosevelt tried to pass his “Second Bill of Rights” to make education, housing, health care, and other things a new American right. Even in 1944 people realized that forcing health care workers to take care of people despite their personal desires would be a form of servitude to the state.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.