Why There is No Right to Health Care (and other Progressive Ideas)

Rights are based on God-created equality among human beings–nothing else. Because men are created equal in their basic worth by being made in the image of God–they are entitled by God to the basic rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness (acquiring property through labor). Everyone’s life is equal in intrinsic value; Everyone’s freedom is equal in breadth and beauty; And everyone’s right to pursue happiness (through acquiring property and wealth) is equal in opportunity.

But that’s where equality and rights end. All other things related to human beings are unequal and thus unworthy of the status of a “right.”

This is obviously and expressly true in the area of health–which is why President is wrong to declare health care a right. It can never be a right because too many factors make its demands unequal. These factors include:

  • Genetics – some of us are born with great genes that are less susceptible to certain diseases and others more prone to heart problems, cancer, and neurological disorders. Due to our genetic make-ups, there is no way to “equally” distribute the right of health care. Why should someone prone to horrific diseases be able to demand a million dollars in health care over a lifetime and another who is relatively healthy be required to contribute to the tab through taxation? This is a simple matter of fairness. The general public is not responsible for the genetic disposition of others.
  • Lifestyle Choices –I shared last week how my Canadian friend, Graham, bilked the Canadian government-run health care system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars becaue of his choices to live most of his life as a chain smoker. He destroyed his lungs over decades by sucking in nicotine. As a result of his poor choices, why should another healthy or wiser choosing Canadian be stuck with his health bills? It is simply not fair to charge someone else for another person’s sins and mistakes. This comes back to basic justice and decency.
  • Personal Circumstances – Human beings also encounter many circumstances in life that are neither genetic or a product of their choices. Life just happens–filled with joys and sorrows that are totally non-comparable. One person has a house that burns to the ground. Another loses a child in a terrible traffic accident. From a health perspective, one might have an accident that requires major medical attention, while another is blessed with easier circumstances. Again, because of the inequalities involved in normal life, it would be wrong to ask one person to foot the bill for another. It would be essentially unjust and impossible for a human government to balance.

There is another important reason why there is no right to health care. This one relates to our relationship with our Creator. He is the author and giver of life–and oftentimes uses our personal circumstances to teach us His ways, create humility and obedience in our hearts, and draw our eyes toward eternity. If we remove that important means of personal growth through a government right to health care, we remove one of the greatest incentives to personal growth and drawing close to our Maker.

For seven years–from 1994 to 2001–I suffered with a very painful burning sensation in my throat. It got progressively worse over time and led me to consult over ten doctors, have two rabbit-trail surgeries, and cry out to God with all my heart for relief of pain and understanding of His ways.

During this difficult period, God continually drew me to 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 where the Bible declares that “my grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” I learned during this test in my life to be humble, prayerful, trusting in God and not in myself. I learned to take a deeper measure of my weaknesses and bad attitudes and asked him to produce a greater wealth of his goodness within me.

It was a hard time because I speak for a living. Every time I used my vocal cords, they were painfully sore and the intense burning in my throat got worse and worse. I remember numerous times getting ready to speak to an audience, crying some tears and asking God for the grace to get through the message. He always helped me and I learned to trust him as never before.

Late in the seven year test, I sensed that my deliverance was at hand because of his work in my life. I began to pray fervently for his will to be done, and opened my Bible to a special promise he had given me many years before.

One day in 2001, my wife was talking to her best friend who asked a simple question: “Have the doctors ever checked out Ron’s teeth?” When I heard the question, a bell went off inside of me and I immediately scheduled an appointment. To my dentist’s shock and surprise, they discovered that an abscessed wisdom tooth had created a ping-pong-ball-sized noxious cyst in my jaw–which leaked its poison into my throat every day. I had surgery within days, the cyst was removed and my throat eventually returned to normal. I never returned to “normal.”  My life had been changed through this health care test.

I’m glad I didn’t have a “right” to health care during that ordeal. There are many lessons I would not have learned, many character traits that would not have been fully developed. If I’d had a right to everything, I would have demanded that right and forgotten about God. That’s the way we human beings tend to work.

Not having an automatic right to health care is very beneficial from a personal development standpoint. Suffering draws us closer to God. We seek his will and his answers. If the government’s footing the bill, there’s no one to seek but them. They are usually not as helpful as the God of the universe.

Health care must remain a personal responsibility–not a government right. We are genetically different, we make different choices in life, we encounter different circumstances, and we are all involved in a different relationship to our Creator in which he desires to work for our good. If the government and other tax payers become our new fountain of health, then justice will be impeded and many character lessons will be lost.

This is also why all other “progressive rights” ring hollow. There is no such thing as a right to a job, to a certain level of pay, to a house or car, or any other societal desire–because of the unique differences between people. All of these blessings are privileges–not rights–to be gained by the prayers, hard work, and wise choices of the individual.  God is involved in all of these life opportunities also–and wants us to look to him for provision and personal spiritual growth.

It is through our suffering and pain–and very different circumstances in life–that we learn to grow up and put our trust in God. Insurance policies, church affiliations, and other voluntary arrangements–and even government–can be helpful in the process–but never to be depended upon.

There is no right to health care. Creating that right would be creating a new god in America who would not serve us well.