Some people think health care is a right while others don’t. I can’t say there’s an ongoing debate, because there isn’t — just two camps with opposing beliefs and never the twain shall meet.
It doesn’t matter if people hopelessly disagree, though, or that there’s not even a debate. The greater problem lies in the concept of what rights are, and what it means to have them.
We obviously do have rights, with some of the most vital constituting our Bill of Rights. But what good is a right to a citizen if its government doesn’t honor it?
For example, if you haven’t lately, reread the Fourth Amendment:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
This means that our government recording our communication, internet activity, or whatever else is a clear violation of our Fourth Amendment right, as innocent citizens don’t have warrants.
It’s decidedly more fun to joke about Kellyanne Conway’s microwave than it is to discuss CIA overreach or NSA privacy infringement. But if these illegal procedures are ignored or accepted, any discussion of designating additional rights really can’t be taken seriously.
The very common (and suuuper chill) response to this violation is approximately, “Well, if the government’s spying on me it’ll be a boring job – I haven’t done anything wrong.” This asserts that rights matter to neither citizenry nor government.
If rights don’t matter, then it doesn’t matter if health care is deemed a right. Or if anything else is, really, when you have a government choosing at whim which rights they’ll actually uphold, and a citizenry that tolerates violation.
Not the cheeriest of concepts, so feel free to lighten things with a different perspective, or to commiserate in the comments.
Thanks for reading,
PS. I’m not being nihilistic here, suggesting nothing matters at all. Nor am I dismissing the debate whether health care is a right is or not, because it’s worth having, but only once the foundational terms (specifically, what is a right, and what does it mean to have one) are set and adhered to. (Next of course would be what is health care.) (Then, what is “is”?!)
PPS. I should acknowledge (or at least consciously appreciate) my current privilege of good health, and my ability to discuss this topic conceptually, as opposed to personally. Each one of us, however, is affected when our government disregards our rights.