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Letter: Health care is a commodity, it’s not a constitutional right

Health care is a commodity, it’s not a constitutional right

A recent letter writer declared that health care was a “needed service” and therefore “ought to be a constitutional right.” This is in keeping with the position of Sen. Bernie Sanders and others on the left that it is a constitutional, even a basic human right.

To believe so ignores the hard reality of the real world. Health care is a commodity. Every component of it is the fruit of someone’s labor, and that someone is entitled to be compensated for producing it. No person has a “right” to such a commodity. Anyone who claims a right to such is also saying that someone else has an obligation to buy it for him. We grant no such rights or obligations anywhere in our articles of governance.

Enlightened societies may, even should, decide that they will provide a level of health care to citizens regardless of ability to pay. In this country, we do that at great expense to the taxpayer. Doing so is consistent with who we profess to be, and we bear this burden largely without complaint. But it is our decision to make, not the consumers’ right to demand. This is not a distinction without a difference. It is a fundamental question of rights and obligations consistent with a free and capitalist society.

Those who believe it is a right would be hard pressed to find in the Constitution a right to anything that must be purchased for them by another citizen. If so, I’d like a new car. Make that “demand” one.

Gary Brignone

Amherst

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