Health insurance should not be considered a “human right” as the Register advocated on 1/31/2013 (Health insurance for poor is a human right). When the term “human right” is used in conjunction with a product or service, such as health insurance, (or food, or shelter, or clothing), it implies that government should use its force to take property from some people to make sure that everyone is provided with that product or service regardless of cost. Rights that require the use of force by government to take from some to give to others are called “positive rights.” Positive rights are only possible if some of the people work, create, and save their property – so that it may be taken and distributed to others.
The kind of rights that are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights of our U.S. Constitution, are called “negative rights.” Negative rights do not require any action by anyone else and do not infringe on the rights or the property of anyone else. For example, I have a right to speak , but you don’t have to listen. I can practice my religion but you don’t have to believe. I can form a union but you don’t have to join. I can open a business but you don’t have to patronize it or work for me. Negative rights are are based on the idea that we are each free individuals who own whatever property we create or acquire honestly and peacefully through voluntary social interaction and cooperation with other people.
The current question is whether or not to expand Medicaid in Iowa. The fact that most, if not all, of the funding comes from the federal government does not make it free for Iowans. Money from the federal government is not “free money.” The more fundamental question is how far do we expand Medicaid. The number of people in Iowa on Medicaid increased by 23% from 2006 to 2010. Today, more than one out of five Iowans are on Medicaid. Of course, many more people would like to be covered by Medicaid. Who wouldn’t like to have someone else pay for their health care? Governor Branstad is correct to not expand Medicaid. Instead, we should make sure that we our current spending is being used as effectively as we can.
Register article: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013301310087