Health Care

The Case for Calling Obama Health Care Immoral

By Yaron Brook

In an online interview last week, President Obama said that “universal” health care is an “ethical and moral obligation. . . . [based on the idea] that we look out for one another, that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper. And in the wealthiest nation on earth right now, we are neglecting to live up to that call.” But this is a perversion of morality.

“What is morality in this context?” asks Dr. Leonard Peikoff, in a speech in 1993 on health care. “The American concept of it is officially stated in the Declaration of Independence. It upholds man’s unalienable, individual rights. The term ‘rights,’ note, is a moral (not just a political) term; it tells us that a certain course of behavior is right, sanctioned, proper, a prerogative to be respected by others, not interfered with—and that anyone who violates a man’s rights is: wrong, morally wrong, unsanctioned, evil.”

According to Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center, “There can be no such thing as a ‘right’ to products or services created by the effort of others. And this most definitely includes medical products and services. Rights, as the Founders conceived them, are not claims to economic goods, but to freedoms of action.

“You are free to see a doctor and pay him for his services—no one may forcibly prevent you from doing so. But you do not have a ‘right’ to force the doctor to treat you without charge or to force others to pay for your treatment. The rights of some cannot require the coercion and sacrifice of others.”