You saw the title, so fair warning, ok?
What is a right? We are given certain rights by our country and by God, but what, by definition, is a right? All this talk about the right to free speech, the right to health care, the right to bear arms, the right to happiness, the right to blah, blah, blah has got me thinking about it a lot.
The Bill of Rights doesn't actually secure us the right to happiness. It states that we have the right to pursue happiness. That's a very different thing than just the right to be happy. The Bill also doesn't secure us the right to health care. It doesn't secure us the right to a driver's license or a plasma TV, or a dinner out each week. We have the right to pursue those things, but we do not have a right to them.
As a people and as individuals, we don't have a right to government given health care or any health care at all. It is not the government's responsibility to provide it and it is my right to deny it if I don't want it. We have the right to buy health insurance if we want it and a right to pay out of pocket if we want.
A right is something that doesn't infringe on the rights of others. Therefore, the government does not have the right to force a health care insurance plan (government or otherwise) down my throat. The government has the right to enforce things like auto insurance, driver's licenses, the right to vote for all individuals and set an age requirement for voting, drinking, smoking, etc. because those things can and do affect others, not just the people using those rights. The government has the right to require the people to attend special classes and training before purchasing a weapon, but doesn't have the right to tell the people that they cannot use the weapon for self defense.
There are insurance plans that are required by law which do make sense, such as auto insurance. If I get in a car accident and it is my fault, my insurance will cover the accident. It's my responsibility to make sure those involved in the accident are taken care of monetarily and I can do so by having auto insurance. If I don't have that insurance and get into an accident, then that makes life hard for everyone involved because I may not have money to pay for it out of pocket.
My decision to have health insurance or not however doesn't affect anyone else. If I go to the doctor and I don't have health insurance, my neighbor or the woman next to me in the waiting room doesn't have to pay for it--I do. I don't have a problem with this. When Nathan graduates, he'll be able to exchange his services for those of other medical professionals. We probably wouldn't have to worry about health insurance at all if it wasn't for ObamaCare. But now, we could be forced to buy health insurance, something we don't need, don't want, and will be taking money we need for other things out of our pockets. Instead of buying snow boots, sweaters, and paying for heating the house, we'll have to put that money into health insurance. Great. Now when we get sick at least we can go to the doctor and have him tell us we have a cold.
I lived in Canada for over 18 months. During that time I had an emergency room visit, a dental visit, and needed to see two different general practitioners for different things. The ER had no choice but to admit me, but it was many hours waiting and all for the guy to be less than helpful. He had many other people to get to and wasn't really interested in helping me. The dentist I lucked out on and was the mother of a friend. The doctor? Well, lets say I made about 5 phone calls to doctor offices and was hung up on each one. "No, he's not taking new patients," was all I heard, then click. Finally, before I asked for an appointment, I said, "I'm from the United States and can pay for an appointment." That's when I got in. However, I saw a terrible doctor who wasn't interested in helping me and just wanted to get through his day. His assessment of what was wrong was completely off and showed that he hadn't even listened to me.
The second doctor I saw was for a cyst in my back. While he was nice and did the first half of his job, getting the cyst out and sending it to the lab to make sure it was benign, he asked me if I knew anyone that could take the stitches out for me so I wouldn't have to come back to his office. What?!? Yeah. Good thing one of my mission companions was a nurse. I had to have her take the stitches out because the doctor didn't want me clogging up his office for a 10 minute procedure.
Rights are given based on the idea that they won't infringe on the rights of others. That doesn't mean that everyone will be happy and enjoy life, but that there are basic rights which should not be denied. But just because those rights shouldn't be denied, doesn't mean we have to accept them. Just because I have the right to bear arms doesn't mean I will (but I do). Just because I have the right to free speech doesn't mean I'm going to paint myself a poster and march across the street (but I will write a blog post). Just because I have the right to pursue happiness doesn't mean I will (but I do). And just because some idiot at the White House says I have the right to health insurance doesn't mean I do. I have the right to pursue health insurance, but no more. His telling me I have to have it infringes on my rights and my family's rights. My decision to not buy health insurance doesn't affect him or anyone else in the country. As long as my husband and I can take care of ourselves and our children we have the right to say no to health insurance.