Recently I posed this question:  ”Why should someone’s motorcycle wreck (someone I don’t even know) force me to cancel my family’s vacation, as I don’t have the money to pay for both his medical care and our planned trip?”  This is what the “right” to health care boils down to, isn’t it?  This is difficult for many, even in the medical business to comprehend.   Add up the taxes you pay (be sure to include Medicare and Social Security) and think what you are living without due to this confiscation of your property.   Maybe these funds claimed by “the government” would pay for your child’s college?  Or a newer, safer vehicle to transport your kids.  Or some kind of urgent healthcare required by one of your children, for which your insurance doesn’t pay…..or…I could go on.  How do you define where our responsibilities for others ends?

Rights simply cannot exist, the exercise of which denies another their rights.  That’s it.  Plain and simple.  You and I do not have a “right” to health care, because unless we pay our way (or someone volunteers, charitably), someone else’s rights must necessarily be violated for this “right” to exist. 

Now let’s try to expand the original proposition: “Why should someone’s motorcycle wreck in Vermont (again, someone I don’t even know) force me to cancel my family’s vacation…we live in Oklahoma!”  Or, “why are Vermonters’ problems Oklahomans’ problems?”  

Remember that the principle or doctrine of subsidiarity basically states that the government that governs best governs closest to home.  So what is the opposite of subsidiarity?  The troubles of every person in the world (not just the folks in far away Vermont!)  are everyone else’s responsibility.  Think I’ve taken it too far?

Consider this: if health care is a basic human right, then why do our obligations to provide the healthcare safety net stop at our border?  WHAT?  Seriously.  If health care is a right, why not enforce its availability all over the planet. We’re talking basic human rights stuff here, after all, no?

At The Surgery Center of Oklahoma, we are providing health care for many Canadians, in whose country, health care has been declared a “right.”  It just so happens that having declared health care a “right,”  much necessary  health care is unavailable there, so their incredible burden falls on those of us in the free market.  We frequently care for those north of our border who have learned the hard way what their government really means by a “right.”  In fact, nothing has done more for the medical tourism business than the declaration of health care as a “right” in many countries.  This declaration has guaranteed scarcity and rationing of care as limited resources are a fact of life.

So here is what I suggest.  Let’s let the folks in Vermont take care of their health issues and we’ll take care of ours here in Oklahoma.  Gotta start somewhere.  Instead of every man for himself, let’s try every state for itself and see if this move can delay the country’s bankruptcy.  When charities and churches pick up the slack I predict we will find that all of this government in health care was simply not necessary.  In the meantime, The Surgery Center of Oklahoma will continue to provide low cost surgery to those from countries where health care is a “right”.  

G. Keith Smith, M.D.