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Hornberger's Blog is a daily libertarian blog written by Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of FFF.
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There Is No Right to Healthcare


A common belief among progressives is that people have a right to healthcare. Nothing could be further from the truth. People have a right to seek healthcare but they don’t have a right to healthcare. There is a world of difference between the two concepts.

If I have a right to healthcare, that would necessarily mean that someone would be required to furnish it to me. If that were the case, I could walk into a doctor’s office and demand to be treated. Given that I supposedly have a right to healthcare, he would be required by law to furnish it to me.

But forcing one person to serve another person is the essence of slavery. The essence of freedom is the right to live your life any way you choose, so long as your conduct is peaceful. Thus, freedom necessarily entails the right of a doctor to determine whether he wants to furnish healthcare to you. If he wants to, he is free to do so. But it is also his right to say no to you. It is not your right to compel him to serve you.

That’s why the Declaration of Independence refers to the pursuit of happiness rather than happiness itself as a fundamental, God-given right. You have the right to seek happiness. But you don’t have the right to happiness, which would imply that others have some sort of legal obligation to provide you with things that make you happy.

Thus, you have the right to seek out doctors and other healthcare personnel. You have the right to ask them to treat you. But you have no right to force them to do so, either personally or through the coercive apparatus of government.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.