If an opinion poll asks Americans if health care is a right, a good chunk of people will say it is.
And government defends our rights, correct?
A lot of people will nod and agree that government has to provide “free” health care.
But what is health care?
Obviously, one key to maintaining good health is having shelter from the elements. So is that a right? And does government have an obligation to provide shelter?
That question occurred to me last month when we were talking about it here, and I thought the above suggestion utterly absurd.
But in today’s America, the absurd becomes reality with alarming quickness, in the form of a proposed bill in Hawaii that would allow doctors to “prescribe” housing to homeless people:
“A state senator, Josh Green, has introduced a bill to classify homelessness as a medical condition. Green, who is also a physician, said the idea originated in his own work in the emergency room, where he saw many homeless patients arrive for treatment of basic conditions at great expense, but no real long-term benefit. ‘I’m really just applying a band-aid,’ he said of his medical work. ‘But these problems require intensive long-term support.’”
According to guardian.com, “As envisioned by Green, doctors could prescribe housing on a case-by-case basis.” And, of course, taxpayers would pick up the tab.
Food is essential to health. So is food a “right” the government must supply? Should a doctor “prescribe” food — I suppose in the shape of food stamps?
The same goes true for clothing. Should government, through doctors’ orders and the welfare system, supply our clothes?
It’s hard to see where this ends. When people confuse a right like freedom of speech with a human good like health care, chaos will follow.