I don’t know who wrote or said the quote, but yesterday this paragraph appeared on a social media platform:
“It’s not the government’s job to protect my health. It is the government’s job to protect my rights. It’s my job to protect my health. When you trade freedom for security, you end up losing both.
Whether you think health care is a ‘right’ we can all agree that health care is a necessity of life – just as food, shelter and clothing are necessities of long and productive lives. . Except in safety net situations, the government does not provide food, shelter, and clothing for the vast majority of Americans.
The role of government is to ensure a free market framework so that people can access the basic necessities of life in a timely manner. As in all other economic activities, the free market offers the best solution to provide the greatest access to health care and to control costs. If “food care” were controlled, paid for and regulated by the government, we would have overuse, less choice and limited supply. The private system of grocery stores and supermarkets guarantees access, choice and competitive prices for all. The free market system is efficient, voluntary and fair.
Health care is personal. Personal responsibility is almost invariably overlooked in debates on health policy reform. Each individual must make their own decisions regarding activities related to their lifestyle. Likewise, it is not for the government to protect people from these decisions. For example, people should be prepared to accept the consequences of smoking, overeating, and participating in high-risk activities.
Individuals freely making their own health care decisions and using their own health care dollars would give Americans the best chance to use their “right” to access health care, with net health programs. security provided to those who cannot afford it.
Ultimately, healthcare is an economic activity like any other, but with the most personal interactions between patient and provider. Society should strive to make patients responsible for their health care, reduce the role of government and focus on access, not health care as a so-called “right”.