Friday, May 8, 2009

"Right to Healthcare"

You have RIGHT to health care, you say?

Sounds good, doesn't it, feels good to demand it, doesn't it? Politicians demand it, "humanity" demands it, "compassion for your fellow citizens" demands it, health care is of those "unalienable rights". Isn't it?

Well, you know, "Health Care" is not an abstract concept, and not just "something". Health care is what I personally do, an individual service from me for you. I requires preparation, a special setting and often help from other people. Health care is why I get up in the morning and why I go to work.

It took me quite a while to be able to give health care, by the way. 15 years of training, with countless sleepless night, plenty of sacrifices, low income for all those years, pressure and hard work.

And you state that you simply are entitled to this, that it is your right?
Did you do something for me? Did you help me get into medical school? Funny, I also did not see you paying for my medical school, and I did not see you paying for my residency training, nor I did not see you staying up at night with me, bringing coffee, holding my hand, nor helping me in any way at all. I passed all the exams quite well all by myself, and I do not remember you helping me to pass them. And now you claim a right to my success?

In short, you did not contribute to my 15 years of training, but now you say that day or night you have a right to my unique knowledge, my unique skills, my expertise, just because....?

Oh, because it is the "human" thing to do, the "compassionate" thing to do? Or is it because there was an "oath" that was written over 2500 years ago, at a time when we had no electricity, no technology, no paper money, an economic system of the most simple and underdeveloped form.....
Come on....

Ok, you say that you have a right to healthcare because it is really important to you and your really need it, you say it is a matter of life and death...
Well, well, don't we all have our needs..
Counting my needs, I would start with food, which is really, really important. Should food not be a right?
Well, go to your farmer, your supermarket or your grocery store and tell them that you have come to claim your right to food!
Let's continue with shelter, housing. Very basic. Just go to the construction company and tell them that you really, really need a house, and that you think housing is a right! Find out how well that goes over..
Next go to the Gap and tell them that you have a right to clothing! Listen carefully to their answer.
Money, well, that is really important. Money is handy, can be traded for a lot of other useful things. Please go to a bank and claim your "right " to money! Watch how pleased they are....
You might also want to call Warren Buffet and tell him you have a right to his expertise and his skills, after all, he is rich enough.....

Oh, I forgot....
Remind me, since you claim a right to MY work, do I actually have a right to YOUR work? NO? Why does this not surprise me?
To be frank, I think it is pretty nervy of you to demand that you have a right to my work!

To sum this up: I am a free individual and I can do with my life and my knowledge and my skills whatever I please. And no, you do not have any kind of "right" to my knowledge, my expertise and my skills. And, No, you do not have a right to my time, be it by day or by night, my past sacrifices, my blood, sweat and tears. No, you do not have a right to it.
Oh, so you don't really want to claim you right from me, you want to claim it from the government? You think "the government should provide health care"?
May I ask how this will happen? Do you expect the town clerk to provide care? The government as such cannot provide healthcare. Physicians provide health care. Should I assume that you want the government to lean on me, to force me to give you what is a "right"? Is that what you want?
You know, in the end it comes down to you, the patient, and me, the physician. Nobody else. That is health care. I do not see how the government matters in this.
And, no I will not give the government a discount. The government does not give me discounts either. And you remain exactly the same patient, regardless if you pay or if the government pays.
Just to be clear, I do not owe the government anything either. Neither does the government have a right to me, to my life, my skills, my expertise and my knowledge. To the government I am just the same as to you: an individual who is independent, to whose efforts and time neither you nor the government has any kind of "right".
We can trade though, at arm's length, and if we come to a mutually beneficial agreement I will be happy to give you my time and skills