By Alan W. Cohen
As the House of Representatives failed to thread the needle leaving us with the one of the greatest legislative travesties in history, let’s remember where we stand. Hear me Bernie Sanders. There is no constitutional right to health care.
The Declaration of Independence stated that we as citizens of the United States of America have certain inalienable rights, and the Bill of Rights was nothing more than an exclamation point. James Madison made certain to add the Ninth Amendment as a reminder (Hear me, Originalists) that the first eight amendments were not conclusive. Yet, those rights that are inalienable were ones that existed at the time of the Declaration, the right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Yes, we have the right to create a business that provides health insurance. Yes, we have the right to enter into a contract that provides for health insurance, just as we have the right to provide health care services and the right to contract for those services.
Which brings us to the real problem: Government. Both Congress and the states have limited the ability of insurance companies to provide health insurance, thus limiting the choice for consumers. Trust the consumer. Trust the market. It will work out. It always does. Perhaps, the House should have voted for a straight repeal of Obama care, despite the arcane Senate rules. Perhaps, it might still happen. Perhaps, Congress will realize that government should have no part in what, had been prior to the Great Society, a free market. Altruistic medical providers and charities provided for the poor. Medicare and Medicaid was a nightmare for the general practitioner, requiring them to spend a large share of their income immersed in the insipid pile of paperwork. Health insurance is no better. After Obamacare passed, my own doctor quit. He was one of thousands that just wanted to practice medicine, but couldn’t survive in the paperwork world, leaving America with a nationwide doctor shortage.
The Constitution does not grant a right to health care. We must, instead, enforce the rights of medical providers to offer a service, and enforce the right of the consumer to find the best service at the best price, something that government has, for the past fifty years, wrongfully and mistakenly destroyed.
Attorney Alan W. Cohen is the author of the new book, Private Vows: The Case for Ending State Regulation of Marriage and Divorce, and the 2015 book, America Solved: A New Family for the 21st Century.