If access to health care is a human right—as suggested in a recent op ed by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)—then it makes slaves of physicians, hospital janitors, and everyone else working in the health care sector. That’s according to Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the physician-cum-politician, who never saw a government program he didn’t hate. Paul made that astonishing statement earlier this week, adding that universal health care would mean, “You have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery.” Therefore, he reasons, health care as a right is unconstitutional.
Sadly, Paul did not take his warped argument to its logical end. Namely, that all rights guaranteed under the Constitution must makes slaves of those whose chosen professions are impacted by those rights. For example, Americans accused of crimes have the right to a trial. Given Paul’s logic (if, in fact, one can call it that), this right makes slaves of judges, lawyers, bailiffs, and even citizens who serve on juries. Our founding documents speak at length of national defense and the right to liberty, so does that make our servicemen and women slaves? That’d be a hard argument to make given that we currently have an all-volunteer military.
Paul did not take his argument to this logical end because that would show just how illogical his argument is. And if a statement so bereft of logic is the best argument someone can come up with against universal health care, then clearly there are no real arguments to be made against it.
Sharon Kayne is NM Voices’ Communications Director