Kate Southwood in the Huffington Post and writing from Norway asks why healthcare isn’t a right?
So if America is already spending more on health care than anyone else and if America’s health care technology is second-to-none, why isn’t health care a fundamental right? Why do I, an American citizen, have the right to health care only because I happen to live in a foreign country?
laying out a series of strawman arguments against healthcare being a right but never quite making the case that it is a right.
There are several reasons that I can think of that we shouldn’t think of healthcare as a right. The first is that healthcare is a private good. Defining it as a right would place that right in direct conflict with two other rights: the right to property and the right of healthcare providers to freedom from involuntary servitude. If there is no limit to what can be spent on healthcare, then it is possible that providing that right will seriously abridge the right to property. If there is a limit to what is to be spent on healthcare but no limit to how much healthcare must be delivered for that sum, then healthcare providers will be subjected to involuntary servitude to deliver it.
I have no knowledge or experience of Norway’s traditions in law but here when you have a right to something then you can go to court to secure that right. If there is a right to healthcare that means if you are denied some procedure, for example prostate cancer screening tests as in the UK, you could go to court to force the question. Can you do that in Norway? I have no idea.
If you can, then people in Norway have a right to healthcare as we reckon rights. If you can’t, then the Norse mean something different by rights than we do and the question is meaningless.