(It did not appear in the printed edition, only in the online edition):
Running for cover, October 4th
SIR - Governments should not guarantee health care as a "right" ("Running for cover", special briefing on the US election, October 4th). Rights are freedoms of actions (such as the right to free speech), not automatic claims on goods and services that must be produced by others.
Individuals are legitimately entitled to services such as health care that they purchase with their own money, are promised by prior contractual agreements, or are given to them via voluntary charity.
Otherwise, government programs to guarantee health care as a "right" must necessarily violate someone's actual rights - either the rights of those compelled to provide medical care or the rights of those compelled to pay for it. Such programs then become just another form of state-sanctioned slavery or theft.
Dr Paul Hsieh
Freedom and Individual Rights in Medicine