Thursday, September 5, 2013

New John Lewis Essay

At The Objective Standard blog, Jared Rhoads reviews a newly-published essay by the late John Lewis, "There is No 'Right' to Healthcare".

From Rhoads' review:
Lewis describes two basic and conflicting views of rights in America today. One is the idea of rights as entitlements to goods and services. The other is the idea of rights as moral prerogatives to freedom of action.

The first view holds that if a person has an unmet human need—a need that could be satisfied by some good or service—then it is incumbent upon others who are able to satisfy that need to do so. In other words, needs impose duties.
Lewis explains that this view fails in two important ways. First, because human needs are boundless, the consistent application of the notion that needs impose duties would lead to
an endless creation of duties, and to ever-increasing government control over the lives of citizens, precisely because there is no end to the needs that one person may demand that others satisfy.
The other main problem, Lewis explains, is that imposing duties upon one person in the name of satisfying the unmet needs of another inescapably violates the rights of the first person. Applying this to health care, Lewis writes, “There is no right to medical care because there is no right to coerce medical professionals to provide it.”
I've just purchased the Kindle edition of the book, Medical Ethics, 2nd Edition (edited by Michael Boylan of Marymount University), and I look forward to reading the Lewis essay (as well as the other chapters)!