Friday, 13 February 2015

Alex Salmond doesn't understand the legitimate role of government or the point of a constitution

In the lead-up to the Scottish Independence referendum Alex Salmond was interviewed on Reporting Scotland on the 13th August 2014, where he stated that he desires to protect the NHS and maintain health services "free" at the point of use.  Whilst I don't necessarily agree with that (which I realise is a very uncommon and unpopular point of view in the UK) it is a position that many reasonable people hold.  I fully understand that where people sit on this issue, and others like it, is largely the result of subjective value judgements.  However...

Salmond then went on to state his desire for a written constitution (fine - this is a goal that I can completely get on board with) and that he would work to ensure that in an independent Scotland "health services free at the point of use" were constitutionally protected as a right.

I have to be very careful here, because I don't want to understate the significance of this:


Regardless of your subjective values and your opinion on whether or not you think healthcare should be provided by the state, or by private providers, or some combination of the two, the notion to protect this as a "right" is a total nonsense.

You cannot have a "right" to healthcare that's free at the point of delivery just as you cannot have a "right" to housing or watermelons or education or yachts or mortgage advice or courier services that are free at the point of delivery.  What all of these things have in common is that they cost money to provide - in order to receive them they first must by produced (at some cost) by someone else.  You can't have a "right" to them because that would put an obligation on someone else to provide them at their own cost.

A "right" to free healthcare for you is an obligation to provide free healthcare on your Doctor.  You don't expect to go to work and get paid nothing for your labour so why should your Doctor?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Abusive and/or hateful comments will not be permitted.

The blog author accepts no responsibility for the content of reader's comments.