Here is a concrete example of the clash between negative and positive rights. The new health care legislation has set up a very interesting conflict: creating ‘health care’ for roughly 30 million people while at the same time a number of doctors will likely be leaving their practices. Let’s look at implications of this.
Progressives believe that everybody has a ‘right’ to health care. Furthermore, they believe that those with the resources to pay for health care must be taxed to pay for those who don’t. The net result of this will be an increased demand for health care. There will more and more folks that expect that they will be able to get the care they want when they want it.
Now look at the supply of health care. There will be a decreased number of doctors to treat an increased supply of patients. This will result in wonderful things like rationing and long wait times, that is, if you can even find a doctor (as is happening in Canada).
Those doctors who leave practice while still able to provide care are a ‘resource’ that can be used to help address the supply-side problem. Additionally, many of these doctors were trained with public subsidies. Progressives would argue that these doctors ‘owe’ society their services. The free market solution to the lack of doctors would be to allow prices to rise enough to entice the doctors back into practice. This isn’t going to happen under the controls being imposed by Washington.
This leads to my challenge to any progressive readers out there: Should doctors who no longer wish to practice be compelled to provide their services to patients in our reformed health care system? Why or why not? Remember, if there is a right to health care, patients have a right to the services that doctors provide.
Hopefully this scares the daylights out you, the reader. How can liberty possible survive? Talk about a brave new world!