Jesse Kelly, the Republican nominee in Arizona’s 8th congressional district best known for holding fundraisers with M16 automatic rifles, told an elderly gentleman at a campaign stop yesterday that health care is a “privilege” that people must “earn”, not a right.
Kelly, who is running to fill Gabby Gifford’s vacated seat — made the remarks while meeting with voters at the La Cholla Country Club yesterday. A senior citizen asked the candidate about his philosophical approach to health care and whether “health care is a right or a privilege?” Kelly hemmed and hawed before conceding that he believes health care “is a privilege to some extent.” He went on to say that health care is one of those “privileges you earn.”
VOTER: Do you think that health care is a right or a privilege?
KELLY: My belief system is this. The health care for anybody but especially for our nation. The highest quality and lowest cost can only be delivered without the government. What I believe is that all things we drive, we do, health care, anything, is a privilege to some extent. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, those are inalienable rights endowed by your creator. If you’re claiming a right, if you’re going to say anything’s a right, if you’re going to say you have a right to a cell phone, then who has the responsibility to pay for it? That’s what I believe.
VOTER: So you’d put health care as a privilege then?
KELLY: Absolutely, absolutely. I believe that all things we have are. But they’re privileges you earn.
Whether or not you agree with Kelly’s belief that health care is just a privilege, it is still a reality that far too many Americans die each year because they can’t afford access to the health care they need or receive uncompensated care that is financed by those who have insurance. Since everyone is bound to fall ill — and some may suffer an unexpected medical setback, as the Giffords tragedy illustrated — a system in which 50 million Americans are uninsured is an inefficient and quite expansive waste of tax payer dollars and resources.