Conservatives have slung all kinds of hyperbolic, outlandish, and phony attacks on attempts to provide health care to all Americans over the years, but tea party darling Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) may have taken the cake today when he equated universal health care with slavery. Speaking at a Senate Health, Education, and Labor Committee hearing, Paul argued that if you believe people should have a right to health care, you believe in enslaving doctors, nurses, and hospital janitors:
PAUL: With regard to the idea of whether you have a right to health care, you have realize what that implies. It’s not an abstraction. I’m a physician. That means you have a right to come to my house and conscript me. It means you believe in slavery. It means that you’re going to enslave not only me, but the janitor at my hospital, the person who cleans my office, the assistants who work in my office, the nurses.
Basically, once you imply a belief in a right to someone’s services — do you have a right to plumbing? Do you have a right to water? Do you have right to food? — you’re basically saying you believe in slavery.
I’m a physician in your community and you say you have a right to health care. You have a right to beat down my door with the police, escort me away and force me to take care of you? That’s ultimately what the right to free health care would be.
Setting aside Paul’s healthy police state fever dream, by Paul’s logic, the Pope supports slavery. In November, the pontiff called health care one of the “inalienable rights” of man and said, “Justice in health care should be a priority of governments and international institutions.”
Paul is himself a (dubiously accredited) doctor, as he mentions. But while he bitterly condemns government spending, he’s also complained about the government cutting payments to doctors like him. Perhaps that’s a form of slavery too.