Last updated on: 3/16/2010 | Author:

John David Lewis, PhD Biography

Visiting Associate Professor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Duke University
Con to the question "Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?"

“[T]he very idea that health care — or any good provided by others — is a ‘right’ is a contradiction. The rights enshrined in the Declaration of Independence were to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Each of these is a right to act, not a right to things…

These two concepts of rights — rights as the right to liberty, versus rights as the rights to things — cannot coexist in the same respect at the same time…

To reform our health care industry we should challenge the premises that invited government intervention in the first place. The moral premise is that medical care is a right. It is not. There was no ‘right’ to such care before doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies produced it. There is no ‘right’ to anything that others must produce, because no one may claim a ‘right’ to force others to provide it. Health care is a service, and we all depend upon thinking professionals for it. To place doctors under hamstringing bureaucratic control is to invite poor results.”

“Health Care, Why Call It a ‘Right’?”, Aug. 12, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Philosophy, Politics and Economics Program, Duke University, Fall 2009
  • Visiting Associate Professor, Political Science, Duke University, 2008-2009
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Kenan-Flagler School of Business, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Fall 2008
  • Associate Professor of History, Department of History and Political Science, Ashland University, 2001-2008

  • Instructor, University College, University of London, 2000-2001
  • PhD, Classics, University of Cambridge, 2001
  • MPhil, Classics, University of Cambridge, 1997

  • BA, History, University of Rhode Island, 1995
  • None found
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?