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

Theodore Dalrymple, MD Biography

Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Con to the question "Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?"

“People sometimes argue in favor of a universal human right to health care by saying that health care is different from all other human goods or products. It is supposedly an important precondition of life itself. This is wrong: There are several other, much more important preconditions of human existence, such as food, shelter and clothing.

Everyone agrees that hunger is a bad thing (as is overeating), but few suppose there is a right to a healthy, balanced diet, or that if there was, the federal government would be the best at providing and distributing it to each and every American…

The government-run health-care system—which in the U.K. is believed to be the necessary institutional corollary to an inalienable right to health care—has pauperized the entire population…

Universality is closely allied as an ideal, ideologically, to that of equality. But equality is not desirable in itself. To provide everyone with the same bad quality of care would satisfy the demand for equality… [T]he universality of government health care in pursuance of the abstract right to it in Britain has not ensured equality. After 60 years of universal health care, free at the point of usage and funded by taxation, inequalities between the richest and poorest sections of the population have not been reduced. But Britain does have the dirtiest, most broken-down hospitals in Europe.

There is no right to health care—any more than there is a right to chicken Kiev every second Thursday of the month.”

“Is There a ‘Right’ to Health Care?” Wall Street Journal, July 28, 2009

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Dietrich Weismann Fellow, Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
  • Contributing editor, City Journal
  • Columnist, London Spectator
  • Former physician and psychiatrist (United Kingdom)
  • MD, school unknown
  • Theodore Dalrymple is the pen name of Anthony Daniels
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should All Americans Have the Right (Be Entitled) to Health Care?