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November 30, 2004

Rights: "The Patient's Right Not to Sue"

James D. Miller's ($) "The Patient's Right Not to Sue" from The Weekly Standard has a good idea captured in the first two paragraphs:
I DON’T WANT THE ABILITY to sue my health insurance company. Lawyers are expensive, so if my insurance providers know that I might sue them, they’ll charge me more. Other people, in contrast, might want to pay for the ability to sue. A true patients’ bill of rights would give all of us the choice.

Unfortunately, the congressional sponsors of the patients’ bill of rights now heading for a House-Senate conference this fall seem to have forgotten the difference between rights and obligations. They want to force everyone to pay higher health insurance premiums in return for the ability to sue. But if I hate broccoli, forcing me to buy it increases my obligations, not my rights.

So many laws presented as giving people rights are, instead, taking them away-- the right to social security (meaning you have to pay payroll taxes) and medicare (ditto), or to an 8-hour day (meaning you have to accept that length of day) or to unionize (meaning, in many states, that if your company has a union, you must join it).

Posted by erasmuse at November 30, 2004 12:31 PM

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