Dear Sen. Paul —
First of all, congratulations on becoming an ophthalmologist in the first place. Eye trauma is one of the few medical problems that still gives me the howling fantods, so I sincerely salute anyone who can operate on the eye without his hands getting shaky.
Also, I actually kind of understand your point about specialty certification. I certainly find the rules and obligations for certification by the American Board of Pediatrics to be tedious, onerous and arbitrary, and sometimes chafe at the absolute sway they have over my ability to practice. (I’ve even thought about writing a post about it, then chucked the idea as boring inside baseball that would interest precisely nobody.) Others may disagree, but I didn’t find your attempt to create a rival certifying body all that crazy.
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.
I don’t follow your argument.
When the Supreme Court ruled that states have an obligation to provide all criminal defendants with counsel, lawyers weren’t frog-marched out of their beds in the dead of night to represent anyone. I have no idea what scenario you’ve created in the fevered reaches of your imagination, but I don’t think the “physician enslavement” policy you outlined above is even remotely plausible. Do you expect anyone to take this seriously? Do you take this seriously?
Your perplexed colleague,
PS. It seems Jonathan Chait is confused, too.