DeMint: Health Care Is a Privilege, Not a Right

August 21, 2009 | Last updated: July 31, 2020

Earlier this week, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) was asked by Charleston’s Post and Courier whether “people have a right to health care?”

“I think health care is a privilege,” he said. “I wouldn’t call it a right.”

I do think in our country and in any civil society there should be a safety net for basic health and food and shelter, but that doesn’t mean that the whole system should be designed around the belief that people can’t make their own decisions, can’t be responsible for themselves. … What we do need to do is make sure everybody has access to policies they can afford, own and keep. We’re not doing that. What we’ve done is set up the whole system to reward employers for offering health insurance, but we don’t support people who don’t get their insurance at work, and that’s not fair.

This is pretty stark indication that no amount of debate and negotiation on health care reform is going to iron out the ideological differences between the two parties on the issue.

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