Health Care, Natural Law, and the American Commons: Locke and Libertarianism

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 2013


This article makes a moral argument for universal access to health care and for the legitimate function of government to guarantee that access. Constructed as a reply to the libertarian argument against universal access, this article utilizes the moral and political theory of John Locke, favored by libertarianism, to develop a Lockean argument for a view contrary to the libertarian philosophy. In particular, the argument here shows how libertarianism’s neglect of a crucial element of the natural-law tradition, to which Locke adhered, not only undercuts the libertarian objection to universal access to health care but also underwrites an alternative argument in favor of such.