MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Tuesday cornered Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX)—a former doctor turned Congressman—over whether he believes healthcare is a right.


Burgess was on to discuss the GOP’s recent failure to “repeal and replace Obamacare,” a rallying cry for the Republican party for seven years. Speaking with Matthews, Burgess insisted healthcare is a “responsibility that each of us has to each other,” but could not explain why that doesn’t translate to a federal healthcare system.

“Do you support Bernie Sanders’ idea that health care is a right and the government has to deliver on it?” Matthews asked Burgess. “And if not, what is your philosophy about the roll of the federal government in health care?”

“From the perspective of a physician, it's a responsibility that each of us has to each other, to our families,” Burgess said. “The state control of healthcare actually makes so much more sense from my perspective.”

But asked by Matthews if we were better off before ObamaCare, Burgess insisted, “I don’t think there’s any questions that we were.”

“If you believe we're better off without ObamaCare, why doesn't your party go back to repeal?” Mathews asked.

After tracing the history of the GOP’s numerous, futile attempts to repeal and replace ObamaCare (when they were cushioned by the knowledge former President Barack Obama would veto any attempts to unravel his signature legislation), Burgess insisted he’s “worked diligently on getting that bill delivered.”

“It's dead,” Matthews said of the GOP bill.

“I don't think I agree with you,” Burgess protested. “I think it's important that [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnell (R-KY) bring it up for a vote.”

“I think people need to see which senators are okay with keeping ObamaCare and which senators wish to repeal ObamaCare,” Burgess said, arguing legislators need to “put [their] card in.”

“Do you believe health care is a right?” Matthews pressed.

“I told you—it's a responsibility,” Burgess replied.

“No, is it a right like life, or is it a right like the right to bear arms or a right in the Bill of Rights?” Matthews asked. “Do you have a right to health care provided by the federal government?”

“You have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” Burgess daftly replied.

“Not health?” Mathews asked.

“I'm a physician—someone has a right, that means you take my skills and the fruits of my labor,” Burgess insisted. “That is what you're telling me.”

“I'm just asking,” Mathews said. “I'm not telling you anything, I want to know where you stand.”

“I told you where I stand,” Burgess replied. “It is a responsibility that people have to have the provision for taking care of their health and their family’s.”

Watch the video below, via MSNBC: