Here's a letter to the editor of the Denver Post from Dr. Paul Hsieh, a libertarian M.D. in Colorado (and also the author of the fantastic GeekPress blog):

Health care is not a right, and it is not the proper role of government to provide health care for all citizens. Instead, this should be left to the free market. It is precisely the attempts of the governments of countries like Canada (or states like Tennessee) to attempt to mandate universal coverage which have led to the rationing and waiting lists for vital medical services. Similar problems are already starting to develop in the Massachusetts plan as well. Any plan of government-mandated "universal coverage" is nothing more than socialized medicine, and would be a disaster for Colorado.

Paul S. Hsieh, M.D., Sedalia

You may agree with Dr. Hsieh's view, or you may disagree with it, but it seems quite sane and calm for a paragraph-long letter to the editor (a hard format to shine in).

But according to Denver Post staff columnist Jim Spencer, it's the "craziest letter to the editor that [he's] read in some time" and a "rant" to boot:

The craziest letter to the editor that I've read in some time came from a physician who claimed that Coloradans have no right to health care.

Seems the guy not only forgot his Hippocratic oath but also the law.

If you're sick enough or badly injured, they have to treat you at the emergency room regardless of your ability to pay.

The doctor aimed his editorial rant against socialized medicine. But he wrote it because a state blue-ribbon commission is now cobbling together a plan for medical treatment and prescription drugs for Coloradans....

Oddly enough, I didn't see anything the Hippocratic oath about governmental obligations to pay for medicine. Nor is there much evidence that Dr. Hsieh has "forgot[ten] ... the law" about emergency room treatment requirements; in context, "[h]ealth care is not a right" sounds like a statement about moral rights, not statutorily imposed legal obligations.

But on top of that, let's shift for a moment from the Hippocratic oath to sensible journalistic standards, even for columnists. Is it good for a newspaper when its staffers (again, even columnists) treat thoughtful disagreement from readers as "craz[y]" and as a "rant"? Is such an attitude likely to lead the columnists to be thoughtful analysts? Should it instill confidence in their readers?