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Socialism and Health Care

Updated on January 18, 2011

Anything government run is socialism. Socialism is bad.

Would it surprise you to know that we in America have “socialist” fire departments, “socialist” police departments, “socialist” Air Traffic Control and “socialist” Mail delivery? We have a “socialist” interstate highway system, a “socialist” military defense and “socialist” garbage pick up.

We don’t generally think of these things as “socialist” but each of these are government run systems that seem to work pretty well and provide for the common good of all the people. In each of these areas, the American people generally agree that it’s more efficient to have a single, government run entity than to have multiple, privately owned and operated systems.

These systems are government run because they represent the “common good”. That is, we the people believe it benefits us all to have a single government run system in these areas. Even though I may never have a fire in my home, it benefits me that my tax dollars go to put out other people’s fires, and I can relax knowing that the fire department is always there if I should ever need them.

For a moment, lets look at the Post Office. There is some competition with private companies like Fed Ex and UPS, but the Post office is always there as a base line, a competitive, government run option that you always have available to deliver your mail. You don’t have to use it, but its there if you need it.

Some people also thought that health care was a “common good” and that we could have a similar program for health insurance. There would still be private health insurance companies, but they would also have to compete with a public option to serve as a base line, something that is funded entirely by the premiums you pay, not tax dollars. If you didn’t like the thought of a government run health insurance, you could stick with your private insurance. Nothing else would change. Hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical companies and doctors offices would still be privately owned and run,

But insurance companies spent millions of dollars to convince us that a public option was a socialist scheme to take over the health care industry and kill your grandma. And some weak-minded people, upon hearing the word “socialist” went completely out of their minds.

Some of those millions of dollars from insurance companies went into the campaign chests of members of Congress to secure their opposition to a public option. Coincidentally, the members of Congress who received the most campaign money from insurance companies are the ones who most aggressively opposed it. Who'd a guessed?

Since the passage of the Health Care Reform Act, some people say we have a “socialist” health care system. They say the government has completely taken over one-sixth of the economy by taking over the health care system.

But what exactly has the government taken over? The insurance companies are still privately owned and operated. In fact, they stand to make huge profits from health care reform. Doctors are still free to work where they want. Almost all Clinics and hospitals are privately own and operated. The pharmaceutical companies are still privately owned and operated. So I have to ask, where is the Socialism? What has the government taken over?

Is it socialist to tell insurance companies they can no longer drop people when they get seriously ill?

Is it socialist to prevent insurance companies from denying insurance to people with pre-existing conditions?

Is it socialism to require insurance companies to pay for preventive care?

Is it socialism to give people more choices of where they can get insurance by setting up Insurance Exchanges where providers will have to compete for your business?

Far from being a “Socialist” health care system, the Health Care Reform Act creates greater competition and gives the power to make health care decisions back to the American people and not the insurance companies.


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    • Charles James profile image

      Charles James 6 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      Under capitalism no-one has an incentive to advertise preventitive health information.

      The British National Health Service advertises preventitive health messages, and we now have a healthier population for a lot less cost.

    • profile image

      Pam 6 years ago

      Paul - I couldn't agree more!

    • profile image

      Paul Davis 6 years ago

      I have friends who have recently moved out of a city and into a rural area and are having to pay a contract to have all of the things you've noted above (well, except mail of course) and they suddenly realized how important those gov't-run programs are. And guess what? The taxes they're not paying for living in town were less than paying the commercial rate for those services. I learned a lot about the importance of those socialist programs through the experience of my friend.

      To healthcare, I'd note that insurance companies have "bureaucrats", too. They work in a skyscraper in the city. And how was that building bought? With insurance premiums. And that company seeks to make a profit, while the gov't doesn't. Right away, it costs less.

      Turns out, gov't is more inefficient when it tries to outsource to private companies than when it just runs the service itself. Interesting....

    • nursepam profile image

      nursepam 6 years ago