The health care debate in the US seems to be never-ending.
On one side we have Republicans loudly remonstrating against the evils of socialized medicine (US spelling deliberate), even though that's not what's being proposed. And on the other side we have the Democrats struggling just to articulate just what it is they're proposing.
While everyone seems to agree that the system is broken, no-one can agree on how to fix it.
The model proposed by Obama, which includes a “public option” of government-run health care to compete with the private insurance companies, seems sensible, so what is the Republicans' problem with it?
According to conservative journalist and Republican poster-boy Matthew Continetti it's because the public option is a slippery slope to socialized health care. This statement (made on last week's Real Time with Bill Maher) was left unquestioned, as if it's perfectly obvious that 'socialized health care' is a Bad Thing.
My question for US Republicans is this: why is this so? Apart from Cold War-derived cultural distaste for the word “socialized”, what's your justification for this view?
In the US you already have so many socialized institutions: defence force, police force … even your beloved fire-fighters.
These services are socialized because the benefits they provide are a group insurance against future events. It's not practical to price these services on an individual basis. No individual can assign a meaningful probability to whether, or to what extent, they will need to call on these services.
Education is also largely socialized because, like these other services, the advantage is not just realised by those who directly utilise it. Everyone benefits from an educated populace, just as everyone benefits from a defended country and safe streets.
So tell me please, all you US Republicans … why is health care any different?