Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Why is Socialized Health Care Evil?

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?


Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

Cause that Negro muslim obama is gonna take my granma away and inject us all with micreechips.

Rob said...

The americaniZed spelling of socialiZed makes sense. But "Safe streats"?

Matt said...

Aargh! Yes, thank you for that. That's what I get for writing blogs straight into the html interface.
Now corrected ...

Sean the Blogonaut F.C.D. said...

good excuse err reason, might use that myself :)

Crystal Van Wieren said...

There is no excuse for ignorance. I've debated the health care issue with my brother. I said that public health care is no different than public schools or water sanitization, but for some reason, he thinks it is. He doesn't think health care is a right - he thinks it is a privilege. Which is funny, honestly, because he doesn't have insurance himself.

People are always eager to jump on the "this country is becoming too socialized" bandwagon because they don't truly understand what it means to be a "socialized" country - as you said, it's a throwback from the Cold War era. My brother's biggest argument was that the national health care system would be a federally controlled system, unlike the school and police systems (which are regulated by each state). I argued back that without the federal organizations (such as the FDA, FBI, CDC, and the thousand others) life would be very different - commerce would be difficult, interstate travel would be hazardous, and disease would be rampant. In the early 19th century, in the time of the true federation, just crossing the border into another state was a challenge - if for nothing more than the lack of regulations regarding interstate roads, let alone the multiple taxes forced upon someone trying to cross a particular state to get to another (for example, people trying to get the cotton from the south up to the factories in the north) as well as the hazards of crime because criminals could merely walk across to another state without extradition. This is just an example of how important federal agencies are and how they changed the way this country works.

Most people don't realize that the US was a very different country before the mid 20th century, and it is mainly due to the implementation of "socialized" federal government agencies and practices. Because there is little talk of US history other than the superficial, nationalistic "history" they teach in schools, most people forget that things really weren't that great for the majority of the past 230 years. It's only in the past 50 years that things started to get easier and more organized.

People are afraid of "socialism" invading the US because they don't understand the history of this country and because they don't understand the difference between "socialism" and "communism".