Saturday, January 22, 2011

If This Is Socialism, Give Me A Double Dose

When the right wing claims that the Affordable Care Act is a government takeover of health care, they're wrong. When they argue that it will add to the deficit, they're wrong again. And when they pontificate that it represents "European-style socialism," they're wrong again.

But is European-style socialism necessarily a bad thing? Every country in Western Europe operates on the basis of some form of democratic capitalism. Seven of those nations -- Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the four Scandinavian countries -- have socialized medicine: Their health care systems are government-owned and -operated. If the health care systems of these seven countries represent what the paranoid right calls "creeping socialism," then socialism is moving at a very slow creep indeed: Britain socialized medicine just after World War II and it doesn't appear to have infected the rest of its economy.

Rather than signifying anything ideological, it's more likely that those nations drew a pragmatic conclusion regarding health care: That the profit motive underlying capitalism could not deliver quality, economically efficient health care on an equal basis to the population at large.

Regarding efficiency, they appear to have been right: Not only can each country boast economically efficient delivery of care, they can claim it to  the same degree. Insurance-based models range from very efficient to less efficient, but the single-payer systems rate roughly in the upper center of the group of 25 wealthy economies.

9 comments:

tnlib said...

I doubt that most of the people yelling "socialism" have a clue as to what it really means. Boehner and McConnell have repeated the myth that the U.S. has the best HC in the world so many times that people actually believe them.

Roy said...

I'm with tnlib - the people screaming "SOCIALISM" are the ones who have no idea what real socialism is; their definition of the term is anything they don't like. Obviously they all slept through their 9th grade civics classes.

Steven said...

I'm with everyone on this. EVERY industrialized nation has some form of 'socialism'. We can't do without it. Nowadays, whenever I hear some local wingnut shout 'Socialism', I ask them for a definition...please. If they can come up with one, I point out its similarity to institutions revered by our Republic...

Jerry Critter said...

When profit is part of the business plan, it becomes the driving force. When profit and health care are combined, the people, both the health care receiver and the health care deliverer, will become secondary.

Our health care is the world's most expensive because of the profit motive that is embedded within it, not because it is the best.

Darlene said...

The irony of the rant against socialized medicine is that we DO have socialized medicine. It's the Veterans Administration Health Care System and it is the most efficient and cost effective system in the U. S.

It saves money and no veteran is denied coverage.

TaraDharma said...

Whenever did those idiots allow facts to get in the way of their ranting? The factual evidence is overwhelming to support ACA, in fact the evidence is pointing to a much more radical change in our system of health care delivery.

Facts? Bah. I got yer facts, right here.

Foxessa said...

It was also a counter to and influenced by the communists both within and without, who were perceived by the ruling power structures everywhere as a real threat, via the Soviet Union.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union as a world power counter to the unchecked capitalism, any and all public social programs are under attack. Civil Rights in this country too, were heavily promoted to keep 'the blacks' from going communist.

Love, c.

K. said...

Darlene, someone left a comment on MSNBC complaining about the low premiums paid by veterans through the Tricare plan. I wrote "Good point. Let's give it to everyone."

The kicker on this issue is that the wingnuts are all positive they know what socialism is and that they are positive that it's an anti-American ideology. Of course, they're so ideologically driven themselves that it never occurs to them that there might be a pragmatic side to political and economic decision-making.

injaynesworld said...

There's a movement to create a single payer system here in California. I sure hope it succeeds because Aetna just raised my rates again. So much for "affordable" health care. Give me "socialism" any day.