Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Opposed to socialism? Why stop with just opposing the public option in health care?

The reality is, some things need to be socialized, and others not. The trick in a free society is to figure out which should, and which shouldn't.

HT: Hazel Rubinstein.


Blue Devil Knight said...

This is a great way to put it.

Most people don't realize that we already have a socialist model when it comes to schools, military, and law enforcement. Why should I pay my taxes so that so-and-so's house won't burn down? Why should I play taxes so that your kid can go to school until he is 16? Why should I pay taxes so that same child doesn't die of cancer?

Anonymous said...

Well, there are some libertarian types who think nothing should be socialized, if by 'socialized' we mean 'publicly owned and administered'. I can't for the life of me figure out why doctor and hospital services should be publicly owned and administered though, or why it should be done nationally as opposed to state-by-state or even more locally than that.

Mike Darus said...

Why is it so hard to talk sanely about this issue? The rant about socialism tends to be name-calling by placing a lable on an idea. It leads to misunderstanding like the Anon post who thinks that there is a proposal for hospitals to be publicly owned. This is not accurate. The public option only is for insurance, not doctors and hospitals.

The problem is under the current system, you insurance has a lot to say about your care. If your insurance company refuses to cover a prescription or procedure, you have the theoretical option to pay for it yourself, but the expense is likely greater than your resources. We tend to allow our insurance company to control our care because of our mindset of depending on insurance to fund our care. I am undecided about whether the government or my insurance company will make better decisions about what care I should receive. Neither one has my best interest in mind. If I had a choice between no insurance and government provided insurance, I would chose the latter.

When government enters an industry as a competitor to private business, there is a legitimate concern. At first it seems the if the big corporate salaries and profits are elminiated, the governemnt can do the job for less. But the reality is likely that the rates are necessary to cover costs. The government program will also attract those with little ability to pay premiums and high claims. If the government program is priced to entice employers and individuals away from private insurance it will be more successful in attracting a healthy pool of premium payors but that is the socialism that may be dangerous. Do we dismantle an industry?

Victor Reppert said...

Some people, of course, are not in a position to get private insurance because their employers don't provide it and they can't afford it.

Victor Reppert said...

What I am trying to bring out is the fact that you can't hitch this discussion to a wholesale discussion of socialism vs. capitalism. It is a retail problem, should the government be the provider of this service or that.

Mark Frank said...

It is interesting watching this debate from here in the UK. Mostly because of the jaw-dropping untruths (lies?) about the NHS.

A couple of comments. Mike writes:

At first it seems the if the big corporate salaries and profits are elminiated, the governemnt can do the job for less. But the reality is likely that the rates are necessary to cover costs.

The evidence is that the US system, while effective, is two or three times costlier than alternatives which deliver very similar levels of service. The alternatives vary in way the public sector is involved. But I am sure you all know that.

Developments in health care will mean an insurance based model cannot continue. You have to find an alternative. Indeed you already have legislation which stops it being purely insurance based e.g. almost all states forbid the use of genetic information in assessing premiums. Within a few years an individual will be able to get a genetic screening for a few hundred dollars which will predict their risk of serious disease in the future with some accuracy. How is an insurance model going to cope with that?

Anonymous said...

Bob Prokop says:

The name calling over Socialism has never bothered me, as I have been a card carrying Socialist for about as long as I can remember (or at least as far back as about 1970 or so). So call away! I'll gladly accept the compliment.

Shackleman said...

This bit I'm hearing on the news that a public option would remove my "free choice" is laughable. I have one employer who offers one health care option. Where's my choice in that?

Pay a given amount to this given insurance company or get nothing and like it.

Further, that company has a list of doctors I can see. If I want to see a doctor not on the list the costs quickly surpass my resources, effectively eliminating from me choice in the matter.

If my insurance company chooses not to cover me for some reason there's hardly anything I can do about it. Where's the choice in that?

No, the "choice" argument is a red-herring. As is the "Socialism" arguments, and all the others.

Methinks that the *real* issue here is twofold. One is good old fashioned greed laced with bigotry. The Haves simply do not want to be forced to pay for the Have-nots. Especially when the "Have-nots" are often "Those People" (choose your favorite epithet).

The other is good old fashioned distrust of government. Some simply don't trust the government will do right by our tax dollars and distribute it responsibly, ethically, and equitably (a fair concern in my view).

As for greed and bigotry: shame on them.

As for distrust: it seems to me *most* people, when pressed, fully trust (and are even thankful for) their government when they need to use Medicare. And in fact, *most* people, by my estimates would quite literally die without it since they couldn't afford the care they need when they reach old age.

A staunch conservative coworker of mine vehemently opposes this "Socialized Medicine" as he calls it. He considers it evil and compares it to Nazism. Of course, his mother has only now begun to recover from a year-long, life-threatening ordeal, complete with month-long hospital stays, a dozen surgeries, 20 prescription pills, etc, paid mostly through that evil "Socialized Medicine" program known as Medicare, without which no one in their family could pay for all the care she received.