Monday, October 08, 2007

'Socialized Medicine' Quackery

Ezekiel J. Emanuel over at WaPo has a fine article about snake oil salesmen who want to tell you the US is flirting with "socialized medicine" because those words scare people.

He makes the cogent point Americans already embrace socialism in police and fire protection, which is true.

In some places, socialism works quite well. I'm not in favor of wholesale implementation, but it seems a perfect fit when it comes to health care and particularly when it comes to needy children.
To the extent that any health insurance scheme involves spreading among members of society the financial risk of getting sick, all insurance "socializes" the risk. This is, of course, not what people mean when they level charges of "socialized medicine." This term is never used in reference to police protection, fire departments or highways -- all of which are provided by government.


It is absurd to call an expansion of government payments for health care in the existing private delivery system socialized medicine. Politics may be full of hype, exaggeration or partisan bickering, but there should be no place for overt deception. A serious debate about whether and how to reform the American health-care system requires that we eliminate comments whose only purpose is to mischaracterize and misinform.

Those who invoke the specter of "socialized medicine" should answer this question: Do you think the government should help fund medical care for those who cannot afford it, just as it funds education for children whose parents cannot afford to educate them? If not, say so explicitly and justify your position. But, please, spare us the derogatory language.

Just examine the facts and ask yourself what is best. If you think being gouged by insurance companies is fun, then tell your Congress critter you don't want SCHIPS, Medicare, Medicade. Tell them you're perfectly comfortable paying higher and higher premiums, whether directly or through your employer's withholding that raise you want.

Then go to the slums in your area and tell the parents there you are content and not concerned with helping their children. If you get out alive you'll be lucky.

There are two huge priorities*, to my way of thinking, for any government: make sure your people aren't starving and make sure they can get medical care. This is particularly true for the US.

One needn't look outside the US to find people living in third-world conditions. Its appalling.

I'll stop here before I begin really ranting about money for munitions to kill innocents abroad, but none for the American people.

* There are others such as fire and police protection, but they are provided for the wealthy too, so they get top priority.

Via WaPo.



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