By Zach Foster
There has been an incredibly amount of outcry and mutual enmity bordering on hatred between opposing political schools of thought when it comes to the Health Care Reform Act passed last year by Congress under the guidance of President Obama. Those opposed to it, affectionately naming it “ObamaCare,” cite the socialist tendencies of this legislation as their basis for opposing it. It is true that the law is socialist in its nature, though not everyone understands why. The fact of the matter is that socialism and the health care industry are not mutually inclusive and have conflicting interests.
Let us explore the present differences between the public and private sector, as well as some key terminology. There is a difference between socialism and state welfarism—acts by the state to provide for the needs of the poor. Socialism is the complete regulation of industry and property by the state (or whatever governing body exists in the laughably utopian and purely theoretical socialist utopia). If the federal government had created a public health insurance option that is simply another brand of health insurance, owned and operated by the Department of Health and Human Services, meant to be in healthy competition with the various private sector insurance brands, it would most likely be patronized and utilized by the poor, i.e., citizens who cannot afford private sector insurance. That is an example of state welfarism. When used in moderation, state welfarism isn’t a bad thing. After all, there is nothing wrong with a government that makes provisions for the well being of its citizens in case of individual emergencies. Where the system goes wrong is when the large and inattentive government bureaucracy in state welfare permits (fails to detect) individual citizens who learn to prolong their dire circumstances and live off of government handouts. This is nothing but a drain on government funds and an unhealthy incentive for people to stop being productive (a phenomenon which has happened on a large scale under socialist republics).
Most citizens who go on unemployment or food stamps or apply for low-cost housing only do so in the short term, because they are honorable people who truly want to get back to work and provide their family with a high quality life, and this is alright. However, when the federal government intervenes often in industries and in the lives of citizens, it is not only socialist (because of the heavy regulation), it is also a revocation of personal liberty. When the federal government passed laws dramatically controlling the entire health insurance industry, it was performing socialistically. While the author does freely admit that there were many problems with various health care industries, such as setting unreasonably low ceilings for coverage, turning people away, listing every ailment under the sun as a non-covered “preexisting condition,” etc., it was not the federal government’s role to step in and make expensive demands on the industry whose implementation was to begin alarmingly soon. This will surely drive up prices for the insured citizens, who will now have to pay more. See the author’s article on the 9/11 Zadroga Bill for an explanation of how corporate prices rise.
Rather than take socialistic measures, the federal government (if its high-ranking self-appointed messiahs felt they truly needed to get involved) should have taken steps to insure greater competition and quality control in the industry.
Next: The effects of capitalism vs. socialism on health care; Cuba is NOT the model!