January 29th, 2008
I’ve been thinking about this for awhile, so time to put down some thoughts.
First, what is socialized medicine? If we listen to the politicians that label health care as “socialized”, it seems to be “anything that is paid for by taxes and delivered free or cheaply to citizens.” Putting aside the question of whether that meets the academic definition of socialism for the moment, let’s look at things in the United States that are already socialized:
- K-12 education
- Fire fighters
- Public Libraries
- Airports and air traffic control
- Military defense and offense
That’s right. We trust the government with our children all day long for 13 years. For free!
Yet this is a country in which hospitals dump the homeless in the gutter for being unable to pay their bills. Even insured Americans find claims turned down for arbitrary reasons. People are afraid to change jobs for fear of losing health insurance.
Why is it bad to have the government pay for health care?
Here in the United States, our health care system is far from best in the world. It’s not even top 10. Or 20. Our system encourages minimizing health care, and doesn’t encourage preventative care.
I’d suggest that, in a democracy, it’s best to have the government pay for health care. That’s because, in a democracy, we are in control of the bureaucrats. If we wish to exercise common sense and pound into their heads that paying for preventative care makes good long-term sense, then we can do so at the ballot box.
So why the scare tactics about government being involved in health care?
Perhaps our real problem is that we have let government get out of our control? Perhaps we are too frightened of change to vote. Perhaps we’ve given up on a responsive government. Perhaps we think that the insurance companies and drug companies will never let us have a good health care system.
Yes, the lobbyists have a lot of power. But we have the power to remove it, and it’s high time we used it.
The audacity of Obama to have hope. To say that we can do better. When Hillary Clinton falls in line with the Republicans and accuses him of having “false hope”, effectively saying that we can’t do any better, then is she — or any Republicans — really a candidate of change? I think that all these accusations from conservatives and Hillary that Obama has “false hope” has finally convinced me that he’s the one to vote for. If everyone else claims that his ideas are too good, that his dreams too big, then I like him.
Oh, and you could substitute “college education” for “socialized medicine” everywhere in this article and get equally valid arguments.