August 21, 2011

Unfounded Health Care Opposition

If you were part of the opposition to health care reform in 2009 and 2010 then you only have yourself to blame if ultimately the Health Care Reform Act of 2010 falls short of the intended goal. You can’t honestly use examples of where the reform falls short when you were part of the reason it didn’t go far enough.

The opposition to health care reform told us that it is socialized medicine. Anyone that actually does some reading on the topic knows that the people who labeled health care reform as socialized medicine were not well-versed on the topic. They were simply in opposition due to political affiliation, ideological affiliation or in some cases simply because they were and are against any initiative of President Obama.

Why is it not socialized medicine? It’s quite simple actually. The reason it’s not socialized medicine (as passed in the 2010 bill) is because it simply deals with the finances and coverage of health care. It does not change the doctor-patient relationship and it certainly doesn’t get between a doctor and patient any more than your current company’s insurance plan and private¬†health care provider. The fact that the health care reform act didn’t change who finances health care – private, for-profit insurers – means that it only enables the current market based system to add more customers and make more profit.

What are true examples of socialized medicine? We have them in this country now. The financing and care provided by the Veterans Administration (VA) and the financing and care provided by Medicare for everyone 65 and over. Those are true examples of what one could call socialized medicine already in-place in this country. Both of those services poll very high and nobody wants to see them changed in any significant way. If the biggest argument against health care reform was that it is socialized medicine why do we then offer that socialized medicine to our veterans and all senior citizens 65 and older?

But I hear you saying, “but Medicare is not sustainable and is going to run out of money inside the next decade”. Sure, Medicare does have fiscal problems there is no doubt about it. It’s hard to support a high-risk insurance system like Medicare and keep it fiscally sound. I say its high-risk because it insures only those who are most likely to need frequent health care services, senior citizens. The most obvious solution to this problem short of gutting the current program is to extend Medicare to all citizens or what you’ve probably heard it called, Medicare for all. You turn a high-risk pool into a universal pool that covers everyone in the country, low-risk to high-risk. Everybody pays into this new Medicare for all system instead of paying private health care insurance companies. Since many young people use health care services infrequently this helps make the entire pool fiscally sound. The young support the old – but everybody pays into the system while they are working – and that continues to roll from generation to generation.

The Health Care Reform Act of 2010 doesn’t even have a public option to compete against private insurance companies. It really is a gift to the private insurance industry because it guarantees – due to the individual mandate – that they will have millions of new customers. Health care reform didn’t go far enough and therefore needs to be expanded on over the next years and decades if we really want to tackle one of the biggest contributors to our national debt, health care.

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  • http://leftcall.com David K. Sutton

    Addendum: In a pure sense it could be argued that even Medicare is not socialized medicine because it only deals with the financing side of health care and not the care side. The government is the single payer but you still see your non-government doctor. The VA, on the other hand, is truly socialized medicine because the government is the single payer and also employs the doctors and runs the hospitals. This clarification only serves to further validate my main point that the health care reform of 2010 is far from socialized medicine.