Socialism, Healthcare reform, and Fear

I am trying to wrap my head around the fear that is being sounded across America and in Alabama about healthcare reform and socialism.  There have been town hall discussions on health care reform and people are shouting angrily not so much about health care reform but about socialism.  People have said their number one fear is not about health care reform but because they are afraid of Obama because he is a socialist.  WHAT? 

What is this about?  This doesn’t even make sense.   First off, Obama is not a socialist, not even close.  His health care reform is not a single payer system which is what socialist countries have.   And just what is so bad about socialism?  The countries that are socialist democracies last I knew were our strongest allies and friends in the world.  These countries tend to defend our most outrageous decisions like invading Iraq.   I mean they are our staunchest friends not enemies.  Friends can learn from friends.  Perhaps we could learn from them about how to better care for our citizens. 

These socialist countries  have better life expectancies than we do and lower infant mortality rates than we do.  Better than we do, the self-proclaimed greatest country in the world.   We are 50th in the world for life expectancy with an average of 78.1  Some country I haven’t even heard of, Macau, is number one with 84.36.  Singapore has the best infant mortality rate of 2.31 per 1,000 births.  We are 45 nations behind Singapore with 6.29 per 1,000 births.  Cuba has a better infant mortality rate than us. 

Why?  Maybe because all of their citizens regardless of income or station in life have access to health care.  Our current system of a free market health care system is not, I repeat, is not in our best interest.   It is in the best interest of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical industries.   We have missed the mark  on this one.  We have placed these industries on a higher value pedestal than the lives of our children and grandparents, even above our own lives.   That to me screams of idolatry. 

We have people being denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions, conditions that in order to live a full and productive life needs medical treatment.  They cannot afford the treatments and therefore are not treated and then they die an early death because of it. We have people with life threatening conditions being denied hospital care because they do not have insurance being sent to hospitals hours away that will take them. If we are to be afraid, be afraid of a country that allows, no wills its citizens to die than remain healthy and productive.  How screwed up is this thinking?   

We need health care reform.  I personally believe that the best answer to ensure that all Americans  regardless of income regardless of medical conditions need to have access to a single payer system.  It is the only system that I have seen that has resulted in increased longevity of people, decreased the infant mortality rate, and contained health care costs across the board.   But that is not what  Obama’s administration is advocating for.  He is advocating for a middle ground between what we currently have a free market system that has run amok and is crushing the backs of the American people and a single payer system.    Will it work? 

I don’t know.  But it is not something to fear.  It is something to get behind and work towards a solution.. so that our lives, the lives of our children and children’s children can be healthier and more productive. 

To quote FDR, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”  Fear is irrational and is usually based in rumors and innuendos and not in facts or reasonable thoughts. 

Wouldn’t we rather live in a country where we do not have to worry about how to pay to treat our diabetes or high blood pressure ? Or worry that our new employment site’s benefit package is not going to deny coverage for our pre-existing condition of high blood pressure?   Wouldn’t we rather know that doctors are going to be guiding our treatment plans rather than some insurance company that doesn’t know us and is more concerned with its bottom line of profit than our well -being?     

Isn’t this the country that we fought hard to protect so that we are free to live out our inalienable rights to  life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?  Shouldn’t these values be expressed consistently and equally across the board in how we govern and work in this country?   Blessings,

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3 Comments

  1. I was a Socialist. I helped reconstitute the party in Milwaukee in 1974 along with Frank Zeidler (former Mayor of Milwaukee). Carl Shier and the other Michael Harrington types around DSOC ended up in the Circles Obama later frequented. Who knows what Socialism is today. I like to think of myself as a sort of Tony Blair style Socialist.

    This debates is very little about Health Care and a whole lot about power and delegating a lot of power to centrally managed panels. Panels for evidenced based decision, a Commissioner for Health Care Choice, a panel to decide Benefit Packages, Health Care exchanges modeled after the Fed Reserve. A lot of power goes to the center.

    I first voted for McGovern in 72 because I favored what was then considered socialistic gurantteed income (“Demo Grants”). The little debated Wyden Bennet plan would give every American an 18k credit towards health insurance (a McGovern style Demo Grant to me) yet its being dismissed in favor of HR3200 which seems nothing more than Nixon style price controls slapped onto the health care industry to benefit Pharm industry (read Robert Reich yesterday), and Walmart who I expect will get a chunk of this plans administration.

    So who knows what’s socialism these days. I know where the power is going though and it’s not getting spread out to the people.

  2. I think people confuse socialism with communism and in many countries, the social democrat party is the one you really want to belong to. I think providing health care for all is a social justice issue that we as Americans must address.

  3. What? Tony Blair is even less of a socialist than Obama! And Obama is very far from being a socialist!


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