Health care for profit

In the rest of the civilized world, health care is not a profit-making venture. Oh, sure, doctors are well-paid, but your health decisions aren’t made based on money. While everyone else realized that making sure their citizens needed health care in the same way they needed fire departments, America moved in the opposite direction — and now we pay more for health care than anywhere else and don’t get any advantage from it.

Just look at this chart (click on it to make it bigger and easier to read) … you’d think with the amount of money we’re spending, we’d be the healthiest people ever. original But no, we have lower life expectancy and higher childhood deaths than any comparable country. Partially that’s because a ton of that money goes to insurance companies, who provide no health care whatsoever, and partially it’s because we don’t cover preventive care. Instead, the insurance companies only concentrate on treating you after you’re sick.

Capitalism does not solve everything. The market clearly does not solve everything. There are many examples of this, especially in the area of health care.

And that’s why I get so frustrated with people who say the government should stay out of health care. Are these people not paying attention? We’ve done that. It hasn’t worked. All the evidence is against you.

Mostly it’s just people who have this ridiculous libertarian view that all government is bad. If only the government got out of our lives, they think, we’d all live in a utopian paradise. This despite the fact that this has never happened in the history of the world and whenever these sorts of things are tried, we end up with an unhealthy and broke populace (like now) and with markets that collapse and go into recession every twenty years or so. Yet these idealists continue in their dream for a world that has never exist and never could.

Obamacare is not really socialism

With Obamacare, you are forced to buy insurance.

This was the plan supported by Republicans since Bob Dole was running for President. It’s the exact same plan Romney installed in Massachusetts that he bragged about until the GOP decided it was a bad idea. They originally thought it was a great idea, because it supported insurance companies and business. It promoted capitalism. It was the exact opposite of socialism, where the government provides the service.

Many of these same Republicans (well, at least the ones who have no morals about being completely inconsistent in their views) are now screaming against this terrible form of “socialism”.

Damn, I wish it was socialism. A “medicare for all” system would solve a ton of the problems Obamacare brings and allow us to better spread the costs over all Americans while at the same time getting rid of a middle-man (insurance companies) that provide no health care whatsoever. What a savings that would be.

But no. Obama caved in to the Republicans in order to get their vote and then didn’t get it anyway, which will be regarded as one of his administration’s biggest mistakes.

So go ahead and criticize Obamacare. (I certainly do; I wish it could be better.) But please — don’t look stupid by calling it “socialism”, OK?

(And now, a disclaimer: If you define socialism so broadly as to include any government regulation whatsoever, then Obamacare is socialism in the same way laws requiring you to get a license for your dog is socialism. But you and I both know that’s not what critics mean when they make that stupid argument.)

Get your terms right, you totalitarian fascist!

Too many people confuse political terms, and think that if they don’t agree with a politician, then that politician’s views are communistic and therefore undemocratic and so on.  Let’s try to simplify things.

There are two sets of terms to know:  economic and political.  A government has both.

Economic

Capitalism.  This is where the market decides and government stays out of it.  No minimum wage, no health inspections, no laws against discrimination, no regulations on business at all.  This doesn’t work, because you end up with the powerful running everything, destroying the economy, and keeping people in poverty.

Communism.  This is where the government runs business.  The idea is that we should all live together in peace and harmony and share everything, and the President earns the same amount as the guy who sweeps the street.  This also doesn’t work, because it completely destroys initiative and any reason to try to improve yourself.

Socialism.  This is where most countries are, where the government regulates business to prevent the abuses capitalism can bring, and provides many services (libraries, hospitals, parks, fire departments, social security, unemployment, etc.)  This is the tough balance to meet.  You don’t want to go too far in either direction, and most of the debate in the US is over how far to go.

Political

Democracy.  This is where the people decide, usually through representative democracy or republicanism.

Totalitarianism.  This is a dictatorship, whether individually controlled (North Korea) or committee controlled (China).  Once more, there are degrees here as well as various types (monarchy, fascism, oligarchy).  But the key thing they all have in common is that the decision-making power is not with the people.

What usually happens is that people confuse the economic with the political.  The Soviet Union was a communist country but was also a totalitarian country, and people started associating the two.  This is wrong.  You could have a democratic communist country.

It’s even more confusing when countries lie about themselves.  Just because you call yourself “the Democratic Republic of Vietnam” doesn’t mean you are a democratic republic, any more than China is the “people’s republic.” The Soviet Union was indeed a communist country, but it was a corrupt one because you know perfectly well that not everyone shared equally in that society.

Disclaimer:  This is a really quick and simple explanation and is meant to be a guideline and a start for conversation.