Sunday, August 12, 2007

Socialized medicine

Someone asked me of my opinion of socialized medicine. Of course, I gave it. ;-)

I think that the concept of socialized medicine is like the t-shirt that says, "One Size Fits All". Of course, we all know that that's impossible; otherwise that same shirt would fit anyone from a 3 year old toddler to a 6 foot 7, 350 lb. man. Socialized medicine is the very same way: It assumes that one national health plan can work for everybody. Usually, countries like Canada, France, England, and Cuba are cited.

However, I think that a federal health program (FHP from here on) - aka socialized medicine - would fail, because it assumes that what works in Rhode Island will work in Texas, and we all know that Rhode Island and Texas couldn't be more different - so why would we assume that that Rhode Islanders and Texans can wear the same "One Size Fits All" t-shirt? This idea only benefits those that favor an Orwellian "Big Brother" concept in which all power is concentrated in a few hands. The U.S. was partially founded to keep power FROM being concentrated in a few hands.

This does not mean, though, that I am against the idea of health insurance for all. The problem with a FHP is that it's thinking too big. Socialized medicine ideally should not go beyond the state level. This is because the states have a better idea of what its citizens need in the way of health coverage than the federal government does. So if New York and California want socialized medicine and all the trappings, then let the citizens of those respective states pay for it. If Texas or Michigan want to let private HMOs handle it, then so be it. They could require, though, that the private HMOs cover EVERYBODY.

Thus, each state can be free to experiment with different health insurance programs to see what works best. This is much, much better than an imposed FHP in which ALL states must bear the burden of any flaws of whatever FHP that the federal government decides to adopt. With state-level programs, only those respective states would suffer the flaws of their respective programs.

But there would still be a role for the federal government: They can play the role of watchdog, ready to come down, for instance, on private HMOs when they fail to live up to promises, or a state when it falters on its insurance programs. In essence, the feds can be a sort of referee. In order for any of this to happen, though, we all really need to pressure our representatives into looking in that direction. Not an easy task, to be sure, but at it's said - nothing worthwhile comes easy.

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