Social Question

ro_in_motion's avatar

Conservatives say socialised medicine is bad. Is it?

Asked by ro_in_motion (2243points) April 19th, 2012

What is wrong with socialised healthcare? Can any moral society provide anything less? Why should the quality of my care depend on how much money I have? Can you really live with yourself while telling an out of work person that they don’t deserve to live?

Don’t forget: Members of Congress get free healthcare. I am unaware of any Conservatives that have turned it down.

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58 Answers

syz's avatar

Politicians are nothing if not hypocrites.

The word “socialism” has long been used as a bogeyman for the uneducated masses.

janbb's avatar

I agree with you. I think a society should provide some level of healthcare for all its citizens.

tom_g's avatar

In my opinion, we should feel humiliated that we do not have universal healthcare.

janbb's avatar

well^^we can see which side is awake this morning.

filmfann's avatar

I think health care should be a right, but paying for it is hard, mostly because of the lawsuits.
If we could stop all the lawsuits, and agree everyone gets health care (which is where most of the lawsuit money goes anyway) we might have a good solution.
As for me, I have Kaiser, and that is the model for socialized medicine. Unfortunately

tom_g's avatar

And in anticipation of people claiming that it would diminish the level of care, etc – I don’t give a sh*t if it did. I’m not interested in a healthcare system that works for some people and is a complete failure for everyone else. I’d rather have a mediocre system that provides fair and equal coverage.

thorninmud's avatar

I have lived in a country that has a single-payer system (France), and it was so vastly superior to the mess we have in the States. Americans have been subjected to such a carefully organized and persistent campaign of misinformation on this issue that it will, I’m sure, be studied and marveled at by many generations of future political scientists.

janbb's avatar

And @tom_g it often isn’t. My daughter-in-law gave birth in France three years ago and got absolutely excellent pre-natal care. I have been over there when doctors have made housecalls. Of course, in order to provide universal healthcare, people do have to be willing to pay (drum roll please) – taxes.

tedd's avatar

The fear conservatives have, is that if we moved to some form of “socialized” health care/single-payer/public-option/whatever… You would see a draw on limited medical resources, which would result in huge wait-lists, long lines at the ER, and people being subject to “panels” or rules/regulations that would limit their ability to get care/organs based on their perceived “value” to society.

The irony is that this is exactly the system we have in place now. In fact if anything it’s just a more expensive model, as we pay a ton more than the rest of the world for our health care.

In practice, the “socialized” health care options aren’t perfect (no option ever will be). But they’re far superior to this mess we have.

But unfortunately money is the controller of all things over here in the states. So long as health insurance companies and drug companies have piles of money to use in an effort to direct the argument and fuel the ignorant…. people will still see socialized health care as a bad thing.

SavoirFaire's avatar

The problem is that we really need to ask “bad for what exactly?” In many ways, this is a conflict that has little or nothing to do with healthcare per se. A conservative is going to say that universal healthcare is bad regardless of the results it produces because it necessarily produces them in the wrong way. No one thinks we should murder a healthy nobody to harvest his organs for transplant, even if we could save five important people that way. Conservatives see universal healthcare as merely a less extreme version of the same bad strategy.

This is not to say that they do not have doubts about whether such a system would increase the quality of healthcare. They do have doubts about that, and thus they leverage those doubts in their arguments against those who support universal healthcare. And this is only fair. If someone’s argument in favor of a policy is that it will deliver better results, then it is perfectly on point to raise doubts about that claim even if you think the heart of the matter is elsewhere. Still, I take it that the consequences are ultimately less important to conservatives than the principles involved.

tom_g's avatar

@janbb: “And @tom_g it often isn’t.”

Sorry. I didn’t mean to claiming that it is. I was just stating that even if I granted all kinds of incorrect premises about inferior healthcare, etc….it still wouldn’t matter. My support of universal healthcare is primarily an ethical one. Another benefit, from what I can see, is that it would actually improve things. But not relevant to my support of it.

janbb's avatar

Oh I was just expanding on your thoughts, not arguing. We’re on the exact same page.

SavoirFaire's avatar

Might as well take this opportunity to explain that I don’t agree with the reasoning I posted either. Just explaining where I think the real points of argument are.

janbb's avatar

@SavoirFaire Yes, I think the main argument against universal health care is probably largely philosophical; that it makes government bigger and allows it to intrude where it doesn’t belong. Also, not what I believe but hard to refute with statistics if that is the core belief.

wundayatta's avatar

Conservatives see any government run program as wasteful because there is no competition to keep it efficient. They see financial efficiency as being more important than people. You need people to be unable to afford health care if you are going to keep prices down. Otherwise the providers will keep on ratcheting up prices until some people can’t afford it. That’s the way private enterprise works.

The way conservatives see it, some people must suffer so that the rest of us may be better off. Poor people must suffer so that wealthier people can be better off. It’s the price you pay for an efficient economy.

They do not believe universal coverage is possible without opening the door to graft and theft and inefficiency. Perhaps poor people can be taken care of by charity. Let the churches do it.

Conservatives do not understand that sickness hurts healthy people, I don’t think. They don’t understand that the loss to the economy hurts them. In a public health sense, they don’t get that if you allow sick people, there are more diseases running around that could create epidemics.

Or maybe they do understand that, but don’t care. For them, ideology is paramount. Their theory of the economy is right, so it doesn’t matter how many people they hurt in the process of implementing the theory. Honestly, I think the only way it can work is if they refuse to see the interconnectedness of people. I think they ignore it on purpose because their theory is more important than people. It’s so stupid because they are actually hurting themselves as much as anyone else. There are none so blind as those who will not see.

Judi's avatar

I think lack of education has a lot to do with it. Although smart people are in both parties, the “Joe the Plumbers” of the world don’t know the difference between Socialism and Communisim. They just hear that “ism” and equate it with the enemies of the cold war.

Shippy's avatar

I agree and think of this often. To live with four broken teeth I know is minor, but I couldnt eat and lost 10kgs. Not to mention the pain. That is small though, my friend, a Head Sister at a Hospital, had to turn away a young girl whos throat had been slit. It’s not humane and reminds me that people do mostly only care if you pay them.

Keep_on_running's avatar

No. It’s worked perfectly well in other countries. What’s the big deal?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

I have lived in two countries that had socialized medicine, and it was wonderful (Canada and South Africa). Our medical care stinks. So many Americans go without medical care because of the cost. No other civilized country would let their citizens die because they can’t afford medical care.

the100thmonkey's avatar

Which suggests the question, @Skaggfacemutt: is the USA, by the implicit criterion, actually civilised?

I think it’s important to remember, in debates such as these, that even 150 years ago (an eye-blink in any non-human perspective) it was highly unusual for children to go to school, and even more unusual for them to go to school after the age of ten. Simply because we are direct beneficiaries of a system does not necessarily imply that that system is either necessary or just.

The argument must be made for free universal education and healthcare for all, for our entire lives. Now.

Coloma's avatar

I agree wholeheartedly with a U. health care system. I am in my early 50’s, self employed and my premiums have gone up over $150 a month in less than 3 years. I have no outstanding health issues, but even with my 70/30 policy and a 5k deductible I cannot afford all the yearly preventive testing. I had blood work done 2 years ago, the basics for my age and it still cost me $600 out of pocket applied to my deductible. It’s a total waste of money for me as it is.
I’m paying $300 a month for “care” I still can’t afford. I may very well be uninsured in the next few years…oh well, what to do? :-/

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I live in a democratic country whose economy has been recovering better from the financial crisis than the USA and we have Universal Healthcare and a very high standard of medical care. You don’t have to be rich to get great medical care. This odd country in called Canada.

ro_in_motion's avatar

I am only alive today thanks to living in the UK. Healthcare is awesome.

Coloma's avatar

I wonder how hard it is to export geese to another country? lol

flutherother's avatar

I’m not sure what they mean by ‘socialised medicine’. There is medicine and there is no medicine and that isn’t a difficult choice.

GracieT's avatar

I wonder when the rest of the US will wake up and realize how much better off the people in the world with socialized medicine are? I know that some people are mad, and I wonder what the tipping point will be and what the result will be.

jerv's avatar

@GracieT Well, many of them haven’t realized that there are any flaws in how we do things, some feel that those flaws are strengths, and some merely feel that since the rest of the world does something that the US must do the opposite in order to prove our superiority.

The tipping point… hard to say, but I predict that it will be caused by something that the overly religious supporters of trickle-up economics do that finally gets people to say, “I’m mad as Hell, and I’m not going to take it any more!”, and I seriously doubt it will be peaceful. Too much resentment and frustration for there to not be bloodshed, and it will probably escalate further after the resulting police/military crackdown.

ETpro's avatar

For propaganda purposes, the GOP has distorted the meaning of the word socialism to the point that, before we can answer this question, we need to clarify what socialism means. Socialism is an economic system where the government owns the means of production and distribution of the wealth. So universal healthcare and socialized medicine are two different thing.

Aside from the USA, all the developed nations and many in the third world have a universal healthcare system. In nearly all of these nations, healthcare delivers is not socialized, just the the healthcare insurance, which is a single-payer system, is provided by the government with taxpayer support. The doctors, clinics and hospitals all remain private enterprise, hence it is not socialized medicine. The UK does have a socialized medical care system, with hospitals and clinics owned by the government; and doctors and nurses being on the government payroll.

Our US healthcare system is the most expensive in the world. The cost per covered citizen is almost 2 times what the world’s next costliest system runs. The World Heath Organization rated healthcare systems around the world based on healthcare outcomes. They looked at life expectancy, deaths from preventable causes, deaths in childbirth and infant mortality. France is #1 in the world, with a cost per covered citizen almost half that of the US. We are at the very bottom of the developed world in healthcare outcomes at #37, just behind Costa Rica and just above Slovenia.

Now, if you are wealthy, you can BUY the best healthcare on Earth in America. But if you can’t bribe your way to the head of the line, lord help you if you’re sick in America. Nobody else is going to.

PurpleClouds's avatar

Are you aware of any Liberals who have turned it down?

rooeytoo's avatar

I am for government funded healthcare, but there are some interesting situations that arise from it. I hate going to the doctor so I don’t go until I have a list of ailments or needs. So when I went the first time in Australia, it was time for the pap smear, I had a plantars wart on my foot, and I wanted bloodwork done. I had fasted the night before so that blood could be drawn. When I arrived at the office, the only request that was met was the pap smear, they told me it would be “too much for me” to have all done on the same day. I had to go back 4 more times. Once for wart, once for blood to be drawn, once to hear results of pap smear (all okay, could have sent me a letter) and once to get blood work results (again all okay, letter would have sufficed). But the doc gets paid by the visit so they make you come back time and time again. And not all doctors “bulk bill” which means accept your health care card. With dental the wait is usually months, sometimes years.

So it is not the answer to all prayers. Wealthy people will always have access to a quality of care that is not supplied by the bulk billers. I don’t know of any system that will eliminate that. But if you need a doctor and have no money, there is always one to see, it just may not be the doctor you prefer or on your time schedule.

We also have private health care insurance to supplement. It costs us a little over 600 dollars per month for my husband and myself. There is no deductible but it only pays certain percentages of any procedure. But you do get to choose your own doctor.

Judi's avatar

@rooeytoo; Dental isn’t even on the table with the American health care plan which is crazy. When my dog was a puppy I asked the vet how long she would live. The doctor said “15 years if you take care of her teeth. ”
I figure, it’s probably pretty important for people to take care of their teeth as well. I can’t imagine having a tooth ache and not having the means to take care of it. America is just backwards.

Coloma's avatar

@Judi Yes, teeth are rather critical. :-D
I am lucky to have a great local dentist that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for treatments and I have nice teeth, no issues, yet. I dropped my dental last year when they, of course, dropped many of their discounts and raised their rates. haha
In the long run I am saving about $200 a year by paying for my exams and cleanings, etc. out of pocket.

jerv's avatar

@Coloma But those of us that spent a few years unable to afford even that and now need crowns (which insurance only covers 50% of up to a ridiculously low limit, then it’s 100% out of pocket) are fucked. I never thought $35–40k/year was poor, but with the high cost of healthcare and the low benefits of insurance, it actually kind of is.

Coloma's avatar

@jerv No arguments there and there is always the plastic if in dire straights. The dental credit card. haha
So far I have been blessed with good teeth and good heath, but it’s only a matter of time before all the parts start to fail, like a car that has over 100 thousand miles, things start going all at once.
Maybe just retire in some remote little primitive village somewhere with all the happy toothless natives.
I was watching a documentary about this tribe in the amazon, ya know, they looked pretty happy with toothless grandma smiling and laughing away as she roasted her grubs in a jungle leaf. You just have the tribal medicine man whip up some potent jungle root cocktail and let him pull your bad tooth lol

bkcunningham's avatar

How in the name of God did my parents survive paying out of pocket dental expenses for eight children? My parents weren’t rich by any stretch of your imagination. What changed? Did dentist get greedy and start charging more?

Coloma's avatar

@bkcunningham Wow! They must have had a little printing press in the basement. lol

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham Maybe that is why they were not rich? I mean, eight kids is expensive enough, but figure, a routing cleaning/exam can run around $100–150 easy, possibly more. Fillings are also about there, and if you need a crown, it’s around a grand per tooth.

When you are in the position where you have to burn a sick/vacation day because you have no gas to get to work since you used that money for rent, $100 is a bit of money for even 1 person. And while it does make sense to spend a little money now to save a lot later, good teeth mean little when you can’t buy food.

Welcome to 21st century America.

GracieT's avatar

@ETpro, 37th in the world?! Yay. :(. Let’s hear it for the USA! I usually like being able to say that I’m an American. But there are parts of America I would completely change if I could. Health careless would be on top of the list. I think calling heath care is a mIsnomer.

Coloma's avatar

Well bottom line, my attitude these days is you either get sick, live and make payments for the rest of your life, or you die, in which case, well…you’re dead. That’s really all there is to it.

Ron_C's avatar

The question should be “is corporate medicine, for profit moral?” Single payer medical insurance is the only fair and reasonable approach to medical care in a democratic country. There are certain things that should and must be held and run for the common good. Medicine, law enforcement, infrastructure, and the military are things that should never be privatized in a democratic country. No country, except for China, that I know about has socialized medicine. Most have a single payer system which pays private doctors and hospitals.

jerv's avatar

@Ron_C Anything other than the Capitalistic profit generator from Hell that we call a healthcare system is considered “socialized” by those that support our current “give all the money to the rich!” economic policies.

ETpro's avatar

@GracieT Yep. But we beat Slovenia. Of course, their system costs about ⅓rd of what the USA spends capita, and works about as well. In US dollars, the US spends 6,096 per capita to achieve #37. Slovenia spends 1,815 and is ranked #38. Number 1 ranked France spends $3,040 per capita.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@ETpro Exactly this. I have a big problem with the media doing such a horrid job of reporting. They love reporting the controversy but can’t report on the issue itself. As seen in this thread, absolutely no one supports the current health care system in America.

tom_g's avatar

@ro_in_motion: “As seen in this thread, absolutely no one supports the current health care system in America.”

Everything important has been said. But this is really just the strange one to me. So many people I talk to are so scared to try something new in fear of “breaking” what we have. But in the same breath, they will admit that our current health care is broken.

them: “What if single payer or socialized medicine failed?”

me: “What do you think of health care in the U.S. right now?”

them: “It’s a complete failure, of course.”


bkcunningham's avatar

If you took money completely out of the American healthcare system, how would you rank the system purely on quality of medical care?

janbb's avatar

@bkcunningham That’s a complicated question. Do you mean quality of care for the few or quality of care for the many?

ro_in_motion's avatar

@bkcunningham Well, that’s impossible to say, isn’t it? :)

Let’s assume that the same quality of health care that’s afforded the rich is available for everyone. It would still suck: Americans love punishing alcohol and drug users. When I moved here, I was amazed at how much better the system was here.

Likewise, mental health: Compared to America, it’s virtually impossible to end up on the streets. In America, there’s this horrid undercurrent from the right that being homeless is a ‘choice’.

There are other areas of social policy that I don’t think America is ready for. In the UK, transgender men can get both top and bottom surgery. Transgender women can get bottom surgery.

janbb's avatar

@ro_in_motion Transgender folk can get surgery on the National Health?

bkcunningham's avatar

@janbb, what prompted my question was the chart that was posted showing various countries around the world and the amount that is spent on healthcare.

So, I’m just curious what other people think of the quality of American healthcare minus the money factor. In your normal everyday life, in the situations you’ve encountered or are now encountering, take money out of the equation. What do you think about the health care system?

I’m not asking if you’d be able to obtain health services you are now not able to afford. That is obvious. I’m asking what you think about those medical services that are now obtainable or are not obtainable to you in the US.

I also ask this because I don’t see how the quality of overall healthcare would improve if you didn’t have to pay directly from your own pocket.

ro_in_motion's avatar

@janbb Yes. It’s awesome. Hormones are free too.

bkcunningham's avatar

@ro_in_motion, just to make sure I understand your answer: You were a US resident or lived in the US and then move to the UK? Your complaints go beyond the quality of healthcare available in the US to… what exactly?

ro_in_motion's avatar

I don’t understand your second question.

I am a citizen in both countries.

jerv's avatar

@bkcunningham I believe that @ETpro already covered that; #37 in the world when you go by outcomes like preventing preventable deaths, life expectancy, etcetera. We are paying far more and getting far less than people abroad who spend far less than we do. However, we also have richer doctors and (especially) insurance companies, which is what the US is all about. So long as the system generates huge profits for someone, it’s working as intended.

bkcunningham's avatar

If you take money out of the equation, @jerv, does the overall quality of healthcare become better?

tedd's avatar

@bkcunningham The charts you’re referring to (if they’re the same ones I read earlier in the thread) do not take money into account in the first place. The simply list the average medical care someone in that country receives. And despite the US having the best doctors/facilities/equipment/technology in the world…. we rank pretty miserably.

bkcunningham's avatar

@tedd, the chart I was referring to that got me thinking. It shows the per capita health expenditures on healthcare of various countries. But that isn’t my question.

So, I’m just curious what other people think of the quality of American healthcare minus the money factor. In your normal everyday life, in the situations you’ve encountered or are now encountering, take money out of the equation. What do you think about the health care system?

I’m not asking if you’d be able to obtain health services you are now not able to afford. That is obvious. I’m asking what you think about those medical services that are now obtainable or are not obtainable to you in the US.

I’m assuming from your response, you believe the US has the “best doctors/facilities/equipment/technology in the world.”

tedd's avatar

@bkcunningham Personally I am afforded some of the best healthcare in the world. But that is because I was fortunate enough to finish school and land a job that has a good healthcare plan. An overpriced plan, but a good one none the less. But the plan I have available to me is not nearly the same as someone in the top 5% of our economy, and someone in the bottom ~40%.

I guess what I’m trying to say/point out, is that your question doesn’t really work because there isn’t just one healthcare system in the US. There are are probably a dozen or so, the availability of which is based directly on how much money someone has. The best of those systems is easily the best singular healthcare system in the world. The worst of them ranks somewhere so low that it dragged our average ranking down to #37.

thorninmud's avatar

@bkcunningham The actual care, great as it may be, is only part of the picture. Money aside, there are still major problems that a society as advanced as ours should be beyond.

One is the question of people being forced out of the hospital as early as possible, for no other reason than that their insurance won’t pay for another day. Hospitalizations tend to be considerably longer under nationalized systems, and outcomes are measurably better as a result.

Then there’s the seemingly inevitable hassle and incompetence that attend the claims filling process. I’ve had several policies under some of the best-reputed insurers, and our family hasn’t had to deal with any extraordinary health issues, but the amount of time and stress we’ve spent dealing with the processing aftermath of even routine stuff is absolutely maddening. I can’t imagine what it must be like for people dealing with extreme and chronic situations. My experiences with nationalized healthcare were utterly hassle-free.

People have this idea that the more government gets involved in a process, the more chaotic and inefficient it becomes. That’s part of the mind game that the stakeholders in the status quo play. That certainly hasn’t been my experience.

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