Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Do you consider the American military healthcare system socialized medicine?

Asked by JLeslie (58948points) May 16th, 2019 from iPhone

When I tell people I grew up in socialized medicine, because my dad was in the uniformed services and we received all military benefits, some people say, “that’s not socialized medicine, that’s the military.” I really don’t understand what they mean. Isn’t our military run by our government? It was free, even medicine is free, doctors are salaried, they do watch costs, they even have preference to certain drugs (probably cheaper) similar to insurance companies. They run it often times similar to the HMO model of seeing a primary doctor first.

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16 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

It’s definitely single-payer healthcare.

Calling military medicine ‘socialized’ is a little bit of a stretch, however. Boiled down, it’s employer-supplied health care, similar to what you would get if you worked for GM or Target or Chase Bank. Except that in the case of the military, the insurance company hassles don’t exist because it’s single payer.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso GM and Target have their own hospitals and clinics with free care? I don’t think so. I realize part of military health you can see private doctors sometimes, especially if you live in a place without a military facility. I don’t think that’s 100% covered though, I don’t even remember how that part of it worked. Plus, the military is paid for by the federal budget. If that’s not the government I don’t know what is.

Edit: Your answer is helpful though. I’m not trying to argue.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JLeslie if you think back to the old company towns – maybe 60–70 years ago – where essentially the company was the town , then yes, the company did provide clinics and hospitals and doctors at free or little cost.

It wasn’t out of the kindness of their hearts, of course. It was to get their employess back to work as quickly as possible. the US medical care / insurance structure is comparatively a new thing.

look at this company towns

and this


JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso I’m aware of company towns. I grew up in, and live in, something similar. They aren’t company towns, but the developer owns the majority of everything around, a master planned community, including owning healthcare facilities. The healthcare isn’t free though.

I read through your Wikipedia page, and I didn’t see that the healthcare was free, but maybe I missed that. Was it? Is it now in any of those towns?

If the employer is the federal government, isn’t it then socialized medicine?

gondwanalon's avatar

FYI: The US Military health care system (TriCare and US Family Health Plan) is not free to retired military personnel. My wife and I retired from from the US Army and not only pay for TriCare/US Family Health Plan monthly, we’re required to buy Medicare Part B. And believe me, they pinch every penny.

zenvelo's avatar

It isn’t socialized medicine, because it has a pretty high barrier to entry (i.e., you have to be willing to go fight in a war and kill people indiscriminately).

But it is a model for how socialized/single payer medicine could work in the United States.

JLeslie's avatar

@gondwanalon My parents pay for insurance like you do (my dad is retired) but when they go to a military hospital or clinic it’s all free. So, are you saying it’s free because of the insurance? When I used to go to Navy I don’t think there was even a way to pay. My dad uses DOD and the VA also, and I think it’s the same at the VA, no way to pay. Although, I think things like hearing aids there is partial pay in some cases. My parents are out of the country, or I would ask them.

While in the service it was all free though, right?

@zenvelo I’ll go with model.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

No. It’s employer provided. It’s the same health care that teachers and cops get.
For a while I was on state insurance due to children + very low income. Best insurance ever! $0 out of pocket for anything.
However I don’t think employee insurance is the same.
Hey.. @jca2 could answer that one.

gondwanalon's avatar

@JLeslie As soon as I retired from the Army (age 44 in 1995] I had to start paying for TriCare (even though the contract that I signed when I enlisted says that when I retire I will be provided free health care for life).

Now (since I turned 65) I pay $1,200 per month for the TriCar/US Family Health Plan + Medicare Part B.

I chose TriCare’s US Family Health Plan because I get to choose the doctor and hospital that I want and I don’t have to go to a military hospital (but that option is also available to me.

I’ve found that the care that I get from select civilian hospitals and doctors to be far superior to military health care.

Health care is provided to active duty and their families at no cost to them.

JLeslie's avatar

$1,200 a month is a lot of money. Is there a deductible?

I preferred my military care, and my parents are overall very happy with their care, not that mistakes haven’t been made, they have. Admittedly, this was at Bethesda Naval and Walter Reed, which is probably betted than other military facilities. My dad uses the VA where I live in Florida and thinks it’s great. My uncle who is a doctor, a right winger, who was completely against socialized medicine, started using the VA several years ago and now agrees we should be socialized. He’s still right wing on other things though.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

@gondwanalon have you ever talked to a lawyer about that statement in your contract that you’ll continue to get free health care…but don’t?

jca2's avatar

I was googling and I didn’t read the entire article or listen to the podcast, yet, but I found this:

Dutchess_lll's avatar

I was asking what your experience is with government funded health insurance @jca2.

jca2's avatar

If you’re referring to Medicaid and Medicare, and what’s commonly known as “Obamacare” then I may know more than many but less than many. I work for the government and we would grant people Medicaid but I’m hardly an expert. As a government employee and union employee I know how our employee health insurance works but that’s not what’s known as government funded.

Dutchess_lll's avatar

Is military insurance government funded? What about Congress and Senate?

gondwanalon's avatar

During my 50’s I suffered form a-fib and was hospitalized many times. Our local Army hospital always put me in a large heart ward where getting any peace and quiet was not possible. One doctor told me to this is not a place to get sleep. There was very long waits to see a cardiologist (and they all had bad attitudes). Medical procedures had to go before a review board for approval which also took a long time.

Civilian hospitals have more cutting edge state of the art equipment and surgical techniques.Civilian hospitals have given me private rooms and also let me choose what I have to eat. They treat my like I’m someone special.

The $1,200 per month that I pay isn’t enough to deduct in my financial situation.

About me Army contract. I was told that the Army can’t afford to honor its commitment to me. I accept that and have never consulted an attorney about it.

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