More on Socialized Medicine


A while ago I tried to make the case for socialized medicine.  I pointed out other functions of local, state, and the federal government that are fully socialized (police and sheriffs departments, the military, state patrols, and medicare, among others) without any complaints from conservatives.  Since I wrote that piece, the Bush Administration has seen fit to buy out (socialize) several banks and holding companies in an attempt (the success of which is yet to be proven) to avoid a meltdown of the financial sector.


Yet there are still those for whom the idea of socialized medicine provokes a sort of hysteria that reminds me of nothing so much as the anti-communist idiocy of the McCarthy era in the fifties.


One of those entered a comment to my blog (I’m grateful that someone is reading these entries!) in which he likened socialized medicine to TennCare.  He insists that TennCare is a failed program, that it is riddled with fraud, and that we can expect a national program to be the same.


But TennCare is decidedly NOT a socialized program.  It is a welfare program.  A socialized program covers everyone, charges everyone a fee, and takes care of those who need care.  It is a program in which “I am my brother’s keeper”, and he is mine.  It is a program from which no one makes an unwarranted profit because the government collects from citizens only the dollars it needs to provide the necessary services.  And it is a program that provides a LOT of good jobs! 


TennCare was designed specifically to avoid harming the big insurance companies, and to cover only those individuals that for-profit insurance would not cover.  As to fraud in TennCare, no doubt there is some, but the internet is loaded with sites one can access to report fraud, and in any event, TennCare’s annual reports indicate that the program is doing a pretty good job of covering those Tennesseans it was designed to help.


It is my fondest hope, in writing in this space, that we Americans will reject unfounded fears and, instead, examine new (and old) ideas to discover their true value.  The American people taking responsibility for themselves, and for one another, is an idea that goes back into the dawn of our history.  Native Americans lived communally, and the Pilgrims could not have survived those first few years without sharing everything.  I believe that a sense of social responsibility can co-exist with the entrepreneurial sprit of the market place.  But each has its role to play, and health care ought not be left to the vagaries of the for-profit world.



One Response to “More on Socialized Medicine”

  1. Tom Shelton Says:

    Socialized medicine is defined by Merriam-Webster as “medical and hospital services for the members of a class or population administered by an organized group (as a state agency) and paid for from funds obtained usually by assessments, philanthropy, or taxation.

    TennCare fits this definition completely. TennCare does collect some premiums but for those who pay no premiums, the cost is allocated to every member of our state in the form of higher taxes. TennCare IS a socialized medical program. It is a model of what would be implemented on a national level. It is a total failure as it will eventually bankrupt our state. How is it hysteria to point out the obvious.

    The free market is the best hope we have for the best possible health care system. It is the best hope for every industry. Government involvement only increases inefficiency slows needed advances. Government is not the answer to all our problems. The government should return to the powers granted it in the Constitution and leave everything else alone.

    By the way, I am a Unicoi County resident.

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