On the Healthcare Conundrum

A Catch-22 indeed. One side states that everyone deserves healthcare provided by the government: Socialism. The other side uses unlimited funding through investment to create life saving technology and cures: Capitalism. Now before any of you get all hot and bothered and too angry to read on, take a deep breath, shut up and open your mind to listening to the “opposing” view point from your own political predilection.

First Socialism

There is undoubtedly a place for socialized programs in our country. First off, both sides need to understand something. Social programs can and do exist in capitalist societies. Adopting social programs does not mean we are changing over our whole economic system and are heading on a road toward communism. What it does mean is that our government, whom we are already paying taxes, uses the taxes on things that will benefit everyone. Not everyone is fiscally responsible, others are unable to earn enough even though they work as hard as they can, others still do not understand how to go through the necessary hoops to get and maintain proper programs to take care of themselves. NEWSFLASH not everyone is as smart as you are, and this is where the government can help. There are plenty of countries that are utilizing socialized medicine without burning holes in their budgets. They have efficient programs that are easily paid for through reasonable taxation. Think about how much money you spend on appointments, medicines, treatments and other health related expenses each year.  Chances are even with insurance you are paying more than most anyone else on the entire planet. And here in lies the problem. While folks think the private system is in their best interest it simply isn’t. If you applied all of the money you were spending on yourself, above what you are already paying in insurance we could have a similar socialist program which would take care of everyone. Thus why a socialized medical system is necessary.

Capitalism

Anyone who denies the powerful driving force of capitalism in progress simply needs to examine history. The American life is so advanced and comfortable due to capitalism. Every single one of us enjoys the prosperity that a free market system has allowed us. In fact most all of the countries with socialized medicine also enjoy the benefits of capitalist societies. Did you all read that? Capitalism and Socialism can exist together, and exist together in harmony. The underlying capitalist system is a driver of growth and socialism takes PART of that growth to help all the folks that can’t keep up in the extremely competitive environment. It is only responsible to help them.  Capitalism  allows for great bounds forward in technology and quality of life for everyone. We all live BETTER than kings did 100 years ago and it is due to the technological advances that we have achieved in a capitalist system. The free market allowed entrepreneurs to come up with ideas, find funding and create something brand new. This is how medical technology has advanced and we now think of healthcare as a right, and rightfully so we should.

This brings us to the real Catch-22. Why is it that healthcare is so expensive in the USA? Well this is the fault of capitalism. Companies spend billions of dollars experimenting and researching new cures and treatments. Many of them are failures. When they finally reach a break through they need to recoup their investment, thus astronomical drug prices. This is fair, they did the work and quite obviously someone on their deathbed will pay for it if they can, and many do. The progress is expensive but the progress is amazing. If we were a completely socialized country we could never make these advancements and the entire world would miss out on the advancements once the technology is more affordable through a competitive market, another stellar facet of capitalism. So we would not have amazing medical technology without capitalism. But there is a problem is this fully capitalist society, many people cannot afford to pay for these expensive break throughs.  So either they will die because they do not have the money to pay for it or they go into monumental amounts of debt to avoid death. This is a major problem. One that can be alleviated through a socialized program in healthcare. Everyone pays for the advancement. And no Mr. Conservative this does not mean your tax bill will go through the roof. It is achievable with modest tax increases actually. But not in our current healthcare system. Due to bi-partisan bickering the version of Obamacare that made it through is absolute garbage. A law requiring you to buy private health insurance is not socialism, and therefore all of the right wingers have no right to complain about it as such. A truly socialist program would offer coverage for all under a government program, and this is what we need to keep working toward. Obamacare is a good first step in this direction but it is hardly enough, and it has a long way to go.

To summarize

As I am sure I have used up every ounce of your economic attention span, here are the cliff notes:

Socialism can exist in Capitalist societies, it already does and it works well!

Capitalism drives progress but it leaves people behind

A government’s job is to make sure no one is left behind

Socialist programs do not hinder growth but rather redistribute part of it

If sharing some of the crazy amounts of money you make in a capitalist system is too much to ask maybe you should examine your spending habits and realize how selfish you are. If you think you hate capitalism maybe you take a look around at all the nice things it has given you and realize your ideas about socialism function better in a capitalist society. Now that I have successfully made both sides of the argument angry at me, realize I have nothing but love for both sides, we only need to figure out how to let them work together, just like we should.

Image of Adam Smith used from: http://www.business-superstar.com/words-of-wisdom/adam-smith-and-consumer-choice/

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