Thursday, November 5, 2009

What Would Jesus Do? He'd Tell the Truth About Socialism!

Somebody with a good sense of humor put me on a mailing list for the Christian Seniors Association. I admit the Christian part, but I’m decades from MCL cafeteria as my mainstay. Still, the mailing intrigued me because it showed how disingenuous people can be with labels if it helps their cause.

People think lawyers play word games to win arguments on technicalities. More times than not, lawyers just care more than anybody about definitions. Lawyers understand that the terms frame a debate, and only through agreement on terms can we compare similar concepts.

The CSA writes: “...the answer to the high-cost (sic) of health care is not Socialism – which is what President Obama and AARP are rushing to give us.”

CSA need to go back and watch Matlock, and it needs to take a good portion of the Republican Party with it. Doesn’t anybody know what socialism is? If not, it’s a monopoly created by government ownership of the means of production. In the context of medical care, it means that the government employs all the staff, including the physicians, and owns all the hospitals and treatment centers. Great Britain, which has a national health service, has socialized medicine. So does the United States military.

(As an aside, if government-run medical care is so terrible, why hasn’t the Republican Party dismantled the V.A. and agreed to provide top-of-the-line private health insurance for all service members to use with whatever physician they choose? Are Democrats right in their criticism that Republicans don’t really care about veterans except when they're on the battlefield, or are Republicans wrong about how terrible government-run healthcare is? You tell me).

But I digress. Can someone point to any page in any Democratic healthcare bill that says the government will do anything but pay for medical care? If not, then please pipe down about “socialized medicine,” “nationalized medicine,” and “government-run healthcare” because you’re being absolutely disingenuous. What President Obama is proposing is a system under which the government pays the bills but private entities provide the services and private contractors do the administration, just like with Medicare.

I have not yet found a member of Congress who has publicly called Medicare “socialism.” Have any of you? Name the Republican elected official who wants to stop this horrendous "socialist" experiment called Medicare by cutting its benefits even one dollar.

Now, do not misunderstand. Critics are free to contend that an Obamacare system redistributes wealth. They can call Obama Robinhood. They can say his system will be less efficient than our current system, will cost more in taxes, or will not be as effective in controlling costs. But if you use a phrase like “socialism” to describe Obamacare, you’re showing your ignorance and desperation. You muddy a clear definition to give people the impression that President Obama will turn us into Cuba or North Korea (whose dictatorial regimes are repeatedly invoked in the mailing).

I was also surprised to learn that millions are being killed by socialized medicine, according to the CSA. There is no attribution for this statistic, probably because most industrialized countries, whether they actually do have socialized or nationalized medicine or single-payer systems have better health outcomes than we do, even though we pay more for medical care per capita than any country in the world. The CSA also doesn't tell us how many have died because they couldn't afford medical care, so they passed on diagnostic tests.

Not familiar with CSA? I wasn’t either, but they claim they will have a million members before the year ends, and its mission is to “reverse the ACLU’s 40-year war on Christian and lobby Congress and other government agencies for laws and policies that will strengthen the traditional family and reinforce (instead of undermine) the traditional moral and religious values that made America great.”

(Thank God CSA added that parenthesis because I would have had no idea what “undermine” meant otherwise, as I am exceedingly stupid).

What does healthcare have to do with the ACLU? Who knows, but CSA is intent on countering the "ultra-left wing and socialist AARP." Who knew that the last bastion of socialism was the Old Country Buffet?

My favorite part of the mailing, though, is this line relating to an enclosed survey:

“P.S. Please don’t spend too much time thinking about each question on your survey. Your first instinctive response to each question will be the most accurate for measuring true public opinion.”

Of course, thinking too much is bad! Such contemplation might accidentally prompt some Christian seniors to wonder what Jesus, a man who healed every single person he encountered without cost (and who said render unto Caesar’s those things that are Caesar’s), would do were he president.

They wouldn’t like the answer.



Eclecticvibe said...

One disagreement. Obamacare is NOT single-payer health care. I wish it were, but as planned there will still be several payers in the system. Only the people who cannot afford healthcare on their own , or who's employer doesn't offer healthcare, would be able to take advantage of the public insurance option. A true single-payer system has been introduced by Andre Carson among others, but it is NOT what is being supported by Obama or the Congressional leadership. Single-payer healthcare has never been seriously on the table since these talks began.

Finally, if universal single-payer healthcare were to be enacted it still would not be socialized medicine. It would likely be socialized health insurance, but the rest of the medical system would still remain private. To me socialized medicine means that the public owns the hospitals, doctors' offices, etc...

iPOPA said...

Eclecticvibe: You are right, sir. I got so far ahead of myself. There would be many streams of payers, but the government would have the ability to use its size and clout to negotiate rates with providers, so it would be better than the current system. To be painfully objective to myself, if I'm going to chide for mislabeled, I should probably ensure I don't do it.

iPOPA said...

Wait, did I just assume a gender for an "unknown" commentor? Man, I shouldn't type this early.

iPOPA said...

Okay, I looked at your profile because I thought it was you, but I couldn't remember for sure. Phew! Not my day.