Thoughts on “Rally Against Socialized Healthcare”

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Many argue that since the 2008 Presidential Election, the Republican Party began its decline in American social legitimacy. What many politicians, talk show hosts, and average citizens ignore is that many Republicans, even prior to the Bush administration, have never really attached themselves to Republican principles. Furthermore, many Republicans, especially today, are ill-educated about many issues and where to stand when it comes to Republican principles. This isn’t the fault of the average voter; rather, this is the fault of our misleading public figureheads in the political arena.

Republicans on the Federal level have rarely actually minimized the role of the Federal government. For example, Herbert Hoover adopted highly socialist policies after the First Great Depression in 1929. President Eisenhower called himself a “social conservative” and a “liberal politician” during his campaign for the Presidency in 1952. President Richard Nixon took the United States completely off the gold standard during his administration, inevitably giving the Federal Reserve more power over inflating currency and distributing wealth around the US, yet another example of Republicans straying away from principle and increasing the size and role of the Federal Government. The Bush administration, needless to say, has increased taxes to pay for two overseas wars and proposed the enacted “Patriot Act” which allows the Federal Government to tap into the private lives of citizens.

The misleading guidance of the Republican Party applies locally as well.  A small group of local Republican leaders organized a “Rally Against Socialized Healthcare” on Sunday, November 15, 2009. Two things were done wrong on behalf of these officials. Primarily, the party never reached out to the Brooklyn Young Republicans for this rally. One would think that with failing elections, the youth of the party would be ideal for the future of the party. Nevertheless, I grant you the leadership of the Republican Party. But I digress. The second most important fault on behalf of these officials was their misleading banner. What passed in the House of Representatives was nothing near a “Socialized Healthcare” system. Any educated voter can tell the difference between a socialized healthcare system and nationalized insurance, or the Public Option. There are fundamental political differences in these policies and our very own elected officials are too blind to see the difference.

Ludwig Von Mises, the infamous free market economist, once stated that “the flowering of human society depends on two factors; the intellectual power of outstanding men to conceive sound, social and economic theories and the ability of these or other men to make these ideologies palatable to the majority.” Essentially, what Mises was offering was a simple paradox of the basics of democracy and republican government. In order for a voting system to work, the voters must be educated. But instead of educating the public, Brooklyn Republicans are not only jumping to conclusions, but are also rallying the same ignorant politics we have seen for decades under faulty Republican leadership. Let’s review the difference between Socialized Medicine and Obama’s Public Option.

There are several different healthcare models proposed by theorists and liberal governments around the world. In other words, “Socialized Healthcare” is too broad a term to rally a group against if we don’t even exactly know what role the government is playing in the healthcare system. One popular model used in our globalized world is the “Single-Payer” method; this is a real socialized healthcare system. Why? Because under this model, the government pools in money, usually through taxes, and then redistributes this money evenly to all health facilities in the country. We must understand that this system requires complete government control of all health-related facilities and personnel in order for this system to work. The United States is among some very few countries that do not have this form of healthcare. Another healthcare model is the “Fee-for-Service” method. In this model, individual practitioners and governments regulate prices and offer reimbursements. There are others, but at least you can see that there is a difference between government control of health and government paying for health. I’ll discuss the United States’ model later on.

What is important to understand when reviewing these models is that any socialized method requires government control or regulation of actual health facilities and doctors. Doctors receive a government paycheck, their hours are federally regulated, and government controls all aspects of the hospital equipment. President Obama’s “Public Option” in no way seizes control of any work hours or health facilities. It’s simply an insurance plan that the poor can opt into to pay for healthcare. Granted that this is a socialist move, this policy is still not Socialized Healthcare by nature nor by definition.

I can rant about the drawbacks of a “Public Option” for days, but this isn’t the debate here at the table. Instead, what we are seeing is our public officials misleading voters into thinking that the United States is falling under a “Socialized Healthcare” model. I wish these officials knew which model they were talking about because if they knew any better, their banner would read “Rally Against the Public Option.” In the United States we have had government paid for minimal healthcare since the 1960’s when Lyndon B. Johnson created, under his “Great Society,” Medicare and Medicaid to pay for healthcare for the poor and elderly. Nevertheless, even today, 65% of those insured in this country, pay into a “Private Healthcare” Model. This means that private insurance companies still play a vital role in paying for healthcare. No matter what the government is paying for, however, the government is still not controlling the way doctors do their jobs. This is important because it distinguished between a Socialized Healthcare model and a Public Option.

In countries like England, government practices true socialized healthcare because, for example, a government nurse inspects health in every home; this is mandatory government control over individual health. We obviously do not have this in the United States and our politicians are obviously misleading us. Republicans in this country need to stop focusing on the wrong issues. They need to stop harping over the notion that we are socializing healthcare when we are in fact socializing the paying methods. The less we and our legislators are educated about issues like this, the less of a chance we will gain any form of legitimacy in this country and in Congress. The sad part is, many Republicans are still electing or re-electing these misinformed tools of the system and then asking, “What are we doing wrong?” “Why is government still expanding?”

Government will stop expanding and infringing on our personal liberties when people–especially Republican leaders–realize that there are differences in certain policy. Their “cause” would be worth rallying for in countries like France or England where they actually have a Socialized Model. Their “cause” would also be worth fighting for if their local congressman, Michael McMahon, actually voted for the Public Option; but, he didn’t.

Personally, I don’t know what these politicians are doing, establishing a “rally” for something doesn’t really exist. I wish they cracked open a book or stopped watching Fox News all the time because they’re making our party look bad. I feel that true advocates of small government need a different voice in Brooklyn–true advocates who know what they are protesting.

Roy Antoun is County Committeeman in the 46th Assembly District of Brooklyn, New York. He welcomes feedback at [email protected]

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