Summer of Socialized Medicine

by | Aug 26, 2009

Amid talk that the administration will re-name its plan for socialized medicine after the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and re-package the national health care campaign as an American tribute to a 47-year veteran of the U.S. Senate who persistently opposed capitalism, comes word that the President of the United States will deliver the eulogy […]

Amid talk that the administration will re-name its plan for socialized medicine after the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy and re-package the national health care campaign as an American tribute to a 47-year veteran of the U.S. Senate who persistently opposed capitalism, comes word that the President of the United States will deliver the eulogy for Kennedy, who died yesterday. This is an especially swift public announcement and a clear signal that the White House intends to use the senator’s death as a platform for re-launching its controversial and ominously undefined proposal for government-run medicine.

Watch for the White House to do precisely that and look for their biggest accomplices to be Republicans. Every major leader of the Grand Old Party (GOP)–Romney, Pawlenty, Gingrich, Palin, Huckabee, McCain–accepts the moral premise of socialized medicine, that health care is a right. Not one major Republican legislator has mounted an ethical challenge to the administration’s plan, which is the most practical and only serious grounds for opposition.

To the contrary, McCain urges compromise, Gingrich, who abandoned Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) in the 1994 Contract with America, supports government intervention, and the others, especially religionist Romney, who enacted a state-run health system when he was governor of Massachusetts, share the President’s philosophy that health care is a right. The case for capitalism is being made by the Ayn Rand Center, on the airwaves by Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, and by a grass-roots coalition of Americans in congressional offices, town halls, and Internet forums.

Sen. Kennedy understood the nature of the battle, which is why he incrementally but conclusively held out for what he once had within his grasp in his negotiations with the Nixon administration: economic fascism in medicine–an anti-capitalist system in which the medical profession, including the doctor, hospital, insurer, pharmaceutical business, and other producers, superficially operate as a “private” business while actually being controlled by the state. Kennedy, stung by the scandal of his actions at Chappaquiddick (which derailed his 1972 presidential candidacy), rejected the pragmatic President Nixon’s offer for de facto state-sponsored medicine.

Kennedy took the slower approach, carving an intricately complicated system (try reading his HMO Act or the subsequent acts creating PPOs) forcing Americans into a mongrel system of government dictates which conditionally allows for what amounts to socialism with a dollop of free market competition.

Forty years later, we are living in the system he created, marching toward totalitarianism in medicine. Unless Americans wake up, the nightmare lives on.

Scott Holleran's writing has been published in the Los Angeles Times, Classic Chicago, and The Advocate. The cultural fellow with Arts for LA interviewed the man who saved Salman Rushdie about his act of heroism and wrote the award-winning “Roberto Clemente in Retrospect” for Pittsburgh Quarterly. Scott Holleran lives in Southern California. Read his fiction at ShortStoriesByScottHolleran.substack.com and read his non-fiction at ScottHolleran.substack.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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