Socialize Health Care in the United States

Edited 2009-02-24 – A friend advised that I define exactly what I mean by “rich” so I added a note indicating it means anyone who makes more than $250,000/year.

I realize that I’m in a fairly small minority when I say this, but I am against socialized health care in the United States.  At least anymore than we already have.  Yes, we do have socialized health care in the United States.  It’s called Medicaid.  You have to apply for it, it’s a ton of paper work and proof of income type stuff but it does exist.  My wife was on it (before we got married) when she had her daughter and didn’t have a job at the time (or at least one that didn’t give medical benefits).

Is Socialized Health Care Better?

What most people want in socialized health care is programs similar to what Canada and France have in that they have mostly free doctor visits and low cost medications.  What most people in the United States do not know is that when it comes to major issues (like cancer) or major operations, socialized health care doesn’t help a whole lot.  In fact in Canada there are numerous complaints about the current healthcare system and things are not as rosy as people would have you believe

As you can see from the articles linked above, things are not as wonderful as those pushing for socialized healthcare here in the states what you to think.  In fact, there are numerous other records or people traveling from Canada to the United States to receive medical care (that they have to pay for out of pocket) and people being put on long waiting lists for surgeries in Canada.

Who’s Paying For It?

Another reason that socialize health care should be drastically questioned in the United States is because I want to know who’s going to pay for it?  The simple answer is “taxpayers” but it needs to go a little deeper than that.  Which taxpayers?  Most people would be happy to tax the “rich” further to pay for government programs of the “less fortunate” but I feel that would be a huge mistake.  For one thing the “rich” (annual income greater than $250,000/year) already pay the most in taxes of all the economic classes in the United States (in fact the “rich” pay 70% of all taxes collected by the government).  The smallest economic class pays the largest amount of all the taxes collected.  That seems odd to me.  So taxing them further to pay for socialized health care is just going to tick them off and they’ll leave.  But the poor and middle class will cry foul if their taxes go up but they cry for these kinds of programs.  That seems to me like a conflict of interest.  They want to services but they don’t want to be the ones to pay for them.  And those they want to pay for it don’t want to pay for it.

The cost is the largest hindrance to getting socialize health care but if no one wants to pay for it, then it becomes an issue.  Especially when people become forced to pay for it when they don’t want to and don’t feel they should have to.  And rich democrats who are pushing for this kind of program have been the center of attention the past few weeks because they didn’t pay their taxes.  I guess it’s no big deal to raise taxes when you aren’t paying them

The Current System

My other issue with pushing for socialized health care in the United States is that we already have a health care system in place for those that can’t afford it and really need it.  This current system however is not perfect and could stand to be overhauled.  Why are we pushing to add a government provided program when one already exists?  That seems to be a nice quick way to add more bloat to an already bloated system.  Why not overhaul the current system and make it better?  I’m sure the current Medicaid system can be improved tremendously.  I’m also positive that it could have it’s costs looked at and streamlined so that we could get more people that need to be on it onto the program and for the same amount of money.

Also with the current system, it’s bloated and slow.  Any government program is going to be bloated and slow.  If the current system is bad, what do you think will eventually happen to the new one?  It won’t stay shiny and new forever and it too will eventually become a bloated money sucking mess.

Question of Rights

Finally, my largest point is this, government provided health care is not (I repeat NOT) a right guaranteed to you by any government document.  Not the Constitution or the Bill of Rights.  The Constitution says you have the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” it does not say you are guaranteed happiness.  Also, there is nothing that says your government has to take care of you, especially the federal government.  There has been a lot of dilution of what we have rights to and what we do not have rights to as the centuries have progressed.  It just not really the government’s responsibility to provide you with healthcare.

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21 Responses to Socialize Health Care in the United States

  1. paul.amos.p says:

    Currently, we can purchase American produced medication by ordering it from Canada, more cheaply than we can buying direct here at home. This is a mess. It is going to require some painful honesty to get it ironed out. Our government should bargain for medications for us like Canada does.BTW – not only does our constitution NOT guarantee health care, it also does NOT require massive bailouts for irresponsible automakers or poorly run banks! But we do that anyway…go figure.

  2. Brad says:

    You say it's not the government's responsibility to provide health care. My response is that we are the government. The government is the people. If the people want the government to provide a service, then we tell our elected representatives to provide it. Plain and simple. And as far as who can pay for it…we all pay for it. Right now any business that provides health insurance is paying for it. any person who buys their own insurance pays for it. So what does it matter if the business pays the gov or a private provider? And as far as taxes go, those making over $250 have wined and dined on tax cuts for the past 29 years. Their wages have gone up tremendously. But the wages of the working class have stagnated, stayed the same. As a % of income, poor and middle pay a higher % than rich. This is why we need to increase the tax % of the rich. They can afford it.

  3. Michael Koby says:

    Brad,I'll give you the first part of your response. It is up to the citizens to dictate policy in a republic/democracy. However, I will remind you that just because the majority says it's okay and that's what they want, it is always right. Remember, for a nice chunk of U.S. history, the majority found slavery completely acceptable. But again, I agree that we the people should vote what and how our government protects and betters its citizens.However, I want to look more closely at your argument that taxing the rich is okay because “they can afford it” and that they “pay a lower % of income than the poor and middle classes” because I find that hard to believe. So using the 2008 tax tables and formulas in the 2008 1040 Instructions (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040.pdf) here is what I discovered. For reference I used the “Single” numbers on both sides of this. This just straight tax without any deductions, credits, etc.A person who had $250,000 of taxable income (which means they made MORE than $250k), pays $68,250 in taxes which is basically 27.3% of their taxable income. The average salary for a white household in 2007 was $54,000 (found on this table). At $54k/year that person pays $9,850 in taxes which is 18.2% of their income.Numbers don't lie, the lower income person pays a smaller percentage of their income to taxes. Again, this is not taking any credits, deductions, donations, etc into account. Both sides of this demonstration have the same access to those options. And yes, I realize that the rich folk do things to bring their taxes down by donating to charities, giving things away, gifting money, and so on. But tax laws limit how much a person can gift in a year and charitable donations only help so much on a person taxes. So even with all of that the rich person is still going to pay a higher percentage of tax because they made more.Just to further demonstrate my point, lets take someone who had $95,000 in taxable income. They'll pay $20,585 in taxes which is 21.6% of their taxable income. So the more you make the higher percentage of your income you pay in taxes.What a person can or cannot afford is completely subjective. And what you or I think a rich person can afford is probably a lot different than what they actually can afford (when you consider that most of America lives on credit).

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    I'll give you the first part of your response. It is up to the citizens to dictate policy in a republic/democracy. However, I will remind you that just because the majority says it's okay and that's what they want, it is always right. Remember, for a nice chunk of U.S. history, the majority found slavery completely acceptable. But again, I agree that we the people should vote what and how our government protects and betters its citizens.

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  12. I agree that we the people should vote what and how our government protects and betters its citizens

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  14. government program is going to be bloated and slow….

  15. michelle says:

    First, Medicaid coverage varies from state to state; and in many states many Americans are ineligible for Medicaid because they did not sit sufficiently below the poverty line. It's not enough to be poor in this country to qualify, you have to be destitute. Where do the rest of us fit in between the incredibly rich and incredibly poor? We have all the levels of middle class people, the higher and mid levels of lower income people: those who are not only below the poverty line but just above (the missing class); and now we have those high income people who can no longer afford any coverage either. No, we do NOT HAVE any health care programs in place for people who cannot afford. Our health care system today is profit based and profit driven: many doctors deny patients care, at the behest of the insurance company, because of their inability to pay; and many patients die because of it. I guarantee you that unless you are fortunate enough to work due to good health; and have a great paying job with excellent benefits that includes 100% health coverage; you will NOT be able to afford private health insurance. Most private health insurance have exorbitant premiums, co-pays, and deductible costs that 99.9% of people cannot afford on their own; that YOU cannot afford to pay on your own. Also, private coverage does not include prescriptions.Secondly, the politicians have socialized medicine. WE PAY their medical care, but they tell us we don't want socialized medicine. By the way, taxable income is income that is subject to tax, not guaranteed it will be taxed, which has worked for the rich who in many cases do not pay any taxes period. Those tax amounts you stated for each income level are not nearly as much as the costs of having NO INSURANCE. Plus, if our taxes were spent where they should be spend we would not be crying about our tax dollars. Regarding socialized medicine in other countries, I can guarantee you if the French government took away their peoples' National health care, we all would witness another French revolution. Lastly, the insurance companies dictate the quality and amount of health care you receive because their bottom line is profit.

  16. michelle says:

    I apologize for the spelling and grammatical errors

  17. Michael Koby says:

    You are correct, Medicaid coverage varies state to state. And you are also correct in stating that it is not a perfect system and doesn't help everyone. But in my original article I mention that Medicaid is not perfect. What I suggested in my original article is that instead of spending trillions of dollars on a NEW health care system, why not spend a lot less money and overall the existing system (Medicade). This would be both cheaper and more effective. Not to mention be ready a lot sooner than a new system would be.And the tax numbers I have had nothing to do with the actual discussion of socialized health care, other than that the previous commenter had stated that “The rich pay a lower percentage of their income in taxes” which I proved to be blatantly false, in 2 instances.Now, to look at your argument that “you have to have a good job” to get healthcare, There are a lot of people that would argue working at Wal-Mart is not a “good job” but Wal-Mart provides their full time employees (which at Wal-Mart is like 36 hours/week) with decent health coverage. My father-in-law worked at Wal-Mart for years and was able to provide decent health coverage to his entire family. Was it the best health coverage? No, but it was coverage. So 1) the phrase “good job” is relative and 2) your argument's logic is flawed. Another is example is that my friend runs a business where his only employee is himself, and he pays for his own health coverage for his family of 5. Yes it's expensive, but its 1) the cost of being in business for himself and 2) he passes that cost on to his customers.I want you to pay careful attention to that second point. If the government starts providing health care, the cost HAS to be passed on to someone. That's an economic fact. We do live in the real world here. The point I made above is that, with Obama's plan it will be “the rich” who get taxed more (who already pay 70% of all the taxes collected by our government), they are the ones least likely to use socialized healthcare. The people that will be using government provided health care won't see their taxes go up.I never said that the current system is not broken. But the fact remains that government provided health care already exists, regardless of it's state, it does exist. I'm simply arguing for spending less money (which means less tax), and fixing an existing system to work better and help more people. So, basically what I'm arguing for allows both sides to win.

  18. Erick says:

    Something I heard once said about our insurance system made the most sense to me and I propose it to you like this…”If you had an expense account that you paid $150 a month into and it allowed you to go to any restaurant within that system and feed your entire family for $10 a meal…would you eat at Taco Bell, Chili's or some fancy steak and lobster restaurant?”One of the problems with our system is that people didn't question what they pay for in medical care because they weren't paying for it. Well guess what? Now they're paying for it in expensive coverage, unaffordable healthcare service, etc because the prices of medical service have been artificially inflated due to having a “Sugar Daddy” system that you pay $25 and the insurance covers the other $75 of a $100 dr. visit for a sore throat (why $100…because the dr can get that from the insurance company and it helps him with his overhead…but more on that later).I'm not really sure why no one has thought to provide non-profit medical services. Charging a 35% profit margin above cost (just to build and grow the medical service field…not to line pockets of CEO's) for products and services could make a big difference. Then aspirin wouldn't cost $4 each.Also on the flip side of that coin…as a small business owner, I have to charge $50/hr and bill for 40 hours a week for my development services in order to bring home $58K a year for my wife and 3 kids to cover our bills (house, cars, food, etc). Reason being is because I have expenses to keep my business running like paying for my CPA to help me with taxes (cuz I'm NOT an accountant), my attorney's to make sure I'm following the law and to help me if I should have something happen that is out of my control. I have to pay for my phones, my internet, a portion of electricity, health care coverage, life insurance, disability insurance (I should have business insurance but I don't…can't afford another bill unless I raise my rates). Also when you factor in that I pay 15.3% in self employment taxes and 6.5% to TN Franchise/Excise tax, well you can see why I charge so much and bring home so little and a large hospital is going to do the same thing because of all the expenses they have (some imposed by our judicial and legislative system causing their own business/malpractice insurance to skyrocket).I'm with Michael on this one…a NEW system is not what we need unless we can prove that it would be more cost effective (just like you wouldn't buy a new car unless it cost more a month to fix your old one than to just make a new car payment). Instead we should be asking WHY and HOW. WHY is the system broken, WHY do services cost so much at a dr/hospital? HOW does a free clinic operate and provide just as good of a service as a family dr? HOW do we pay for a new system? If the super rich (the ones we'll tax to pay for a new system) category gets smaller because businesses go under because they can't afford the costs, then HOW do we meet our goals of paying for a new system?I believe we can do better than what is currently out there (both private and public healthcare) but I don't think that what anyone in Washington is proposing at this time is what is GOOD for America (and definitely not in this economy).

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