Monday, December 1, 2008

New money for health care is socialism

The National Center for Policy Analysis is a right-wing think tank which is worried about such things as how regulating emissions to fight global warming will raise energy prices and that the United States is becoming socialistic.

One of its so-called "experts," Dr. John Goodman, also believes that universal health care plans put forth by "liberals" in Congress are bad, bad, bad. Goodman says these plans will "not ... expand health care because it's difficult to insure the uninsured with new money you don't have."

Goodman, like so many on the right, sets up a straw man and then proceeds to knock it down. The straw man is this: We are going to have a "rationing problem." "[T]here is a common pattern among all the health care proposals coming from the left: they envision expanding Medicaid and lowering the age of eligibility for Medicare.

"What that means is putting millions of people into health plans that pay below market rates. And if you pay below market rates, then it's going to be hard for them to get health care. These are going to be the patients the doctors want to see last at the end of the day. We already have a rationing problem in Medicaid; we're beginning to see one in Medicare."

Now, do you think this rightwinger is really concerned about patients who don't get to see good ol' Dr. Stranglove until the end of the day? Nah. The real problem, which Goodman ignores, isn't so much that people paying "below market rates" are going to have a hard time getting health care, it's that we've got millions of people (including children) who have no health care whatsoever.

Furthermore, the problem of "paying below market rates" which Goodman claims will create a "rationing problem" is a financial one that can be conquered by the right health care plan.

But that's exactly what worries Dr. Goodman. He doesn't want to use any "new" government money as that would somehow involve the government too deeply in the health care bizness. Money already in the system is fair game, though, and that's why he thinks John McCain's plan of dividing up $250 billion in tax subsidies and giving everyone the same amount is great. He also supports Mitt Romney's plan to take "all the money the government is spending on free care and [use] it to subsidize private insurance."

Thus, it becomes clear the issue isn't so much money as the philosophical objection to "socialized" medicine. And Goodman doesn't want to use any "new" money we don't have to insure the uninsured. That would be "socialistic." God wouldn't like that.

People like Goodman have been conning the American public for too long. It's all right to give massive tax breaks to the rich in hopes that some of that largess will trickle down to the poor and needy, even though since the days of the B-grade movie actor turned prezident, such nonsense has been proven nothing more than a scheme to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. It's all right to spend $10 billion (or whatever) a month in Iraq [using borrowed money]. It's all right to spend trillions bailing out financial companies, banks and automobile companies that have cratered our economy and the economy of the world because of their greed.

Don't spend another dime of new money on health care, though. That would be "socialistic"!

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