Jill Quadagno responds to comments
I want to respond to Terry’s comments on my earlier post, “A critical national competitiveness
issue” (Click here to read full post and comments.)
“Which nation is more competitive [than] the US that has universal health care?
When has socialism been more efficient at providing a service people need?
Socialism? That’s the same tired claim that’s been made against every plan to guarantee
universal health insurance coverage for the past 100 years. When President Franklin Roosevelt
considered including national health insurance in the Social Security Act of 1935, his opponents
called it socialistic. President Harry Truman’s plan to make national health insurance a part of
his Fair Deal was decried as a socialist plot. Even President Dwight Eisenhower’s idea of
subsidizing the private health insurance industry by having the government pay “catastrophic”
health care costs was condemned as socialist.
Medicare was also labeled socialist when it was enacted in 1965. It’s true that Medicare
is a government program, but it’s hardly socialistic. It’s administered by private insurance
companies on behalf of private hospitals and private physicians.
There are numerous ways to ensure that every citizen has health insurance. Canada’s single payer system might not be the best choice for the United
States, because of the extensive private
health insurance system that already exists. But that’s not the only option. Germany has an employment-based
system that is similar to the United States in many respects. The difference is that Germans have
a constitutional guarantee of health care.
Isn’t it time to bury that old chestnut, socialized medicine, and have a serious
conversation about why 45 million Americans have no health insurance?
- Jill Quadagno, author of One Nation, Uninsured.