Town Crier: Affordable Care Act simply isn’t socialism
by Mickey McGuire
Aug 10, 2012 | 10924 views | 105 105 comments | 22 22 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Most Americans seem to be less-than well informed about the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. The Obama Administration has not done enough to explain the provisions to the public. In addition, the entire discussion is full of abstract terminology like “pernicious incentives,” “adverse selection” and the “free-rider problem.” Finally, many Republicans have engaged in a partially successful disinformation campaign.

Two of the criticisms from the right are that the Affordable Care Act represents a “government takeover of America’s health care” and that it is “socialism.”

How does one sort all this out? There is a rather simple method to break down and compare various health care systems.

No matter which country or which idea, you simply ask three questions. First, who pays? Second, who insures? And third, who provides health care?

In a socialist system, like the former Soviet Union, the answer to all three questions would be “government.” The British are quite proud of their National Health Service. This was clearly on display during the opening ceremonies for the London Olympics. Private care is available, but the British National Health Service relies on government revenue, government insurance and government hospitals. Most of the doctors are government employees.

Health care in the United States is a mix of several systems. We have one system where the answer to the three questions would be “government.” That is the Veterans Administration. The government pays, the government insures and government hospitals and doctors provide most of the care. By most accounts, the system works well and has administrative costs that run half as much as private care.

While the VA is similar to a socialist model, it would not be a good design for the United States as a whole. It would not be a good fit for our political culture, and no such system has been suggested as a model for universal coverage in the United States.

Most health coverage in the United States is employer-sponsored. The majority of Americans are covered by this system to varying degrees. The answer to the three questions would be: privately financed, private insurance, and private health care delivery.

The Medicare system for those older than 65 is slightly more complicated. Roughly 80 percent of Medicare recipients have government insurance. The government writes the check, the government insures, but health care is a matter of private hospitals, doctors and pharmacies.

Medicare recipients have an option. Twenty percent of those covered have signed up for a Medicare Advantage program in which they take a government voucher and purchase private insurance. In that case, government pays, but the insurance and health care are private.

The Medicare Advantage program is one model of what is sometimes called a “single-payer” system. Government writes the check, but the rest is private. Some European countries have such a system. It provides universal coverage within a private market environment.

The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) retains the basic design of our current system.

This is no surprise. It was originally designed by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, as an answer to Hillary Clinton’s health care proposal back in the 1990s. It was adopted by Massachusetts and signed into law by Mitt Romney. The Romney plan is popular and covers 98 percent of Massachusetts’ population.

Our current health care system is as follows:

Who pays? Mostly private individuals pay. This number

will increase under the Affordable Care Act.

Who insures? Most people today are privately insured. This number will grow by

millions under the ACA.

Who provides health care? It is overwhelmingly private and will remain so under the ACA.

The Affordable Care Act continues our reliance on private markets. It is a good fit for both our economy and our political culture. There will be successes and failures, and inevitably adjustments will have to be made, as there were under Romneycare.

But relying as it does on private markets, it is clearly not a government takeover of health care, and it can’t be reasonably described as socialism.

n Mickey McGuire, a retired high school social studies teacher, is among a select group of local residents with columns in the Tracy Press.
Comments
(105)
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RedHotChilliPeppers
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August 31, 2012
So, debdaves, you're ok with the mess, as long as Obama appoints more judges who will push the gay agenda?
debbdaves
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August 23, 2012
LITN

Amen, I sure hope Obama replaces conservative judges and makes America liberal.
debbdaves
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August 23, 2012
There is more than the Obamacare issues. Its a shot he took, rolled the dice. If he gets a second term he will replace the ritiring concervative supreme court judges with liberals.
LuckyInTracyNot
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August 20, 2012
If you do not want Obama for four more years you should think of a seriouse vote that counters a vote for obama. Maybe things won't be blue skys and sunshine but we should still be living free under one god. It is that Obama is a differant type of guy, he thinks socialism is the best thing for us. Now, that is what I think, millions others think it as well. You can do your own math formula. Do yourself a favor and read some of the stuff on line from Dinesh D'Souza who wrote "OBAMA'S AMERICA". The opposite end of his book just want free stuff which is socialism and they do not care for America in the first place. Dinesh D'Souza.
shelly13
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August 20, 2012
PS I will vote for my own write in candidate....hmmm Dr. Phil? Dr. Bill Cosby? Nancy Grace? Oprah? Lisa Lampinelli?..yeah that's it. I am voting for Lisa! She's a feisty one. She will get shit done! Lol
shelly13
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August 20, 2012
lucky,is that the one titled "why we need a new president?"

I haven't read it yet. I voted for him. I can't say I'm too happy how things are doing in this country now. I think he had a giant hole to climb out of and he was not able to do it. He said a lot of things and a lot has not gotten better. I probably would not vote for him again...but the alternative? Is he really better? Most politicians promise things and do not deliver. It's really nothing new. So I'm not that surprised Obama did the same. Guess what...Romney will do it too. They all say anything they want to get into office. Then it is a different story.

Hate to say it, but we are doomed. Yes, the sky is falling. Be on the lookout for Chicken Little.

If Romney gets in and I see dramatic improvement, I will be one happy camper and take it back. Until then...no sir. I think he's a creep.
LuckyInTracyNot
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August 20, 2012
All I can say to all of this is go get todays Newsweek Magazine and look at the cover. Read the story.
shelly13
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August 18, 2012
I do agree that they should not force us to buy insurance. They should cut their spending and pay for it. Did you know that when you sell your house now, you don't just pay for the relator fees - 3.88% goes to the government to pay for Obamacare.

C'mon government. Do it right. Stop the fleecing of America and you can afford to give us all healthcare without taxing! I am o sick of stupid people running this country.
LuckyInTracyNot
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August 17, 2012
Van Jones.
mikmik10
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August 16, 2012
Forcing one segment of society to buy insurance they do not want is about as far from freedom as you can get. (What's next?)

Then there is the cost containment panel. Adding another level of bureaucracy is not free or "revenue neutral." Not to mention the fact that there is no safety net for them being used as "death panels".

Expensive and freedom encroaching.

Mamma Cass had it right, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose."

dcose
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August 16, 2012
I think that might have been Janis Joplin
mikmik10
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August 16, 2012
I stand corrected. Memory not what it was!
RedHotChilliPeppers
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August 15, 2012
There are many different conspiracy theories.

The longest lasting and most interesting is the elitist theory.

The elitist theory would go something like this.

It does not matter who is President, we will end up being called "freeloaders" under a President who serves up socialistic platforms.

If (and that's an if)ertion the elitist theory is true, then I would think it would have more to do with uneducated voters, than an "illumanidi".

Although, there are those who believe the fed is the "illumanidi" and those who believe that, come from more than just one particular political frame of reference.
LuckyInTracyNot
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August 15, 2012
That's all ok shelly. There are tens of thousands of others with the same conspiracy theories as mine and the author of that information didn't dig it out of the land fill. You owe it to your freedom to at least read up on some of the information regarding Obamas associates and mentors.
shelly13
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August 15, 2012
So many of the politicians have had conspiracy crap behind them on both sides of the ticket. Nothing new. Some theories turn out to be fact, some don't. Our country has survived them.

Go ahead and go along with your Repuiblican't party hogwash. The Dems will still stick to their own hogwash too. Status quo...very sad.

PS Rumors and false information can spread like wildfire. Just because tens of thousand of people believe something, doesn't make it truth. Hello Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Perfect example.
dcose
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August 16, 2012
shelly13 states, "Hello Iraq and weapons of mass destruction. Perfect example."

"In August 2004, for instance, American forces surreptitiously purchased what they believed to be containers of liquid sulfur mustard, a toxic “blister agent” used as a chemical weapon since World War I. The troops tested the liquid, and “reported two positive results for blister.” The chemical was then “triple-sealed and transported to a secure site” outside their base. …

Nearly three years later, American troops were still finding WMD in the region. An armored Buffalo vehicle unearthed a cache of artillery shells “that was covered by sacks and leaves under an Iraqi Community Watch checkpoint. “The 155mm rounds are filled with an unknown liquid, and several of which are leaking a black tar-like substance.” Initial tests were inconclusive. But later, “the rounds tested positive for mustard.”

Saddam Hussein, Terrorists & WMD in Iraq

http://hotair.com/archives/2010/10/24/wikileaks-documents-show-wmds-found-in-iraq/

The Magic List Of WMDs In Iraq

http://floppingaces.net/2006/07/01/the-magic-list-of-wmds-in-iraq/

Saddam Hussein, Terrorists & WMD in Iraq

http://newsbusters.org/node/8668

“Non existant” Yellowcake Uranium Moved From Iraq to Canada

http://www.bloggernews.net/116579
shelly13
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August 15, 2012
PS and I am sooo tired of liberals this conservatives that. They both have good points and bad ones. We need more level headed people making decisions, not extremists from either side.
dcose
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August 15, 2012
You will continue to see divisiveness. In a democracy, the group that comes up with the most effective message... wins support for their agenda.

With few exceptions, the most level headed people are not making the decisions. Were that not so we would not be in the financial and societal fix we currently enjoy (or not). It's government, not business.
shelly13
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August 15, 2012
Also let me clarify that I am a registered Democrap that has voted along party lines in the past. I have checked a box for a Dem just because I did not know who any of the candidates were. I have seen the err of my ways. I do not do that anymore. Haven't for years. I know many others who have done the same with regards to their party lines. If we really want change, we do in fact need to look outside the box. We really need to educate ourselves on all the candidates from ALL the parties. It is not always the Dem or Repub who is the best person to lead our country. But that poor other guy will never get a chance. Until then, our country won't have a chance.

In the next election, the people will try and pick the lesser of two evils. Is that what we really want for our country? The choice between Tweedle dee or Tweedle dum?
princesaportuguese
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August 15, 2012
America is a Constitutional Republic not a democracy. The quicker Americans learn that, the better. @ Redhot - I think you meant the ILLUMINATI

Read up on what our founding fathers had to say about the illuminati. Many past presidents discussed them. Kennedy, Eisenhower etc. The illuminati is the globalist elite who are trying to bring forth the New World Order aka Globalization. They are know as the shadow government.

People need to listen to politicians & how they want to destroy our freedom & sovereignty. They don't even try to hide it no matter what side they are on. On Sept. 11 1991 Bush Sr mentions bringing forth the NWO. Quayle, Gore, Clinton, Bush Jr. Obama, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown etc, all mention their goal is THE NEW WORLD ORDER or Globalization. The left & right are the same. 2 sides of the same coin. There is NO difference. It's is a divide & conquer tactic. They both work to dismantle our freedoms. Our founding fathers warned us heavily about it. Maj. General Smedley Butler warned us about them in his speech War is a Racket. Sadly for America, these "conspiracy theories" are now conspiracy FACTS. It's time for Americans to wake up & take their Republic back.

shelly13
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August 15, 2012
prince you are so right when you say "two sides of the same coin. There is NO difference. It's is a divide & conquer tactic. They both work to dismantle our freedoms"

That is basically what I have been trying to say.

The New World Order thing will not happen in our lifetime, if ever. I know we are stupid, but we are not all that stupid. People will fight it.

Hell I'm for it if I can find out if I have ancestry to the original 13 bloodline families of the Illuminati! Heck yeah, top of the food chain for me! Lol!

shelly13
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August 15, 2012
OMG stop with the conspiracy theories already.

Yes I'm sure if Obama is elected again the world will end. Wow, you think he has that much power? Do you think any President really has that much power? OK maybe if they set off the nukes or they shoot first when the little green men come to visit.

I actually don't care who wins. I don't things will get better either way. I think Obama had to try and dig himself out of a big hole and failed to do so. I'd rather have Romney be on the ticket as the VP and maybe Ryan as the Presidential candidate. Romney is a douche. Do your research people and actually take a look at the other candidates in the other parties. Oh I forgot, most of you only vote among party lines and cannot think for yourselves. Too bad. That is what is dooming this country.
shelly13
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August 15, 2012
Let me clarify "among party lines" ie: Democraps and Republicants. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Think outside the box people...or should I say outside the "triangle"? Lol
LuckyInTracyNot
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August 15, 2012
There is more than the Obamacare issues. Its a shot he took, rolled the dice. If he gets a second term he will replace the ritiring concervative supreme court judges with liberals.

read this and connect the dots.

http://america-wake-up.com/2009/10/03/is-president-obama-a-marxist/
LuckyInTracyNot
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August 15, 2012
Obama has been groomed by some honchos as we know as George Soros and taught and groomed by communists. He could care less about any of us here, he is just a front man for behind the curtains, he is nothing more than a nice smile in a suit and the plan is to lay the foundation of socialism. The next move is doubling down on disarrming a free society, the nato gun ban is his way of circumventing the second ammendments.

While you are all arguing about socialised health care he is busy running on reelection, a second term to destroy our freedom. We are arguing on who is doing right and wrong, this is his plan to distract and divide.

Yup God help us if he gets in a second term. He will be doubling down on stuff just like the dream act and gay rights, this causes distractions fromhis big plan.
backinblack
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August 15, 2012
You seem to assume just because the bulk of this debate is about the ACA, which was the subject of Mick's letter, we somehow are not aware of other issues. Distract and divide? We are openly discussing Obama's signature legislation and an issue which accounts for approximately 1/6 of our economy, I happen to think it's a fairly important issue and is far from a distraction.
mamcguire
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August 14, 2012
Ms. Peppers, Your recent letter included the following statement, "Liberals say we cannot talk because we cannot have common meanings."

Both the words "liberals" and "we" are wrong. In the place of "liberals" you meant to say me. You use the word "liberals" as if it is an organized group like the Boy Scouts, rather than to describe a school of thought. You use the word "we" when you responded to me when I obviously meant you. You mislead people by re-defining the word "free loader" in a manner that was inconsistent from the point I made about an economic concept called the "free loader problem".

You need to think of your audience. You need to use these terms and the word "liberal" in ways that your reader will understand them.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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August 15, 2012
mamcguire,

I do not blog under the pretense that I have an "audience". I also do not subscribe to your "school of thought". Please do not take it personal if I write "liberals". I read other blogs too. If you want to fit into any particular thought category, please do. If someone else subscribes to your "school of thought" they are also free to associate their opinions in parallel. My opinions happen to be more scalene than anyone else's, here.
backinblack
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August 14, 2012
In 2007 Allstate pulled out of the homeowners insurance market in CA. They recently threatened to pull out of the auto market - this is public information. If I wanted to take the time to write a novel length string of emails I could list occassions when all types of insurance companies have pulled out of states or specific market segments. It's usually due to issues with regulations such as with Allstate in 07, or loss ratios becoming unsustainable.

TMC hit on something which I believe will happen at least to some extent. When loss ratios become too high an insurance company has 3 choices, raise premiums, pull out of that particular market segment or state, or continue to lose massive amounts of money and possibly become insolvent. I guarantee this will be a problem for at least some health insurance carriers once the ACA is fully implemented. This brings me to Mick's mention of 30 million new insureds, sounds great, right? Upon further review that may not be the case.

Consider the number of those 30 million who have major health issues and pre-existing conditions, are obese, out of shape, and don't give a hoot.

cont...........
backinblack
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August 14, 2012
Add the fact the ACA forces carriers to remove lifetime caps, pre-existing condition moratoriums, provide more services, and basically go against principles of insurance developed through actuaries with data obtained from the advent of the industry.

This is fact, a larger pool does not mean loss ratios will stay at acceptable levels due to good risk compensating for the bad. A small amount of bad risk can negate a large amount of good. It's basically like gross vs net. I know a lot of business owners and although most would agree a greater gross will hopefully lead to a greater net, it doesn't always work that way. Mick should know this and therefor have no way of disputing this fact. One company can gross $2m and actually lose money while another can gross $200k and make $50k. This is no different with insurance, 30 million more insureds does not necessarily mean greater profit and could actually end up being a liability when all factors are taken into consideration. The CBO reports Mick refers to fall woefully short in considering what happens when all the claims start rolling in, and lets be clear, considering the overall lousy health of our population we are talking a massive amount of payout.

Univeral heathcare and insurance will never, I repeat never, work in a society which is as out of shape as ours. It's basic supply & demand but nobody wants to stand up and tell it like it is. The ACA does nothing to address the root cause of why healthcare and therfor health insurance costs are high and getting higher.
TimMichaelCase
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August 14, 2012
In 2007 Obama was talking to the union honchos in Chicago and talk about his Presidency and heath care.

Obama fat out stated *We will not get to a single payer system in the first round. We will get there but that happens later."

I have heard the tapes on numerous occasions. It's a fact Obama will eventually get rid of private business in health care and all will be under government employ including doctors and ALL medical staff and support.

The change Obama promised is real. It's a shame no one asked what kind of change we would get.

God help us if Obama is reelected. America as we use to know it will be GONE.

God save America!
shelly13
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August 14, 2012
RHCP:

Where I think we may differ a bit is I think that a socialist health care system would be good for this country. I think that a great country like ours should provide healthcare for all it's citizens. No one should be denied. What should be denied is all the real "freeloaders" Such as illegal immigrants and also many welfare people who suck our country dry every year while they pop out baby's and do drugs. How about bringing our soldiers home from stupid wars. How about read this: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/30-stupid-things-the-governemnt-is-spending-money-on.

Stop spending money on stupid things and make sure we have good healthcare!

The problem is our country is not doing it right. In fact we do not have a pure socialistic healthcare system (except VA). It sucks you have to pay more. Mine just went up too. We have health insurance through work that completely changed last year. We went form paying minimal co-pays to a deductible and percentage.

Our change had to do with the economy, not Obamacare. Either way it sucks.
RedHotChilliPeppers
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August 14, 2012
shelly13,

I'm now paying more taxes to cover a socialist (used as an adjetive) ACA in an economy that is not being stimulated by the (socialist) ACA. And I'm told that the economic GDP has not down-slid enough so it does not 'technically' qualify it as a 'socialist' textbook terminology.

I'd say it had a lot more to do with it than you think. ACA would be good if it created jobs and I could opt-out, why would I want to pay extra while you said, "they pop out baby's and do drugs."

Is the economy better/Are taxes decreased?

No.

Can I opt-out of ACA and not pay the extra tax?

No.

No matter what you call it, we agree it's not getting better.

You may disagree, but I think we should have focused on jobs, first.

It was America at it's ugliest watching those what you called "fighting like old ladies" in Congress and ignoring our pleas for jobs.

America has never been more divided. But I do appreciate your candidness. It is refreshing to see hope in the system, when there is so little left anymore.
TimMichaelCase
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August 14, 2012
shelly13,

Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are talking specifics about Medicare, energy independence along with solid budget proposals. Washington DC has never seen the likes of a Paul Ryan before.

Even serious Democrats like Erskine Boles praises Ryan as a man who is great with budget ideas and how to get things done.

They are not talking generalities. They are talking specifics and offering a plan, something Obama has NEVER done.

Obama is blaming and complaining. That is all he has accomplished over the last 3 1/2 years.

It is great to finally hear some sound, very practical and logical ideas. I welcome the change.


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