April 29, 2011

On choice and socialism

Had dinner with a friend last night (SOF is conferencing in another state), and we had a repeat conversation about the insanity of our healthcare system. My friend is from Germany, and so is often incredulous at our healthcare system, and how difficult it can be to negotiate.

But his biggest complaint, and one that makes this pretty calm person get flustered, is the allegation that somehow our current healthcare system is preferable to some kind of "socialized" program, because we believe in a market and having choice. To illustrate this, he notes that his healthcare choices here are chosen by his employer. Yes, he can purchase an individual plan on his own (if he lacks pre-existing conditions) but would then have to pay the entire cost of said plan. Otherwise, he has to take whatever the university chooses. Same with other portions of his benefits and retirement.

How, he asked, is this choice?

A very good question.


Smitty said...

How, he asked, is this choice?


There is nothing to add to that. That sums up the whole idiot health care debate right there: we really don't have choice as it is; what's the fucking difference??

leighton said...

I find that right-wing talking points make much more sense when you interpret "we" as "very wealthy people" and "society" as "multinational corporations." After this translation, the usual objections to universal health care are logically consistent.

steves said...

I have always wondered the same thing. My employer does offer 3 choices for health insurance, but they can change the coverage at any time, so I really don't have all that much control over it. I suppose my employer has a choice, but I don't have any say in what or who they go with.

The DNA Diva said...

My brother lives in Germany as an American long-term resident. He has had three major interactions with the German health care system. All three have provided him with excellent care and follow up support. Although speculating about the counterfactual scenario has its limitations, it is difficult to imagine a realistic situation in this country where better care might have been offered. In fact, based on other situations where the US system is supplemented by "free" care provided by family members, I think, with all things being equal, I'd take the German system.