Is Obamacare Socialized Medicine?

To understand Obamacare, you must first know the difference between universal healthcare, single payer, and socialized medicine.

Universal healthcare simply means that everyone is covered and is guaranteed to receive a basic level of fundamental health services equivalent to, or better than, the coverage that most private health insurance plans include today.  Universal healthcare can be implemented either through competing private health insurance companies or by a single government agency.

Single payer means that there is one entity responsible for paying the bills for our healthcare.  In theory, single payer could be done through one private health insurance company, but in the USA that would be a monopoly and illegal.  So, for us, single payer means having one government agency to pay our healthcare bills.

Socialized medicine, by definition, combines universal healthcare with single payer.  That’s why its most common and politically correct appellation today is “Medicare For All.”  You can have universal healthcare without single payer, as in Obamacare, and you can have single payer without universal healthcare, as in Medicare and Medicaid.  However, you cannot have socialized medicine without both.

Obamacare, historically, goes all the way back to a 1989 Heritage Foundation proposal.  The Heritage Foundation is a very conservative, right-wing think tank which backs universal healthcare through private health insurance companies as a way of blocking two things: government negotiated drugs prices and a public health option.  Through the years, this proposal went through many variations, some of which included subsidies, and some of which included penalties for non-participation.  However, after decades of debate, it finally became law during the Obama administration, with subsidies for the poorest among us and penalties for everyone who did not participate.  Thus, though historically it’s a republican proposal, paradoxically it was named Obamacare because of when it passed.

Many people believe that Obamacare is socialized medicine, but it’s not.  Obamacare is a failed attempt at universal healthcare through a mandate that everyone who is not covered by a federal healthcare program, like Medicare or Medicaid, must have a private health insurance policy.  However, Obamacare did not include a single payer by government agency and, therefore, was not socialized medicine.  In fact, it is a concession to the original republican backed Heritage Fund proposal that successfully blocked the public option and prevents our government from negotiating drug prices to this day.

The misconception that Obamacare is socialized medicine is one of many misunderstandings affecting our health and politics.  To learn more about socialized medicine – its pros and cons – and the cost of transitioning our country to it, please attend one of the following free presentations:

Saturday, June 10, 2017 – 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
African-American Research Library and Cultural Center
2650 Sistrunk Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33311

Saturday, June 17, 2017 – 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Main Library – 6th Floor
Bienes Center Ceremonial Room
100 S Andrews Avenue
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301

Saturday, June 24, 2017 – 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Imperial Point Branch Library
5985 N Federal Highway
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017 – noon to 1:30 p.m.
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Boca Raton
2601 St Andrews Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33434

These presentations are a free, public educational service provided by Dr. Robert Ben Mitchell, D.O., without any sales, solicitations or fees.  If your group, organization or business would like to learn more about socialized medicine, please contact Dr. Mitchell at 786-262-5750 or to arrange a free presentation.

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