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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South Florida Divide: Haves, have nots, and fine line between them sometimes


picture of a cartoon money tree christmas tree with red starSo a colleague of mine calls because he is offended by crass comments by an attorney whose office is down the hall.  Apparently, the two were observing President Obama discussing a bi-partisan collaboration on the latest healthcare reform proposal.  He called and asked my opinion on the opposing viewpoints at hand.

“Economics”, I said.  “Economics…actually, socio-economics rather”.

This instance is not about Republicans versus Democrats for political ideals and whether to provide for sick and elderly people…well not primarily.

If one politician were to stand up and explain the mechanics between “haves” and “have nots” with differing views on this sensitive topic, it would likely leave a majority of citizens absolutely dumbfounded.

“Haves”, like the colleague-office neighbor of my friend, will generally prefer not co-financing everyone else’s healthcare in the form of nationalized or socialist systems.

Reason being is economics, not necessarily political values or personal viewpoints. 

That “have” can afford to have his teeth cleaned and penicillin for the family during flu season.  Why should he have to ante up for the bill to cover a stranger’s family is his argument.

The “have not”, on the contrary, differs.  An individual with tooth decay, diabetes and no health coverage has nothing to lose of course, therefore, such an individual will be likely to vote in favor of a program to “pool together” benefits of a revamped healthcare system.

Someone with nothing to lose and minimum earning powe usually will support a tax increase. Again, basic economics; a hierarchy of needs at hand.

The media and other such spheres of influence are the ones turning this into a political and personal show down.  What probably stings the most is this: For figures within the elite socio-economic circles, those either practicing politics professionally or as a hobby…many are wealthy and can therefore remain virtually unaffected, financially, regardless of outcome.

Tax hikes will be annoying at worst for such an individual, as lack of affordable healthcare is not a threat.  It is easier for a wealthy individual to enjoy the luxury of not having to play economics.

For example, a Kennedy running for office knows, much like corporate strategists, the majority of a population is comprised of “have nots” as a rule of thumb.  Statistically, the population of those in the “have not” category overshadow the “haves” almost universally.  The prudent political campaign, therefore, must satisfy the concerns of the “haves” while still leaving the majority, the “have nots”, with hope.

This potentially accounts for the grandiose promises a political campaign would typically make which, to most, such as in the case of the Palm Beach attorney we began with.  It is fairly natural to comment in frustration at a healthcare program designed to accommodate a majority.  These are, however, more economic concerns than social class or personal insensitivity as those on television hosting talk shows often depict.

In my friend’s case, we both concluded the gentleman’s comments were likely not a byproduct of his lack of compassion for healthcare to those less fortunate, but rather the degree to which he would be find himself fiscally affected by new legislation.

Economics.  Most members of Congressional committees and those in various political offices with differing opinions are likely the same as my friend and his colleague.  They both agree as to the importance of an efficient healthcare system and sincerely mean to harm.   The economic impact of financing it is another story.