May 29, 2017

John Browne on U.S. history of socialized medicine

Contrary to the current rhetoric, Obamacare was not in fact America’s first foray into socialized medicine, and it did not represent the kind of crossed Rubicon that Republicans like to accuse it of being. The door had first been opened in the Second World War, when government imposed wage controls that gave incentives to employers to bundle health insurance into compensation packages. When the government then made employer-provided insurance tax-deductible, such plans became the norm. But the government really charged into the market in 1965, with the creation of Medicare and Medicaid. For years, Republicans have twisted themselves into logic pretzels in order to argue that Obamacare is socialism while Medicare is not.

In granting a new entitlement, Obamacare did nothing to address problems that have plagued the U.S. health-care system. It did not encourage competition among insurers, it demanded a “one size fits all” approach to coverage, and, most egregiously, did nothing to contain the rising medical costs that threaten to bankrupt the U.S. To add insult to injury, it required people to buy insurance they didn’t want.

~ John Browne, Euro Pacific Capital, "What We've Learned From Trying Out Socialized Medicine," March 30, 2017

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