Did you ever notice that Halloween was a socialist holiday?
People who do not work knock on the doors of people who do and ask them to share their wealth. And the wealth is redistributed. It’s actually the most perfect example of socialism because participation is voluntary, ALL the wealth is redistributed from those who have it to those who want it, and there is no government middleman siphoning off a percentage, or imposing restrictions on who can give how much under what conditions to which recipients.
The health care overhaul currently being debated in Congress is an exercise in imperfect socialism.
Let’s start with participation. In both the House and Senate versions, there is not even a pretense that participation is voluntary. Either the individual or business purchases health insurance, or they pay a tax penalty to the government. And every insurance provider must pay a per-capita fee to the government for those who do have health insurance through their system.
This leads to siphoning the wealth. Congress is planning to create over 40 new government agencies, each with operating budgets of hundreds of millions of dollars. The proposed penalty for those without health insurance will not be used to purchase insurance, it will be used to fund those new federal agencies. In fact, the language of the Bill mandates that the tax penalties be used for this purpose.
Each of those agencies has an agenda, which is to control who gets what health care under what circumstances at what cost.
They will monitor hospitals for number of re-admissions, and penalize those that the designated federal agency decides re-admit too many patients. They will determine national averages on the cost of treating patients and punish doctors who are in the top 10 percent of spending. They will decide what treatments will be allowed for patients of various ages and conditions and deny coverage for any patient who does not meet the cost-benefit standard.
The effect of such measures goes well beyond cost. For example, the stated intent behind punishing doctors who "spend too much" on treatment is to force the cost of health care down. The real effect will be that doctors who treat patients with complex conditions will be the ones most likely to be punished, so patients with complex conditions will be the ones most unable to find a doctor. That patient could be a child with rheumatoid arthritis, cancer or heart disease; it might be a young parent who was involved in a serious accident; or it might be a senior with pulmonary disease. When government bureaucrats make health-care decisions, the needs of the patient get lost in a game of making the numbers work.
If we were to apply the socialism in the health care overhaul to our trick-or-treaters, Halloween would look something like this: Every child would be forced to go trick-or-treating, or pay a candy tax, and every family whose children did go trick-or-treating would be required to register those children and pay a "Trick-or-Treat" tax. Those who gave out candy would have to be sure they were within the accepted candy-giving guidelines, with anyone in the top 10% of candy-giving being subject to a penalty. Each child would be given a candy quota telling him how much candy of which kinds he could receive. There would be candy inspectors in every neighborhood to be sure that all candy rules were obeyed.
It sounds ridiculous. Except that this is exactly what is being proposed by Congress as the answer to health care in America. Now, that really IS scary!