On Thursday, the Supreme Court of the United States upheld the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On Friday, the Wall Street Journal was replete with stories which confirm that Obamacare is the largest step towards European style socialism ever incurred in our nation’s history. People will talk about the introduction of Social Security, The Great Society, Medicare, Medicaid and other such programs as the harbinger of socialism in America but they are wrong.
There is a difference between a welfare state and socialism. The former is a means by which income is redistributed, the latter is means by which government controls business enterprises. Traditionally, socialism has envisioned government ownership of the means of production and distribution, but during the latter half of the Twentieth Century, the definition changed to connote instances where the government by a series of taxes, regulations and financing patterns effectively controlled the means of production and distribution without actual owners – European style socialism.
The lead Obamacare article in Friday’s Journal by Louise Radnofsky and Christopher Weaver contained the following highlights:
“Employers, insurers, hospitals, drug makers and others are angling for advantage as the government writes the regulations and sets the policies that will bring [Obamacare] to life.
“Hospital owners want the government to reduce the $155 Billion in health-care payment cuts they agreed to during negotiations over the law. Makers of medical devices hope to roll back a 2.3% tax on their sales contained in the measure. Drug makers are aiming at a provision that could squeeze how much Medicare pays for medicine.”
The 2,700 page healthcare bill has spawned tens of thousands of pages of proposed rules, regulations and forms. Application of specific provisions of the bills are at the whim and caprice of President Barack Obama’s administration and have resulted in over twenty-seven states being granted waivers and over 1,200 individual waivers mostly to labor unions.The focus of healthcare is no longer on the customer, rather it is on the government. Competitive advantage for medical providers (doctors, hospitals, and clinics) are found not in catering to the requirements of their customers, but rather by catering to the government administration in power.
Government welfare has created a dependency on government with the resultant voter loyalty to those who promote more spending, and voter antipathy towards those who supporters say will reduce payments. Similarly, overwhelming government control of the health-care industry will produce the same measure of loyalty from providers who gain favor by government fiat, or avoid penalties by government waivers. The pharmaceutical companies have already demonstrated how to play the game by winning billions in concessions during the drafting of Obamacare in exchange for their support. But the pharmaceutical companies, having thrown the rest of the health-care industry under the bus, now has no allies and they too will suffer the consequences of governmental caprice in the near future.
While the proponents of Obamacare have promoted it as beneficial to the consumers, in fact, it is primarily beneficial to government that now controls nearly sixteen percent of the Gross Domestic Product and nearly $7,000 per capita of spending.
If you don’t think that constitutes a giant step towards socialism, you lack an understanding of the difference between socialism and free enterprise.