Are the fire, police departments socialist, Massena man asks?
Monday, January 27, 2014 - 6:40 am

To the Editor:

In response to “Socialism is Bad,” I agree with the author that as a general prospect, our free-market system of capitalism is the best system ever devised, and as a red-blooded, “survival of the fittest” American I couldn’t agree more.

That said, I also believe that there are two areas in life that every citizen should have an equal shot at, regardless of class, creed, or station in life. One is education, and the other is health care.

The facts are available to us:

• We pay more per capita for health care than any other developed nation on the planet, and we receive worse outcomes.

• Health care costs are the leading cause of bankruptcies and foreclosures in this country, and the vast majority of those bankruptcies and foreclosures e are from people who have or had private health insurance.

• To those who argue that they do not want a single-payer system in this country because they do not want their “taxes to increase” to fund “other persons’ healthcare,” those of us who have private health insurance already pay for the uninsured in this country in the form of higher increasing annual premiums every year, because the uninsured are forced to go to the E.R. for treatment. We just don’t call it a “tax,” but it’s pretty much the same thing.

• While it is true that in countries with single-payer systems, one may have to wait a little longer for non life-threatening elective surgeries (such as a knee-replacement), it is not the government in those countries who decides what, and what level of care is provided to the patient. The doctors do. “Death Panels” are a political talking point and a myth. They do not exist.

• Single-payer is less expensive, and more efficient.

The idea and practice of single-payer health care is “socialism?” By that argument, we’re all socialists. If your house is burglarized, or you have a fire, the police department and the fire department do not send you a bill after they catch the burglar or put the fire out. Does this mean we should privatize our police, fire department, or even Marines Corps?

I believe that until we completely remove the profit motive from healthcare in this country, and start to treat healthcare as a fundamental human right as every other developed country does, we will continue our downward slide to increasingly more expensive, less efficient, and less humane care…with or without “Obamacare.” But the private insurance lobby in this country is a bear, which leaves me less than optimistic.

Leland Farnsworth