As in a number of previous heated debates, the current debate on health care reform has raised the cry of "socialism" from the opposition. This is demagoguery!
It is not that I favor socialism in all its aspects. I am not an ideologue for either side. What I want is a government that works for the people, which has not been possible in a social order that entertains a suborned Congress. We really need change.
For those with a purely capitalist ideology, I acknowledge that an environment of regulated competition might be very effective. How could that be achieved? Well, first of all, we would need a considerable number of health insurance companies competing in a national market. Secondly, we would need to provide consumer protections of the sorts that are contemplated in the Democratic bills, and which many Republicans have endorsed. We would also need close scrutiny to prevent the companies from forming an anti-competitive cartel and we would need some tax incentives to encourage companies to join in the national market and to compensate those companies whose benefits might attract the least healthy applicants. In order to make such improved insurance affordable, it would have to be universal and it woud be necessary to deliver health care more efficiently and more effectively than at present.
This is doable but not yet within reach. Why? Because those who inveigh against socialism most loudly also have a huge financial stake in avoiding serious competition and because their congressional stooges would find excuses for deregulating. That's what they did for the banks, remember?
The best opportunity for reform at at this time lies with the Obama proposals, which should be supported.