Taking temperature and surplus-labor

docfinalfinalweb1If you do a cursory internet search for “health care bill” and “communism,” as I am sure many thousands of people are doing daily, what you find is interesting. Apparently there are some communists, both foreign and domestic, who think our new health care system is just super-duper. On the other hand there are thousands of anti-communist pundits and bloggers yelping about how horrible the communist/socialist/fascist new plan is. All I can ask is why both of these groups have gotten it so wrong.

The central feature of this new health care plan is that it mandates everyone, with some exceptions, purchase an insurance plan from some private insurance company. If they are unable to do so, then they either receive subsidies from the government in order to do so, or they fall under Medicare or Medicaid coverage. Many more will be covered by some kind of health care. Something about this could be mistaken for “socializing” medicine.

But we can’t speak too soon. A few key words are “purchase” and “private insurance.” Though the government will expand Medicare and Medicaid, the primary means of increasing insurance coverage is by forcing people to purchase it; that is, to spend their earned income on it, rather than their tax money.

The people who offer this insurance are companies that operate at a profit. They make money when you are forced to buy coverage from them. These profits don’t go to the government, and neither are they distributed to the public in any way. Privately owned and operated companies keep all of that profit.

To put it bluntly, this health care bill institutionalizes capitalism by forcing you to pay money to a few profit seeking companies. As a matter of fact, there are many capitalist countries that don’t even allow insurance companies to make a profit, much less require it.

Far from moving toward socialism, this bill actually institutes a sort of hyper-capitalism, where profits are not only allowed, but required by government force. Insurance itself turns sickness into a commodity to be bought and sold and profited from like any other commodity, and this bill only makes that easier.

It is true that there are some regulations, like forbidding denial of coverage to those with “pre-existing conditions,” and putting price caps on plans. But these don’t change the essential capitalist structure of the bill.

It is ironic that this very same bill that institutes this state-sponsored capitalism actually eviscerates another industry that had previously been guaranteed profits, namely the student loan industry. Now the federal government originates student loans, rather than private companies. This is the only part of the bill that could be interpreted as somehow approaching “socialism,” and even this interpretation is a big stretch.

Both those who are absurdly afraid of a communist takeover of the government and those who welcome it are simply wrong.

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