Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Is ObamaCare Socialist? No, . . . and Yes: But Who Cares?

On ObamaCare, The Philadelphia Inquirer's Michael Smerconish claims the "Socialist" Charge Doesn't Stick, because "health insurance in America is still being delivered by private practitioners and paid for by private insurers." Smerconish cites a Merriam-Webster definition of socialism as "a way of organizing a society in which major industries are owned and controlled by the government rather than by individual people and companies." Smerconish asks, “You know who should be angry about Obamacare? Real socialists.” But why?

Smerconish relies on a narrow definition of socialism. As 20th Century fascists discovered, socialism can be achieved without government ownership of industry. Hitler explained it best: "Why need we trouble to socialize banks and factories? We socialize human beings.”  Substitute “healthcare insurance companies” for “banks and factories,” and you’ve got ObamaCare.

ObamaCare grants government officials virtually unlimited, arbitrary power to control health insurance. Through control of health insurance, the government controls who can get what healthcare, when, and at what price. It will regulate doctors, hospitals, and other providers and redistribute wealth. Under ObamaCare, the federal government is endowed with the open-ended power to write regulations, virtually destroying the liberty of individuals to make their own healthcare choices; insurers to offer policies that reflect their own market judgment; and both individuals and insurers to contract voluntarily to mutual advantage—or not. Under ObamaCare, the health insurance companies are merely Oz. To see the Great and Powerful, look for the government Wizards pulling the levers behind the curtain.

The contraceptive mandate is a good example of ObamaCare’s socialist essence. Under this mandate, insurers must provide birth control services to women for “free”—without co-pays or deductibles. How? By mandating contraceptive coverage on all health policies (with certain religious exemptions), whether or not individuals want (or need) it, or insurers want to include it in their policies. This is wealth redistribution-by-mandate.

Fascism, economically, is simply the regulation of superficially “private” industry to act as a conduit for socialist government policies; i.e., what I call socialism through the back door. Is there any doubt that government controls the health insurance industry, even though it doesn’t actually own the individual companies? ObamaCare is fascist. Therefore, I argue that ObamaCare is, in essence, socialist.

But why quibble over what in essence is largely academic? There is a word that accurately defines both socialism and fascism. That term is statism. Merriam-Webster defines statism as “concentration of economic controls and planning in the hands of a highly centralized government often extending to government ownership of industry.”

The essence of statism, in all of its variants, is the negation of individual rights. ObamaCare may or may not be socialist. But, clearly, ObamaCare is statism. That is why it is immoral and, along with all other government intrusions into healthcare, must be repealed and abolished.

Related Reading:

A is A, and Socialism by Any Other Name. . .

Will the World's Statist Past, or the Founders' Values, be America's Destiny?

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