Attendees hold signs while waiting for a health care bill news conference to begin on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017. Fifteen Senate Democrats are flirting with a single-payer health-care system that would expand Medicare coverage to all Americans, marking a shift within the party on what was once viewed as a politically treacherous issue that attracted little support from lawmakers. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg
Everyone thinks of “Medicare for All” as a liberal idea, an extremely liberal one embraced by the socialist wing of the Democratic Party. It’s an idea Democrats were hesitant to embrace in the Obama era, for being too far out of mainstream political thought. It was thought of as an idea that was too easy to demonize as socialism.
Think I’m kidding? Give me a chance to explain myself.
Deciding Whether Medicare is “Socialism”
When we call a healthcare system socialized, we need to clarify what part of the system we are talking about. For example, Canada has a socialized payment system, which they (unoriginally) call Medicare. But Canada doesn’t have a socialized provider system. Instead, Canadian hospitals and clinicians work in private enterprises, billing Medicare for their services.
By contrast, the United Kingdom has a fully socialized system, with payment coming from the government, providers working with government employees, and hospitals and clinics owned and operated by the government.
In keeping with this view of socialism, “Medicare for All” is not the same as a fully socialized healthcare system. Under Medicare, providers are still free to operate as private enterprises, and can decide whether to operate as nonprofit organizations – like the Mayo Clinic – or as for-profit ones – like the Hospital Corporation of America.
Even more important, we can’t even call “Medicare for All” a socialized payment system. I’ll explain more about that in a short while.
(To read the rest of the article, please visit Forbes.)