Without question, “Redistribution of Wealth” is a hallmark of Socialism and a battle cry to many of the more vocal liberals in this country. The argument that state and federal subsidies for payment of healthcare under the law actually redistributes wealth is both compelling and convincing, and the debate now focuses primarily on the merits of such a massive entitlement. After all, are we not a caring and compassionate country? Are we not willing to provide healthcare to those who cannot afford it? Are we not willing to make any sacrifice to guarantee the welfare of the least of us? Of course we are… but let’s not confuse healthcare with health insurance, or choice with mandate.
For many decades, we believed that our insurance plans guaranteed access to affordable healthcare. Insurance companies promised that their network of physicians willing to accept their payment schedules on behalf of their clients was extensive, and all patients would have a large selection of doctors and hospitals from whom they might choose to get their healthcare. But now things have changed. Doctors are leaving their profession by the tens-of-thousands, and those doctors who remain in the industry are, in greater numbers, refusing to sign a contract with insurance companies. Hospitals are refusing to contract with some insurance plans, and even the plans themselves are restricting the contracts offered to certain hospitals in an effort to save cost. So the security of having a shiny, brand-spanking new health insurance card in our wallet or purse is becoming a FALSE security. Like it or not, although we had been dealing with a healthcare system in which all received healthcare and some were without health insurance, we are fast approaching a healthcare system in which all will be insured and some will go without healthcare. Is this really more a more acceptable healthcare dilemma?
Most of us CHOOSE to redistribute our wealth every day in one form or another. For example, I provide healthcare at no cost to some patients virtually every day; in such cases, I willingly provide “wealth of knowledge and expertise” to those in need of healthcare. Others may share their wealth in the form of companionship, counseling, money, materials, products, labor, and debt relief with those in need. Under Capitalism, those of us who have opportunity, talent and resources to gain wealth throughout life may choose to redistribute voluntarily the same opportunity, talent and resources to those who do not yet have such benefits. In fact, every day, most of us validate the fact that the US, under Capitalism, is the most generous country to those in need, both domestically and overseas. Capitalism has been proven to be most effective in reducing poverty, building wealth, and sharing (redistributing) wealth, not just for the US, but also for most of the world. So how is it that redistribution of wealth might be bad for us?
Under Socialism, the re-distribution of wealth is central to the power of the State. Under Socialism, each person’s wealth – possessions, real estate, money, etc. – belongs to the State. There is no “individual wealth” other than that which is allowed by the State, and, at any time and for no particular reason, the State has the right to retrieve any or all of the wealth of any individual. Fortunately, this does not describe America… for now. However, under ObamaCare, the very first suggestion of transformation of America to Socialism is introduced. Under ObamaCare, each of us is MANDATED by the State to redistribute our wealth to provide a very large subsidy for health insurance to those in need (about 1/10 the population), or pay a penalty to the State for failing to do so. This policy and approach to the provision of a massive entitlement to the few is very much in line with the principles of Socialism, and has been lauded and targeted as a necessary step in transforming America from Capitalism to Socialism by some liberals.
I believe that ObamaCare is failing to provide affordable health insurance to most of our uninsured. I also believe that ObamaCare is destabilizing our healthcare system by weakening the patient-doctor relationship.
If I am correct, and if ObamaCare does not achieve in the coming years what has been promised, then I am left to investigate its true purpose and intent… perhaps the first step in transforming America from Capitalism to Socialism. In any case, I would prefer to continue to redistribute my wealth at my privilege and not by mandate.
Michael J Lucherini MD MS
Dr. Lucherini specializes in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. He practices at Summit Medicine and Pediatrics in Mesa, AZ, and is a Pioneer in Direct Access Medicine. His opinions expressed herein are personal and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of his staff, his patients, or his colleagues.
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