Cross-posted from The Progressive Pulse
If Paul Krugman is right and passing health care legislation should be the number one priority of Progressives, then this is welcome news. In a recent poll by the Harvard School of Public Health, a plurality of respondents (45% vs. 39%) said America would be better off with "socialized medicine." To be clear, neither Clinton nor Obama is advocating what legitimate health policy analysts would define as socialized medicine.* It cannot be said often enough…under the Clinton or Obama plan if you like your current health insurance coverage, then keep it.
Nonetheless, it is nice to know that this scare tactic is losing it's effectiveness. Voters are going to be hearing alot about health care policy this election cycle, so do yourself this favor. If a so-called analyst is overwrought about the dangers of electing Democrats because they want to "socialize medicine," know immediately that they are not honest brokers of information.
Our dark doppelganger, the John W. Pope Civitas Institute, is especially guilty of this type of red-baiting smear tactic. It is standard procedure at Civitas to invoke what they perceive to be the "fear" of socialized medicine. The Civitas' analysis apparently goes something like this: if a service is paid for with public funds, then it is "socialized." Note that this is a distinction that is unique to health care. You do not see Civitas daft over the threat of "socialized" national defense, "socialized" police and fire protection, or "socialized" public education.
A government guarantee of health insurance is hardly socialist, although it is progressive. We should not allow health care reform to be stymied by using nonsensical and irrelevant terms like "socialized medicine." Clinton and Obama have legitimate public/private health care proposals to cover 47 million uninsured Americans. John McCain…does not.
*Legitimate examples of socialized medicine would be our Veterans Administration or the UK's National Health Service. Note: Medicare, Medicaid, or S-CHIP funding are not considered part of this group.