Are the 2010 health care reform laws socialist?



PRO (yes)

Sean Hannity, host of Fox News Channel’s Hannity show, stated the following during a Mar. 25, 2010 interview with CNSnews.com:

"Obama is a socialist. If you take over banks, if you take over car companies, if you take over financial institutions, the way that he has - now the health care system. If you're going to use every crooked deal that you can come up with to get a bill like that passed - most recently the health care bill - that is by definition, if you look up the dictionary definition of socialism, this is it.”


Mar. 25, 2010 - Sean Hannity 



Michelle Bachmann, JD, LLM, US Representative (R-MN), stated the following during her June 14, 2010 speech at the Luce Policy Institute "2010 Conservative Leadership Seminar," available at www.c-spanarchives.org:

"We need to repeal the government takeover of healthcare with Obamacare, it is a must do...

We cannot negotiate with Obamacare, because it cannot be negotiated with, it needs to be 100% repealed...

We have to be committed to defunding Obamacare to make sure that it dosen't get instituted in this country...

Because socialized medicine, or the government takeover of helathcare, really is the lynchpin of socialism in any nation, thats what the threat of Obamacare is for America, because it completely re-tools the way we do business in this country."


June 14, 2010 - Michele Bachmann, JD, LLM 



Dana Rohrabacher, MA, US Representative (R-CA), stated the following in his Mar. 21, 2010 press release titled "Rohrabacher Statement on Historic Health Care Vote,” available at www.rohrabacher.house.gov:

"I don't know what's more odious... The consequences of this government takeover of our health care system or the way this legislation has been rammed through with backroom deals and procedural trickery.

The process put forth by the Democrats has made a mockery of all the pledges by the President of bipartisanship and transparency. I don't know of any other legislation as consequential as this passed with such a partisan sledgehammer.

This trillion dollar monstrosity is not only an attack on every American's freedom but will increase taxes and deficit spending in the middle of a recession when we cannot even afford the government programs we already have, all without bringing down health care costs.

This legislation is not the health care reform the American people want or deserve. All this will do is addict the American people to socialism and make us dependent on the federal bureaucracy.”


Mar. 21, 2010 - Dana Rohrabacher, MA 



Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD, neurologist and Editor of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, stated the folowing in his Winter 2009 article "Freedom and DEATH in Medicine," available at www.jpands.org:

"[W]e are approaching a situation where approximately one-third of people in this country pay no taxes for the government benefits many vote to receive. Between 2001 and 2007, the Index of Government Dependency increased by 30 percent, with the medical component increasing by 25 percent...

Medicare is financed via a giant Ponzi scheme that is doomed to collapse, dependent citizens cling to the notion that medical care is a right. The so-called social contract between generations is in reality an inter-generational socialist scam. Yet, in a plea for magical thinking, dependent citizens have been led to believe that somehow enough savings can be found in a program facing insolvency to finance medical care for millions of uninsured citizens...

The socialist concept that all should share in wealth and health equally has become pervasive. Providing for one's own needs through one's own industry and labor, and concerning oneself about maintaining one's own good health have become virtually irrelevant...

The history of socialism is clear. Socialism brings misery and destruction to those who are forced to live under it, and socialized medicine, a.k.a. the 'public option,' if implemented, will destroy freedom in medicine. Without freedom in medicine, there is no quality, only compliance. Compliance with one-size-fits-all, government-approved protocols and guidelines for the purpose of saving money in the government-run program will bring suffering to individual patients whose individual illnesses do not fit those protocols and guidelines. In the socialist tradition, individual citizens will be sacrificed for 'the good of the state.'"

[Editors Note:  In March 2010, President Obama signed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (HR 3590), the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (HR 4872), and Executive Order 13535 which restricted federal funds from being used for abortion services. Pro, Con, or Not Clearly Pro or Con positions made prior to the final wording of these three elements of the health care reform legislation may have changed since March 2010.]


Winter 2009 - Lawrence R. Huntoon, MD, PhD 



Newt Gingrich, PhD, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, stated the following during a May 24, 2010 interview with Tom Schaller titled "Gingrich Slams Paulson, Obama, Sarbanes-Oxley and Even W (a little)," available at www.fivethirtyeight.com:

"Obama is committed to socialism. I mean socialism in the broad sense. I'm not talking about a particular platform adopted by the International Socialist Movement in the late 19th century. I'm talking about a government-dominated, bureaucratically-controlled, politician-dicatated way of life. Not only have we taken over GM, Chrysler and AIG, but there's a czar in the White House who believes he can establish the pay scale for 30 companies he's never been in, for hundreds of people he's never met. They just nationalized the student loan program. They designed Obamacare so there's a backdoor road to socialized medicine because it creates an incentive for companies to drop their employees. There's evidence that hundreds of companies may drop millions of employees from their health insurance and have them go buy individual insurance. So there's a lot of different practices that would lead us to believe this is a socialist operation."


May 24, 2010 - Newt Gingrich, PhD 



David Alway, MD, neurologist, stated the following in his article "What Does Socialism Have to Do with the Health Care Reform Debate?," available at www.kevinmd.com (accessed July 21, 2010):

"Keep in mind, many people do not understand that health care in the United States is already dominated by governmental controls and government purchasing of health care. At the local, state, and federal levels, there already exist massive controls over physicians, laboratories, medical devices, drugs, hospitals, clinics, storage of patient information with the government itself responsible for 50 percent of all health care spending in the country.

The degree to which the government becomes involved in providing goods and services is the degree to which further socialism is being instituted in medicine. Every bit of money the government spends on health care is money taken from someone else. Government health care is a massive form of wealth redistribution...

If you listen closely you will notice that those pushing for more government involvement are not actually saying that their proposals will work, that the proposals can be paid for, or even that they have read them in detail. They say, instead, that it is simply the ‘right’ thing to do.

There is a choice to be made. One road leads to greater individual rights, freedom, productivity, good doctor-patient relations, further advances in health care, and better lives. The other leads to statism, government control of the individual, falling levels of productivity, a lack of innovation in medicine, drone-like doctors and nurses, and ultimately, more death."


July 21, 2010 - David Alway, MD 



CON (no)

Martin J. Keenan, JD, practicing attorney, stated the following in his Mar. 23, 2010 article "Health Care Bill Is Not Socialism," available at www.kansasfreepress.com:

"The health care bill has been referred to as 'Socialism' over and over by it's detractors. So I decided to look up the word 'Socialism.' Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines Socialism, to wit:

1. any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods...

 In other words, in Socialism, the government owns the company providing the goods or services and also controls the company. Nothing in the health care bill is Socialism, as defined by Webster.

In a socialistic medical system, the government would nationalize the entire industry. All hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities would be owned by the government. Also, all the employees (including the doctors) would be government employees...

Obama's health care plan is not Socialism, because Socialism is when the government owns and controls the hospitals and hires the doctors and nurses. Obama's plan keeps our current private sector system, but makes it more accessible."


Mar. 23, 2010 - Martin J. Keenan, JD 



Quentin Young, MD, National Coordinator of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), stated the following in an Aug. 11, 2010 email to ProCon.org:

"No, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is not 'socialized medicine' or a 'government takeover' of U.S. health care. Quite the contrary: the new legislation enhances the central role of private, for-profit corporations in our health system.

In fact, by forcing thousands of businesses and millions of individuals to buy health insurance from private corporations, and by subsidizing the purchase of this (often shoddy and inadequate) coverage, the new law is throwing an economic lifeline to a decidedly market-based model of financing care – one that puts profit maximization above the nation’s health.

The new legislation was decisively shaped by the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. These firms lavished hundreds of millions of dollars on Congress in the form of lobbying and campaign contributions over the past several years to make sure their profit-making enterprises were protected under any reform.

Yes, there is some expansion of public programs like Medicaid. And yes, there are some new regulations on private insurers. But the insurers remain firmly in control.

Even if the new law works as planned, at least 23 million people will remain uninsured in 2019, and tens of thousands will continue to suffer and die unnecessarily each year from inadequate access to care. Health care costs will continue to rise, and families will continue to face intolerable financial burdens from medical expenses."


Aug. 11, 2010 - Quentin Young, MD 



Ron Paul, MD, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in his Apr. 26, 2010 article "Socialism vs Corporatism," available at www.ronpaul.com:

"Lately many have characterized this administration as socialist, or having strong socialist leanings. I differ with this characterization. This is not to say Mr. Obama believes in free-markets by any means. On the contrary, he has done and said much that demonstrates his fundamental misunderstanding and hostility towards the truly free market. But a closer, honest examination of his policies and actions in office reveals that, much like the previous administration, he is very much a corporatist. This in many ways can be more insidious and worse than being an outright socialist.

Socialism is a system where the government directly owns and manages businesses. Corporatism is a system where businesses are nominally in private hands, but are in fact controlled by the government. In a corporatist state, government officials often act in collusion with their favored business interests to design polices that give those interests a monopoly position, to the detriment of both competitors and consumers.

A careful examination of the policies pursued by the Obama administration and his allies in Congress shows that their agenda is corporatist. For example, the health care bill that recently passed does not establish a Canadian-style government-run single payer health care system. Instead, it relies on mandates forcing every American to purchase private health insurance or pay a fine. It also includes subsidies for low-income Americans and government-run health care 'exchanges.' Contrary to the claims of the proponents of the health care bill, large insurance and pharmaceutical companies were enthusiastic supporters of many provisions of this legislation because they knew in the end their bottom lines would be enriched by Obamacare."


Apr. 26, 2010 - Ron Paul, MD 



Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives (D-CA), published a Mar. 19, 2010 factsheet on the health care reform bill titled "Health Insurance Reform Mythbuster - 'Democrats' Health Insurance Reform is Socialism and a Government Takeover," available at www.speaker.gov, that stated the following:

"Opponents of health insureance reform continue to spread myths, including peddling the bogus notion that the health reform bill is 'socialism' and a 'government takeover of health care.'  The fact is the reform legislation builds on our  existing private health insureance system...

[H]ealth insurance reform legislation expands private health insurance in America, and is based on increasing choice and competition... among a variety of private insurance plans."


Mar. 19, 2010 - Nancy Pelosi 



Billy Wharton, Co-chair of the Socialist Party USA, stated in his Mar. 15, 2009, "Obama's No Socialist, I Should Know," available at www.washingtonpost.com:

"...[S]ocialists know that Barack Obama is not one of us...

The first clear indication that Obama is not, in fact, a socialist, is the way his administration is avoiding structural changes to the financial system. Nationalization is simply not in the playbook of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and his team...

A national health insurance system as embodied in the single-payer health plan reintroduced in legislation this year by Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-Mich.), makes perfect sense to us. That bill would provide comprehensive coverage, offer a full range of choice of doctors and services and eliminate the primary cause of personal bankruptcy - health-care bills. Obama's plan would do the opposite. By mandating that every person be insured, ObamaCare would give private health insurance companies license to systematically underinsure policy holders while cashing in on the moral currency of universal coverage. If Obama is a socialist, then on health care, he's doing a fairly good job of concealing it."


Mar. 15, 2009 - Billy Wharton 



Howard Fineman, MS, JD, Newsweek's Senior Washington Correspondent, stated the following in his Mar. 26, 2010 article "‘Socialism,’ Chicago Style: Why Industry Quietly Loves Health Care Reform," published in Newsweek:

"There are many things you can call the legislation assembled by President Obama... [b]ut the one thing that you can't call it is 'socialism.' If this is socialism, then Warren Buffett is Karl Marx. It is, rather, a monument to the political philosophy of Chicago - indeed of America - which declares that big business deserves to make a lot of money (a lot of it from the government itself) in the name of doing some good for the citizens.

You'll notice that, while the GOP's tea partiers are in a frenzy, most of the health-care industry is not. The stock market didn't tank when Obama signed the bill, and health-related stocks have been beating the overall average. That is because much of the health-care industry is going to make out big under the new law. Insurers, hospitals, doctors, and drug companies will get 32 million new government-subsidized -customers."


Mar. 26, 2010 - Howard Fineman, MS, JD