Obamacare isn’t socialism, but a block against single-payer plan

By Michael J. Pramenko

On Nov. 22, I nearly lost my breakfast reading Josh Penry’s Daily Sentinel op-ed column. He compared Obamacare to socialism in an ongoing organized effort to convince Americans that the current health reform effort is straight out of the old Soviet Union.

Back in the 1980s, President Reagan signed a law, know by the name “EMTALA,” that guarantees access to health care via an American emergency room to all comers. Sound a bit like socialism?

Ever since the pasage of that law, health reform policy wonks have been trying to find a more efficient alternative to using the ultra-expensive emergency room as the safety net for uninsured Americans.

A solution would reduce the expensive cost shift to private insurance. If you rule out a single-payer system, your solutions are few and complex.

All this raises some important questions for Obamacare critics:

What do critics propose to end the overuse of the most expensive place in the world to receive health care, a U.S. emergency room?

What do critics propose to enable access to valuable health care long before the need for emergency care?

What do critics propose to end the abuses of the health insurance industry that have cancelled insurance plans on an annual basis for decades — sometimes in the middle of life-saving treatments?

What mechanism do critics propose to insure access to health insurance for those Americans with pre-existing conditions?

How do critics propose to stop the unsustainable inflation in health care without subjecting Americans to unfair insurance practices designed by shareholder-driven, for-profit health insurance companies?

Certainly, Obamacare delivers reasonable answers to these questions. Meanwhile, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has voted more than 40 times to either repeal or dismantle Obamacare. At the same time, not a single vote has been cast on a replacement, although a Republican bill was introduced in the House in September.

It reminds me of the quote from Aesop, “When all is said and done, more is said than done.”

Make no mistake, avoiding a single-payer socialized system of health care while addressing the basic policy objectives above is not simple. Saving private health insurance companies from more liberal versions of health care reform required legislative gymnastics by Obamacare authors.

In fact, the provisions in Obamacare proving to be the most difficult to implement are the very provisions that were used to ensure the need for private health insurance in America. The individual mandate and health insurance exchanges, including HealthCare.gov, are designed for the private health insurance companies. If you want guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions for those Americans currently without insurance, you either favor the concepts in Obamacare or you’ll need a single-payer system.

Arguably, a single-payer system would save money and would be extraordinarily easier to implement. Many countries have found that they don’t need health insurance companies while outperforming the United States on cost and quality in health care.

Wanting to avoid the prospect of a single-payer system, Republicans originally advanced the ideas of an individual mandate and insurance exchanges. Health insurance companies followed.

In light of these truths, Penry’s column leaves us with many more questions than answers.

It also explains why a viable alternative has not been voted on in the House of Representatives as the “repeal and replace” mantra continues. They have mastered the repeal efforts — it’s that nagging replacement part that is proving so difficult.

We are unlikely to see an actual vote on a comprehensive health reform plan from the Republicans. Current proposals on that side of the aisle fall far short of the protections alluded to above. Fair-minded Republicans, including some at the Colorado Medical Society and on the Club 20 Health Reform Committee, understand that Obamacare represents an alternative to socialized medicine and the socialized emergency room.

More importantly, if Obamacare were to fail under the weight of the provisions designed to protect the insurance industry, a re-energized cry for a far simpler and less expensive single payer system would emerge. 

Michael J. Pramenko, M.D., is the executive director of Primary Care Partners. He serves on the Club 20 Health Care Reform Committee and is a past president of the Colorado Medical Society.


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Sentinel readers contemplating the contrast between Dr. Michael Pramenko’s explanation of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare isn’t socialism, but a block against single-player plan”) and right-wing polemicist Charles Krauthammer’s hysterical rant (“Breakdown of constitutional norms spells problems far into the future”) should have little doubt why Americans are more mistrustful (“Poll:  Americans losing their faith in each other”).

As Leon Rodriguez aptly notes (“Senate filibuster rules allow dangerous obstruction”), what Krauthammer disingenuously decries as a “breakdown of constitutional norms” is actually a return to the explicit Constitutional principal of majority rule – and hopefully “spells” a revival of constructive governance “far into the future”.

Krauthammer conveniently fails to admit that – in January 2009—Republicans vowed to deny President Obama a second term by obstructing his voter-endorsed agenda.  While glibly chanting “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!”, House Republicans—rather than even allow a vote on the American Jobs Act of 2011 – instead threatened debt-ceiling default, sabotaging the already anemic economic recovery in hopes of accruing electoral gains in 2012.

After President Obama was decisively re-elected, Republicans renewed their treasonously conspiratorial obstructionism – leveraging cynical opposition to “ObamaCare” to force a government shutdown and another threatened default (which exacerbated unemployment and cost our economy billions).

When President Obama patiently waited for a return to “civility” and/or “bipartisanship”, Republicans pilloried him for “leading from behind”.  While House Republicans (and our own Scott Tipton) voted 46 timed to “repeal” ObamaCare, they held not a single hearing intended to improve it – much less evaluate the efficacy of their fraudulent “alternative”.

Now, Republicans refuse to cooperate with “technical corrections” legislation, preferring instead to assail President Obama for exercising (and testing the limits of) his executive authority – without mentioning Speaker Boehner’s even more dictatorial obstructionism or House rule changes deliberately intended to thwart majority rule – which Republicans fear most.

How do you know what Republicans “fear most?” Face the facts no matter the language, dialogue, your sewage or any other democrap, AMERICA does not like nor want OBAMACARE. It is a total failure that democraps are running from. They cannot hide. Republicans fear majrity rule. Duh? That has been the methodology for centuries. Evidence the Quinniapac poll which puts “shoe in” democraps now running behind udall is a good example. I see Bill is on board with husseincare oops obamacare becoming referred to as the Affordable Care Act as opposed to the much liked obamacare moniker. Numbers are numbers and facts are facts. You cannot run and hide Bill. No matter how you and democraps try to spin it——it is unwanted and a complete failure. Take note that hillary and her wife limpwilly are now trailing in Quinniapac polling.

Contrasting Jerry “Sand-for-Brains’” incoherent rant with Michael Pramenko’s cogent explanation of the public policy issues underlying the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) should tell sentient Sentinel readers all they need to know.

We can surmise the extent of Republicans’ anti-democratic fear of “majority rule” from the facts that they have undertaken voter suppression measures in at least 20 Republican- controlled states, that Senate Republicans abused the filibuster some 400 times before Democrats changed the rules as to most presidential appointments (only), that House Republicans changed their rules to prevent a vote to avoid the government shutdown, and that Majority Leader John Boehner refuses to bring popular legislation to a vote in the House – not because it would fail, but because he knows it would pass with bipartisan support.

We also see Godwin’s Law in action, as Jerry “Sand-for-Brains” resorts to racist and demeaning epithets – rather than any evidence – to predict that the ACA will fail.  As a combat veteran enjoying “socialized medicine” through the VA, he evinces no empathy for the 40+ million of his fellow citizens who stand to benefit from the ACA.  Moreover, even if he fought to defend a government “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, Jerry evidences no respect for its Constitutionally elected officials.  Sad!

PART 1. Here come the libs again with their ad hominem “libspeak” and left-vs-right snark. I refer specifically to Pramenko’s phrase, “”I nearly lost my breakfast reading Josh Penry …” and Hugenberg’s “Jerry ‘Sand-for-Brains’” response to the political epithet, “democraps.” Lovely all around. I get so tired of this kind of garbage that I automatically tune out the speaker.
As an aside, it is quite laughable that Hugenberg would seem to shamelessly imply that his intelligence is greater than that of Charles Krauthammer. That’s a no-braner: it’s not remotely close. I’ll explain why.
Apparently unlike Hugenberg, I am able to appreciate excellent writing skills even if I disagree with what was written. For example, among leftists, Maureen Dowd rates at top of my list of skilled writers for her consistently superior syntax. I would also nominate writers such as Krauthammer, Peggy Noonan, Camille Paglia, Kathleen Parker in the “best syntax” category of writing awards.
Now on to substance. Pramenko is in a very limited way correct when he takes Josh Penry to task for saying Obamacare is socialism — but that’s the end of his correctness. Technically, Obamacare is not “socialism”, it is fascism. Thomas Sowell wrote and excellent column titled, “Socialist or Fascist” (http://bit.ly/11dB45c), which explains the difference.
“Socialism” is where government owns the means of production. “Fascism” is “private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control.” ~ Webster’s New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition.
I would expand that definition: fascism is private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, in which “government” is used as a “business” tool by private interests. Another way of articulating the same idea is: fascism is de facto private ownership and control of government.
John Flynn defined the word thusly: “Fascism is a system of social organization in which the political state is a dictatorship supported by a political elite and in which the economic society is an autarchial capitalism, enclosed and planned, in which the government assumes responsibility for creating adequate purchasing power through the instrumentality of national debt and in which militarism is adopted as a great economic project for creating work as well as a great romantic project in the service of the imperialist state.” [As We Go Marching, p. 161, 2nd ed.] — John T. Flynn (1882-1964) American Journalist and Author.
A “fascist” is a “businessman” who uses the police powers of government (via bribes, special-interest legislation, holding office himself, etc) to corruptly increase profits and eliminate or reduce competition for his (or her) business/es beyond what they would be in a genuinely fair and free marketplace comprised of willing sellers and willing buyers. Creating captive markets, as Obamacare does, would be included.

PART 2. Many Democrats and Republicans are fascists, especially the ones in Congress. To paraphrase Jesse Ventura in a conversation with Willie Nelson and Alex Jones, the DEMS and GOP are like professional wrestling: they pretend to be adversaries in public. But behind closed doors, they’re good buddies, hanging out with each other, making business deals and having dinner together at fancy restaurants and at each other homes and mansions, all the while using the coercion-based police powers of “government” to enrich themselves.
IMO, there are five basic groups of people: 1) fascist “liberals” who use “government” to enrich themselves, 2) functionally illiterate lemming “liberals” who only spout meaningless “leftist” talking points, 3) fascist “conservatives” who use “government” to enrich themselves, 4) functionally illiterate lemming “conservatives” who only spout meaningless “right-wing” talking points, and 5) illiterate, apathetic, passive/aggressive disordered underachieving loser types who feel some sick sense of personal empowerment by trolling talk strings and spouting illiterate low-IQ drivel in an effort to distract and destroy meaningful and intellectually honest truth-seeking conversation.
Despite the best cheerleading efforts of leftist propagandists of the Pramenko-Hugenberg ilk, Obamacare is already in the process of imploding before our very eyes. Only low-information citizens have any interest in it at all. Young people don’t care. Nobody is signing up. Everybody knows it’s both immoral and mathematically impossible, so they’re just waiting to see what happens.
Absolute best case is that well-intended ignorant people — “benign ignorance” is an oxymoron — held the vain hope that coercively increasing the risk pool via threats of government violence would lower prices. That is sheer self-evident nonsense which ignores the empirically provable natural laws of economics. The one and ONLY defense any individual has against the price of something being too high (and therefore Unaffordable) is the freedom/right to not buy it. Contrary to the ignorant opinions of Obama supporters and other leftists, creating captive markets can only guarantee higher prices.
The fraud of Obamacare reminds me of Colorado’s fraud of compulsory automobile insurance, which was sold to voters under the rubric the “nobody should have to be the victim of an uninsured driver” and “uninsured drivers raise insurance rates for everybody else.” As it turned out, those marketing deceptions were outright lies.
Before compulsory auto insurance, prices were reasonable, and you only had to pay $25/year extra for uninsured driver coverage. Now that auto insurance is compulsory, prices went up, and you STILL have to pay extra for uninsured driver coverage. How about them apples?! Fascinating how you will never see such as Pramenko, Hugenberg, et ilk talk about that.

PART 3. Let’s cut past the surface stuff and get to the nitty-gritty core of the problem of why Obamacare can’t possibly work. All but liars will admit to the truth of the following stipulation: every single one of us, as an individual, wants to get paid as much as possible for his own labor and products, while simultaneously paying as little as possible (cheap is good, free is better) for the labor and products of “the other guy.” For some reason, we humans tend to perceive the physical effort (aka “work”) required in the material plane to provide food, clothing and shelter for our robes of flesh (aka “bodies”) as pain to be avoided if possible.
Fortunately or unfortunately, free markets consisting of willing buyers and willing sellers are the only honest and fair means of determining the price of A’s labor in terms of B’s labor. This is also something you will never hear duopoly “dog-and-pony-show” politicians, or leftist propagandists of the Pramenko-Hugenberg ilk, talk about.
While accusing others of “not caring” — or as Hugenberg put it, “he evinces no empathy for the 40+ million of his fellow citizens” — as much as they, the self-anointed, do, leftists completely ignore the fact they are proposing that low-wage burger flippers foot the tax bill for fulfilling their financially idiotic Utopian dreams with other people’s money/labor. In other words, these flaming hypocrites evince no conscience or Golden Rule moral values when it comes to forcing people who make a lot less money than they do pay the tax freight for their leftist economic ignorance. I find that level of intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy to be both disgusting and offensive.
I very much prefer a “system” constitutionally creating a level economic playing field (with equal opportunity for all) to a “system” of manipulation and deception where all parties compete for the inherently evil and inevitably corrupting One Ring of government Power (Over the Other) so as to be able to implement idiocy via the forcible government coercion of legal tender and taxation powers.
At the end of the day, the leftists are left with nothing but creating infinite amounts of fraudulent and blatantly unconstitutional debt-as-money currency to pay for their Utopian dreams. Let’s call it “QE Infinity”. In other words, regardless of their spoken blitherings, the harsh reality of what they propose is monetizing health care costs, which amounts to one sixth of the national economy. It is impossible to do that without devaluing the already existing monetary numbers (aka “currency”) existing in the accounts of America’s savers and pensioners.
So we have a choice: either admit to the functional economic illiteracy of de facto fascists — remember, “Obamacare” equals “fascism” — such as Pramenko and Hugenberg, or get prepared for third world status, $50,000/oz gold and 80% “haircuts”.
Ain’t “politics” just grand?!

PART 4. For those who don’t understand Economics 101, and who might be tempted to say that Obamacare doesn’t make burger flippers pay the taxes to fund Obamacare, consider the following: It is impossible to tax “the rich” to pay for “the poor” because to the rich, taxes are but one item of overhead which get automatically factored into the prices of the consumer goods we all buy, including both “poor” and “rich”. So, contrary to “right wing” talking points, “the poor” do in fact pay the “income” taxes which are embedded in the prices of the consumer goods we all buy.
At the end of the day, labor creates all things useful to human beings, and, therefore, all REAL things capable of being taxed via monetary manipulation. At the end of the day, looking past monetary deception, in any so-called “economy”, we are merely trading our time/labor with each other. The difference is that some folks, such as Mssrs. Pramenko and Hugenberg (who pretend to “care” about the “poor” more than the rest of us) think it’s just fine for them to get paid a lot more money for their labor than the burger flippers do. After all, aren’t the liberals with all their faux-altruism and Utopian dreams a higher form of life than the rest of us?
Having read the works of such as Ludwig Von Mises (“Human Action”, “Socialism: An Economic and Sociological Analysis”), Frédéric Bastiat (“The Law”, “Economic Sophisms”), Friedrich Hayek (“The Road To Serfdom”, “The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism”), Murray Rothbard (“Man, Economy, and State”, “The Ethics of Liberty”), Edmund Contoski (“Makers and Takers”), Hans-Hermann Hoppe (“A Theory of Socialism and Capitalism”), I disagree.
To make it harder for wannabe-clever sophists to “spin” my remarks against me, let me make it perfectly clear that I do not envy or begrudge Messrs. Pramenko and Hugenberg for whatever amount of money they make. It’s none of my business, and I couldn’t care less. Whatever it is, I just don’t want them to use the coercive power of government to do it. In a free society of free marketplaces of both ideas and material goods, I don’t have to buy their B.S. And that’s good enough for me.
I have already written about viable libertarian alternatives to the fascism that is Obamacare, so I won’t go into that again, here. Besides, fascists aren’t interested in courteous discourse or in learning anything new. They just want to demonize those with whom they disagree, à la the tactic said by some to have been invented by Nazi political theorist Carl Schmitt.

CNN has a very interesting new poll that not only debunks the notion that Americans have already decided Obamacare is a failure, but also reveals that Americans overwhelmingly oppose the GOP’s conservative critique of the health care law.
According to the poll (pdf), which surveyed American adults between Nov. 18-20 with a margin of error of ±3.5 points:
1.Most Americans believe Obamacare’s current problems will be solved. 54 percent say they believe current problems will be fixed, compared with 43 percent who say they won’t be.
2.Most Americans believe it’s too early to judge whether Obamacare is a success or failure. A total of 53 percent think it is too early to say whether Obamacare is a success or failure. A total of 39 percent think it’s a failure and 8 percent already think it is a success.
3.Most Americans do not support conservative critiques of Obamacare. According to the poll, 41 percent of Americans think Obamacare is too liberal, slightly more than 40 percent who support Obamacare. But 14 percent think it’s not liberal enough.

As you might expect, the poll’s crosstabs show that most Republicans are certain Obamacare can’t be fixed and has already failed, but outside of the GOP universe, people aren’t merely open to Obamacare, they are optimistic about its prospects and want it to work.

Obviously, it doesn’t matter how open or optimistic the public is if the Obama administration can’t ultimately deliver on the promise of Obamacare, but if they do, most Americans are on their side. Republicans have bet everything on failure. If they lose that bet, it will be an absolute political nightmare for them—and it should be.

I too tire of Mr. Hilgenberg constant shelling of republicans and/or tea party. Facts are facts and all political parties have serious problems. That being said I still take this administration for lying, NSA, Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS, SSA, and especially intentionally misleading the American people so as to secure an election win. I believe in America. Indeed why do they sit on opposite sides of “the aisle.” Why do all of them constantly get away with throwing their sworn duties to the wind? Why do we refer to immigration reform? It doesnt exist. We HAVE laws already. The politicians want “amnesty” in hopes of buying votes. Why do we never see voting other than “along party lines?” What a joke. However as long as Hugenberg and others continue to praise the democrat party I will do my level best to keep every Americans mind n the failures of this grand mess. My gosh what every country on earth must be thinking of us now. We are ALL a joke. Socialism or whatever name we do NOT take our “leaders” to task as to why the do as they wish. We work only for the good of the “party.” We pass crap in order to but votes. Totally amazes me that a man called hitler was in power just 68 short years ago and now just look at the once PROUD and GREAT AMERICA.

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