The Question of Socialized Medicine

Mike Brochu

    The term Socialized Medicine is used to describe a system of publicly administered national health care. This system can range from programs in which the government runs hospitals and health organizations to programs in which there is national universal health care. Although, these programs are often associated with communist run countries, every Western Country except the United States has some form of socialized medicine.  England has had a socialized program since 1948. That year, the country passed the National Health Service Act, which provided free physician and hospital services for all citizens. Recently, the program has been amended to include small fees for doctor services; however, the concept is still intact.

   In the United States, public opinion has been slow to accept socialized medicine, often on the grounds that the program will be costly and will lessen the quality of patient care. These sentiments were especially visible during the Clinton Administration's failed attempt to implement a national health care plan. Despite these feelings, many grass roots and non-profit organizations advocating universal health care have been formed in the last half decade.  At the same time, numerous organizations promoting a public health care system have lobbied congress in an effort to keep medicine in its current state. This has led to a potential political battle which our country will be forced to deal with in the coming decades.


Sites which Support Socialized Health Care

Universal Health Care 2000 This is the home page for Universal Health Care 2000, a national grass roots organization that advocates universal health care. This site offers information on ways  to help advance the cause of Universal health care, as well as ways to become involved locally.
Universal Health Care Action Network This is the nationwide organization that most actively promotes universal health care in the United States. The web page goes into details about their strategies and resources as well as outlining the arguments for universal health care.
Physicians For a National Health Program This organization is a group of physicians who are advocating universal health care. They believe that high-quality health care is an inalienable right and that as physicians it is their responsibility to ensure that the entire population receives this care. They therefore oppose for-profit health care coverage and want a democratically  controlled single-payer system in place.
Analysis for the Cost of Universal Health Care on the State of Maryland Often times, the complaint against universal health care is that it will be economically unfeasible. This study actually shows that a system of universal health care which covered all Marylanders, including the estimated 760,000 uninsured persons in the state, would actually reduce the total health spending in the state by about $345.8 million (i.e., 1.7 percent).
Connecticut Coalition for Universal Health Care This web page supports a bill in Connecticut which would install universal health care into the state. This is interesting because it shows the logistics of an actual system which has been proposed and is currently being debated.
Frequently Asked Questions about Universal Health Care Although dry and unexciting, this web site is perhaps the most informative of all of the sites. It provides answers to many common misconceptions concerning "socialized" and the "single-payer" system of health care. 
An Article by a retired professor, Gerald Cavanaugh, arguing for Universal Health Care This web page is one man's argument for universal health care. Within his article is an interesting history, which outlines how the health care system arrived at its current state. Also there are a number of factoids which support the claim that the health care system, in its present state, is flawed.
A Word About Socialized Medicine This is an article which details many of the ways that  "Socialized" health care is better for this country than public for-profit health care system that is currently in place.


Sites against Socialized Health Care

The Dangers of Socialized Medicine This is the online version of a book which was published in 1994. Many of the chapters specifically address the "horrendous" Clinton Health Care Plan, proposed the previous year. This book makes arguments against socialized medicine on both economic and ethical grounds and was written by several respected economists and scholars.
Libertarian Articles against Socialized medicine This is a collection of articles which support the public health care model. Included in this web page are discussions of the socialized system of health care currently in place in Canada, and an argument by a physician, Joe Mays, MD which states that when we socialize health care we will deny those who can afford better health care the opportunity to receive it. 
Socialized Medicine vs. Private Health Care This is a site run by which supports the private health care system. This site focuses primarily on the policy implications and consequences of socializing health care in the United States.  
The Cato Institute The Cato institute has worked on preventing the nationalization of the U.S. health care system for many years. They are in support of free-market alternatives to socialized medicine as well as managed care. There are numerous quality documents on this site.