This is a based on comments I made in the Guardian newspaper on the 11/5/13. Based on an article by Deborah Orr titled:
“As someone who uses alcohol as a prop myself, I can see there’s a problem”.
I had a reply which I commented on and I have combined both for this post. The reply had the effect of inspiring a few more thoughts about this subject for me. I have added italics for where I have changed/added content.
The initial comment was on one aspect of the article:
I don’t think people should distinguish between a health system run by a government and a private company.
A person should not be sitting in a waiting room of a government health system feeling they have received this care for free. They haven’t, because just like a so called “private health system” they have paid a fair amount of money out of taxes to pay for this care over many years. The real cost to a citizen out of their taxes might well be higher than the cost of a so called “private system”.
This furphy that you are not in a “paid by you” system because you are using the NHS or whatever your countries government health service has been called is outdated thinking and a form of manipulative rhetoric by certain groups in society.
What you are in, in a government system is a holding pattern regarding waiting lists and choice of medical practitioner. The argument is always about service. The government health system is chipping away at what you have rightly paid for out of your taxes. Private health services may not even cover all your care costs without you putting in extra funds again from your own pocket.
Now you may by now be getting my point here and that is that both government and private health care are funded out of your pocket.
Because you pay for a government health system you are basically funding an alternate version of private health. The pros and cons of each system have nothing to do with both still being a health service under capitalism funded by individuals who use them.
There is no welfare component, only in rhetoric.
Don’t have the wool pulled over your eyes.
This is capitalism and you pay for whatever health care you receive out of your own pocket.
You are not receiving some component of welfare when using the public health system.
It is already in a practical sense, privatised. Selling a government health system is only ideological illusionary book keeping under the guise of efficiency.
We all know where the profits from efficiency go these days.
My overall point is that people should not perceive the two systems as being anything but two different products under a capitalist system.
You can (my original in the reply was “we could”) nit pick all day on whether a private health scheme is at bottom only an insurance product whereas the government scheme isn’t. Depending on a persons politics there is bound to be an ideological bent to this issue. That’s only natural.
How / why either health service receives your / our money (and the public system isn’t just used by the poor by the way) is neither here nor there. If you are paying money under a capitalist system that goes towards a health system, you are paying money. Now if you wish to say that when you get a service back from that system (who you have paid money to via taxes from your job) that that service is welfare then that is up to the individual. I won’t be thinking or saying it.
For me, I pay money for health care, it comes via (lets use insurance terms here) a broker, who happens to be the government.
I live and vote in a capitalist system and consider a service I receive back as something I have paid for under capitalism.
The government health system may or may not be (I don’t have any research but people pay a great deal of tax) a cheaper system for poorer people or people who do not wish to pay “twice” for health care, that is all.
Under capitalism that is good if people have managed to find cheaper health care, that is part of a market system is it not?
It’s not as complex as political rhetoric would have it seem.
This pretense that a major ideology (whatever it is) isn’t the over riding presence that governs the way we live is unusual thinking.
All else right and left politically tends to be coloured oratory.
Capitalism is about money and paying, that is what you do whether private enterprise or government comes calling.