Socialized, But Not Scary, Medicine

Socialized medicine. Yes, it’s a scary word. I’m sure images of dirty waiting rooms, long lines, right total knee replacement done on the left knee (Oh, wait. Are those allowed in socialized medicine?), high taxes (start running as fast as you can), and substandard care come to mind. Or maybe you imagine state-run bleak hospitals with flickering flourescent lights and doctors as government drones taking their orders from suited bureaucrats in tall tinted towers. Are these the images that come to mind? Many pundits tell this story and many Americans believe this story. However, the rest of the developed world uses some form of socialized medicine and produces good results.

In later posts I will discuss and compare international health care systems, but for now I am leading up to a quick article by Jim Wallis of Sojourners titled “My Encounter with [Insert Scary Music] … Socialized Medicine!” Jim Wallis is not a health care expert. I wish he would be more exact with his terminology and show more expertise, but he shows that the National Health Service of England provides a timely, effective, and pleasant health care experience.

Those tall tinted towers might not be the home for socialized medicine, but maybe occupied today by the insurance companies that dictate both who receives care and the quality of that care. Let’s re-examine different types of health care systems including socialized medicine. The status quo has many competitors and they all deserve a fresh look.


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