by Doctor Science
Call me a slow learner. It wasn't until I read Jonathan Chait's piece on Health Care As a Privilege: What the GOP Won’t Admit that I grasped why so many people have been calling the Affordable Care Act "socialism".
It hasn't made any sense to me, because I know socialists, I was raised by one, I practically *am* one -- and a government program requiring you to support for-profit insurance companies is *not* socialism.
But Chait explains it so I get it:
What is being disputed is whether the punishments to the losers in the market system should include, in addition to these other things, a denial of access to non-emergency medical treatment. The Republican position is that it should. They may not want a woman to have to suffer an untreated broken ankle for lack of affordable treatment. Likewise, I don’t want people to be denied nice televisions or other luxuries. I just don’t think high-definition television or nice clothing are goods that society owes to one and all. That is how Republicans think about health care.[bolds mine and from Anne Laurie at Balloon Juice.]
This is why it’s vital to bring yourself face-to face with the implications of mass uninsurance — not as emotional manipulation, but to force you to decide what forms of material deprivation ought to be morally acceptable. This question has become, at least at the moment, the primary philosophical divide between the parties. Democrats will confine the unfortunate to many forms of deprivation, but not deprivation of basic medical care. Republicans will. The GOP is the only mainstream political party in the advanced world to hold this stance.
The penny drops!
What I like about socialism is the idea that people need to take care of each other, that we're all in this life together and we should help each other through it. And that's precisely what people are objecting to in "Obamacare": taking care of each other, feeling a social connection.
When you don't feel (and don't want to feel) that social connection, when you resent the idea of taking care of each other, then yes, I can see that even supporting a major industry might be labeled "socialism". "Socialism" in this sense isn't actual, y'know, *socialism*, but it is the feeling that's at the root of actual-y'know-socialism. So it's not as completely off-the-wall, coming-out-of-left[heh]-field as I supposed.
As to how the GOP came to be the only major political party in the G20 to view health care as a privilege, let's just say that the concept of a social connection has a different complexion in the US than it does in other countries.
a type of marriage ceremony, common in Scotland, where the guests each paid a penny towards the expenses and anything left over went towards the couple’s new home. ... The idea of the subject would seem to be that no richer couple could be happier, more loving, gracious and handsome, and no father of the bride could offer hospitality more generous and convivial than this, laid on by the community as a whole.