Princeton economist Uwe Reinhardt asks why, if socialized medicine is so evil, have both political parties “long reserved for our veterans the purest form of socialized medicine, the vast health system operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs”?
Socialized medicine refers to systems that couple social health insurance with government-owned and operated health care facilities, such as Britain’s N.H.S. or the Hong Kong Hospital Authority, a still-appreciated legacy of British colonialism. Socialized medicine also typified the health systems operated by the former socialist countries in the Soviet orbit. Evidently, the V.A. [Veterans Affairs] health system perfectly fits the definition of socialized medicine.
Occasionally one does come across an American politician who mutters something about privatizing the V.A. health system. I doubt this idea would have much political traction, either as part of a party’s platform or in the presidential candidates’ campaign repertoire. ….
So far I have not received a satisfactory answer from detractors of “socialized medicine” to my question of why we have the V.A. health system when socialized medicine putatively is so evil.
Uwe E. Reinhardt, “Where ‘Socialized Medicine’ Has a U.S. Foothold“, Economix, NY Times blog, 3 August 2012.
HT Mark Thoma