Friday, May 21, 2010

Greece and Socialism

This editorialist made a point I've been thinking about, and as it was well said, let me quote:
Greece was told that if it wanted a bailout, it needed to consider privatizing its government health care system. So tell us again why the U.S. is following Europe's welfare state model.

The requirement, part of a deal arranged by the IMF, the European Union and the European Central bank, is a tacit admission that national health care programs are unsustainable. Along with transportation and energy, the bailout group, according to the New York Times, wants the Greek government to remove "the state from the marketplace in crucial sectors."

...

Of course most of the media have been largely silent about the health care privatization measure for Greece, as it conflicts with their universal, single-payer health care narrative.

The public health system in the Hellenic Republic is operated by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, where centralized decisions and rules are made.

It provides free or low-cost treatment through what is essentially a single-payer system established in 1983 when the Socialist Party was in power. Family members and retirees are also covered. Like the systems in Britain and Canada, it has agonizingly long waiting lists.

It should be no surprise that in Greece, health care spending as a percentage of the economy is relatively steep. According to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development data, it's higher than that in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and Japan. Despite all the spending, Greece could never cover 100% of its citizens, reaching only about 83% for primary care.

...

Already we've seen government agencies tell us that the initial estimates for the Democrats' health care overhaul were too low. We've watched as patients have suffered in Britain and Canada because the large demand placed on their "free" health care systems caused them to be overloaded.

We've stood in awe as Washington, refusing to hear the strong message from voters, forced on the American people a new health care system that most clearly did not want.

What more do we need to see?

Life provides us with an infinite number of situations that can teach us valuable lessons. The problems in Greece are teaching us one of those right now. If we don't learn from this history lesson, we are bound to repeat it.
The New York Times article mentioned is here. Naturally, they're a little more reserved in their commentary (emphasis mine):
Another reform high on the list is removing the state from the marketplace in crucial sectors like health care, transportation and energy and allowing private investment. Economists say that the liberalization of trucking routes — where a trucking license can cost up to $90,000 — and the health care industry would help bring down prices in these areas, which are among the highest in Europe.
In related news, yesterday the Telegraph in the U.K. opined that the Euro is dead. That means that the economic union in Europe may soon be a footnote in history. Meanwhile, the U.S. seems to continue to work toward a North American economic union.

Why are we copying failed systems after they've already begun collapsing? Is the left actually trying to destroy the U.S.?

President Obama insisted he wanted a system that smooths out economic cycles, preventing crashes and also limiting market highs. He's copying European socialism, however, where they did experience slower growth than the during the good times, but they crashed just as quickly as we did. By copying their faltering policies, he and Congress are setting up America to fail and pushing us down the path toward civil unrest.

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