-Medicare for old people
-Medicaid for poor people
-all emergency room care is basically socialized, right? No one's ever "refused", whether or not they can pay or have insurance, right?
-Hospitals and doctors are so heavily regulated with government oversight to an extent that, it could be argued that they basically are a branch of government (you up on your HIPAA rules? if doctors "take Medicare patients" this obligates them to this, that and the other, doesn't it? what prices they may charge, etc?)
-HMOs... they were essentially created by the government were they not?
-And finally the insurance situation is largely government-caused. Why do we all have this funny idea that health insurance must be attached to our employer, in the first place? (You don't expect a "food-purchasing insurance plan" from your employer...) Why does health insurance cover even regular doctor visits as opposed to just catastrophic events (as, you would think, "insurance" exists for)? Because of a post-World War 2 policy of considering these "fringe benefits" as non-taxable income. In effect the government provides a subsidy to all employers to induce them to provide insurance, and then of course that immediately allows for all sorts of laws and regulations about what that insurance must be like. (Must cover birth control pills! etc)
This all may not add up to "Socialism" with a capital S of course but it does function as a kind of farmed-out, piecemeal socialism.
I'm hard pressed to identify very many actual free-market features of health care. I mean you get a job, sign up for HMO, pick your doctor (free market..I guess) from inside the "network" (not so free market), and from that point on all your visits, and what you pay for each cotton swab, are tightly controlled and rationed by actuaries. There's no "shopping around" or "bargain-hunting" here.
Given all this, to just say "we shouldn't move to Socialized medicine" isn't very helpful. A lot of lefties will argue that our system is already halfway there, but is very inefficient as a result - and they will have a point. Instead of hitching all their wagons to a "no" - "no socialism in health care" - I wish conservatives would adopt a more pro-active position, such as "we need to reform the health care system", similar to how they have positioned themselves on Social Security. "Reform" in this case would consist of some much needed free market fresh air, including:
-end to employer-based health insurance tax incentives
-aim in all things to alter the nature and understanding of "insurance" so that it is used only for catastrophic life events, not every single damn checkup, tube of toothpaste, etc.
-less regulation/control and more free market whereever feasible
I don't know. This may not be a political winner. The "Baby Boomers" are going to be an obstacle to any attempt at true free market reform of course, as they grow old and rely more and more on the government to subsidize their health care. But just saying "no socialism!" doesn't seem like much more of a political winner, and its effect is to freeze us at the amount of socialism we have, which, let's face it, is pretty damn much. With the result that as frustration grows with our current system's idiocies, a constituency builds more and more for a true nationalized health care system.
Well, ERs are "socialized" because they're free, or at least free to privileged classes.
But they have NO government budget or other reliable source of constant income, hence, hospitals can and do go out of business.
under socialism, they can't.