Radical right-wingers speak of the evils of "socialized medicine" when they attack plans such as the S-CHIP or the health care plans of Hillary Clinton. They act as if the American medical system is some perfect system and that adoption of government programs such as S-CHIP will ruin this perfect system for everyone. They say that if the government assumes a bigger role in providing or guaranteeing medical care for Americans, it will lead to government telling citizens what kind of care they can get and who can provide that care.
What they don't talk about, however, is the fact that for most of us we already exist in such a system, only it isn't the government telling us what care we can get or who can provide it, it is private insurance companies. Companies that aren't accountable to anyone but their owners and officers.
This "insuranization of medicine", to coin a phrase, means that the medical care that you get is dependent on decisions made by your insurance company. The insurance company decides what care is allowed and what care is not allowed. It decides what should be covered and what shouldn't be covered. It decides what medical providers you will be allowed to see and what providers you won't be allowed to see, if you want reimbursement for the cost of those providers.
This system has led to the average cost to employers for medical insurance coverage for a family of four being, on average, $11,500 per year and has led to the average family of four paying $3000 a year toward their own insurance coverage. These figures, by the way, are from the National Coalition for Health Care.
The issue before Americans isn't whether some powerful institutions are going to control their health care and dictate their coverage. That ship has sailed. The issue before Americans is who will hold such institutions accountable, the public or private individuals? That's the real issue and that's what Americans who want health care reform should be pointing out to Americans.