The American government has been at the forefront of ensuring access to affordable health services to all United States citizens. The American health care benefits can be seen through the provision of different health care programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and now, Obamacare. However, this strategy has faced sharp criticisms with critics arguing that the health insurance mandate propagates the socialist ideology.
Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven created the Cloward-Piven strategy in 1966. Both Cloward and Piven lectured at the Columbia University School of Social Work. This strategy was communicated in an article titled ‘The Weight of the Poor: A Strategy to End Poverty’ posted in The Nation, a liberal magazine. Their strategy was driven by the realization that many American citizens eligible for welfare did not receive benefits and the fact that a welfare enrolment initiative would in turn, strain local budgets. As such, they called for a national solution aimed at addressing the scourge of poverty, which established a guaranteed annual income (Piven & Cloward, 1966).
Cloward and Piven argued that the ruling class used welfare to weaken the poor members of the society by providing them with a social safety net. They further argue that the poor should not be placated with government hand-outs and entitlements but call for the demise of the welfare system. This would in turn result into financial and political anarchy in which the oppressed poor would rise in revolution and demand for their rights.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act commonly referred to as Obamacare aims at increasing the proportion of health insurance coverage for American citizens and decreasing the total costs of health care. As such, Obamacare requires mandates, subsidizations and tax credits on both the employers and individual members in order to increase the coverage proportion. It forces insurance companies to insure all applicants and offer the equal rates regardless of pre-existing circumstances. The Obamacare provisions are financed by a variety of mandated taxes. These include a yearly fee charged on insurance providers, a Medicare tax charged on incomes above $200,000, and taxes charged on expensive diagnostic equipment and pharmaceuticals among other sources (HR 3200 RH, 1-20,000).
In a nutshell, the Obamacare health program strives to lessen the entire number of persons without health insurance. As such, it obliges all employers and individuals to provide or have health insurance or risk paying a fine. The government will also have more control over the health insurance providers working in a state through mandated insurance exchanges. The Obamacare health program received a lot of criticism and was even challenged in a court of law. However, the US Supreme Court upheld the program’s provisions as constitutional by a vote of 5-4 even though it requires a mandated tax on all persons if they do not acquire health insurance (Haberkorn, 2012).
Socialism is based on social (government) ownership of the means of production. Recently, the Obama administration has strived to provide health care access equally to all persons. This has resulted to an increase in the amount of taxes paid by all income levels across the United States. For instance, the Congressional Budget (CBO) office reports based on data collected from the Internal Revenue Service indicate that the top one percent rich people or income earners paid thirty nine percent of all income taxes while earning thirteen percent of income (Ferrara, 2012). The reports further indicate that the middle twenty percent of income earners paid two point seven percent of the total income despite earning fifteen percent of income. Similarly, the CBO report indicated that the bottom forty percent of income earners did not pay taxes but were instead paid by the Internal Revenue Service a cash sum amounting to ten percent of collected income taxes.
In order for the government to stay in control of the Obamacare mandate, between 15,000 and 20,000 IRS agents will be added to the bureaucracy for the purpose of enforcing Obamacare taxes and regulations, including penalizing citizens for failing to comply with the individual mandate. These agents will, of course, join public employee unions. In addition 21 million hospital and other health care workers who will become government employees (Committee on Ways and Means, 2010). This is undoubtedly socialism.
Socialism implies that the state has some control over the means of production. In implementing the Obamacare health program, the government will control the implementation and taxation of health care. For instance, the delivery of the individual mandate directs all American citizens to have health insurance or risk paying stiff penalties for failing to insure beginning in 2014 (Joint Committee on Taxation, 2012). As such, the state will directly control the provision of health care.
The doctrines of capitalism allow for the forces of supply and demand to determine the economy. This indicates the American economic system is a free market economy. However, with the introduction and the implementation of the Obamacare health program, the freedom of choice is inhibited. Similarly, the provision of health insurance programs is dictated by the government and not by market forces. This is quite the case of a socialist state where the state exerts some control on the provision of social services.
The health insurance mandate also spreads the socialist ideology. As indicated by the Internal Revenue Service and the Congressional Budget Office reports, the successful implantation of the Obamacare health program is subject to the taxation of all American citizens. As such, the middle class and wealthy will fund the services provided to the poor. This is bound to drain or over utilize the health care program owing to the large influx of illegal immigrants or aliens who are not compelled to comply with the individual mandate or purchase health insurance cover and yet they cannot be denied emergency room health care (Edwards, 2012).
In conclusion Obamacare has been forced upon the American people. This is indeed a pill of socialism that will be hard to swallow for many generations to come.
Written By: Charlotte Gilbert
Edwards, J. E. (2010, July 7). “Amnesty Will Cost Americans Billions.” Human Events n. page. Web.
Cloward, R., & Piven, F. F. (1966, May 2). The weight of the poor: A strategy to end poverty. Nation, 202, 510-517.
Suelzer M. (2012, July 17). Health Insurance will be mandatory beginning in 2014. Accessed on 17th April, 2013. http://www.bizfilings.com/toolkit/news/tax-info/health-insurance- mandatory-beginning-2014.aspx
Ferrera P. (2012, December 20). Is President Obama really a socialist? Let’s analyze Obamanomics. Accessed on 17th April 2013.
Haberkorn, Jennifer (2012-06-28). “Health care ruling: Individual mandate upheld by Supreme Court”. Politico. Accessed on 17th April 2013.
United States. Joint Committee on Taxation. Congressional Budget Office. Estimates for the Insurance Coverage Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Updated for the Recent Supreme Court Decision. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43472-07-24-2012-CoverageEstimates.pdf. July 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2013.
United States of America. Committee on Ways and Means. Subcommittee on Oversight. The Wrong Prescription: Democrats’ Health Overhaul Dangerously Expands IRS Authority. Comp. Dave Camp and Charles Boustany. Washington, DC: n.p., 2010. Web.