And What Would She Tell Them?
"I know they call Obama's plan ‘socialist,'" says Kastner. "But if the point is to make sure everyone has health care and that costs are kept down, Socialists really could have come up with something better."
As the Socialists note: The bill passed by the House (March 21) would mandate all Americans to purchase health insurance coverage or face a fine. It would also create health insurance exchanges, an idea crafted by the right-wing Heritage Foundation, where people would purchase insurance from private companies. Those not eligible for Medicaid but who still could not afford to purchase insurance would receive public funds from the federal government to purchase bare bones coverage insurance plans from private insurers.
(Socialists) opposes this restructuring on the grounds that the mandates allow private insurers to use the coercive power of the state to enhance their private profits. Insurance credits will serve as a public subsidy to private companies. It is yet another case of public money that could be used for necessary social programs being funneled towards companies that engage in practices that are abusive and detrimental to the overall society.
Wharton argues, as would any self-respecting Socialist, that "public funds would be better spent in creating a national single-payer system. Democratic socialists see such a system of open access to care as one part of a larger transition toward making health-care a guaranteed human right for all."
A little more about Socialism from someone with a sense of humor, since the subject has come up so much recently.
As I understand it, we have taken over the country," says Kastner, who is a proud member of the Milwaukee local of the Socialist Party. "The Republicans in Congress, the talk radio, all through the health-care debate, they've been saying its proof that the Socialists are in charge. Can you believe it?"
There really are socialists in America, unapologetic adherents of the social gospel of Norman Thomas and the "an-injury-to-one-is-an-injury-to-all" working-class populism of Eugene Victor Debs – and, of course, of the remarkable Milwaukee tradition that produced Socialist Mayors Emil Seidel, Dan Hoan and Frank Zeidler, as well as the nation's first Socialist congressman, free-speech champion Victor Berger.