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Shocked, shocked to find socialism in America

Do critics of Obama's health reforms realize how socialistic we already are?

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The less some Americans know, the more strident and voluble they become. Take socialism. The wailing about it over healthcare reform proves my proposition.

Shrill critics menacingly brandish "socialism" to terrify the unthinking, forgetting – or willfully ignoring – that while the United States is capitalist, it's also hip deep in various modes of socialism.

Republicans apparently don't know that it was their beloved President Theodore Roosevelt who in 1912 proposed national health insurance for all.

Some American critics of socialized medicine cite nightmarish accounts of bungled medical treatment abroad, boasting that America has the best medical system in the world.

As a foreign correspondent, I lived in Britain, Germany, Israel, and the Soviet Union and did not discover any sapping of a nation's vital essences because the public enjoyed publicly funded national health insurance.

As a US citizen who lived more than two decades abroad, I found socialized national health insurance programs are often more compassionate and charitable than what I have seen with profit-driven, private insurance companies in the United States.

Some years ago my former wife took my sons on a driving tour of Britain and became involved in an accident. My elder son had a badly broken leg and was taken to a hospital for six weeks until his leg healed. Although I didn't live in Britain at the time, the British National Insurance system paid all his hospital and doctor bills. When I offered to reimburse the hospital, the British charitably declined and only charged me $35 for a crutch my son used to hobble aboard a plane home to America.

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