The word “socialism” invariably comes into the discussion of government-administered health care for all. The term is seldom applied to our public schools and other publicly funded programs.

Would a state-directed health care program for all in Oregon be considered socialism because it is state-run while schools are not? Actually, the funding of schools does include money from the state.

Some of us are afraid of “big government” controlling our institutions. We want to be in control. But is that the best way?

Both our health care systems and our educational systems rate poorly in taking care of the needs of all our citizens as compared to many other developed countries such as our neighbor to the north. Canada is in many ways similar to us except for one seeming big difference. In health care and education, they have adopted a provincial-wide system of funding and administration. And their outcomes in both these areas are better than ours.

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We espouse in our nation’s founding documents that all are equal and have equal rights to life, liberty and happiness. But we too often have a “Yes, but you have to earn it," no matter the circumstances of birth and what has been dealt to others in life.

It is in all our interests for all to have access to affordable health care. But we won’t have it until we agree to a system that includes everyone. We are not smarter than Canada.

Lawrence S. Eby, MD


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