Friday, March 13, 2020

Health Care: The Socialist Alternative (1987)

From the March 1987 issue of the Socialist Standard

What would health care in socialism be like? The Socialist Party can't give a blueprint; we can't conjure it out of thin air. But we can consider it in comparison with present-day society.

In socialism, no nurses or doctors would be prevented from contributing their different skills and energies by the dictat of the dole queue. Hospitals would be run in accordance with the wishes of the wider community and not, as at present, by some Health Board and balance sheet, or by some manager just out of the army.

Hospitals wouldn't need sponsored events and charity cans to fund the new kidney machine or body scanner. A system of production for use would unleash the productive capacities of women and men who would voluntarily co-operate to meet needs.

Health care wouldn't mean patching people up to stick them back in factories that poison their lungs, or back to the jobs and pressures that needlessly cause stress. It wouldn't involve leaving hospital just to return to cramped, damp, cold housing. In short, health care in socialism wouldn't just mean the absence of disease. it would mean taking full control of our lives.

These are just some ideas. Much more could be discussed — we're not short of arguments in favour of a sane society without money or wages, leaders or states. What we are short of. though, are socialists.

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