One of the many propaganda claims made by advocates of socialism is that in free markets, health care is just a privilege instead of a human right. Socialist candidates routinely demonize profit and private initiative and promise a “humanized” cost-free health care system for everyone.
And of course, it’s one thing to promise health care to everyone and quite another to actually deliver it. In Venezuela, health care is declared a right, but it’s one of the last places on earth anybody would want to go to get it.
Myth versus Reality
A few remaining dictatorships such as Cuba’s still sponsor state doctors to go on mission trips to sell socialized medicine across the globe. Besides using these missions to make money for their unsustainable state-run economies, they take every opportunity to criticize capitalism and lure young people into the socialist orbit. This strategy relies upon the myth that only socialism can get individuals to manifest their virtues and “help” others, but Brazilians are now realizing that these are just empty words.
After five years of participating, the Cuban government has just withdrawn from “Mais Médicos” (“More Doctors”), a Brazilian public health program designed by former socialist President Dilma Rousseff back in 2013. At the time, she promised that by partnering up with foreign countries, the program would increase the number of medical professionals in underserved areas of Brazil.
Unlike physicians from other nations, Cuban medics did not directly receive their salaries from the program. Instead, the government skimmed 74 percent of those salaries right off the top.
The socialist regime in Havana saw a money-making propaganda opportunity and dispatched nearly 20,000 Cuban medical professionals to Brazil—by far the largest contingent that various countries sent. More than 8,300 are in the country as of early November. But, unlike physicians from other nations, Cuban medics did not directly receive their salaries from the program. Instead, the government skimmed 74 percent of those salaries right off the top. Moreover, Cuban medics were not allowed to bring along their family members with them to Brazil. Why? The families were essentially kept as hostages to ensure their doctor relatives wouldn’t go to Brazil and defect from Cuba’s socialist “workers’ paradise.”
Just days after his election in late October, Brazil’s incoming President Jair Bolsonaro announced some new but long overdue conditions for the program. To maintain the partnership, including validation of certificates to offer medical care in Brazil, full payment for services would have to be sent straight to the doctors themselves, and their families would have to be permitted to accompany them to Brazil if they so wished. Bolsonaro also offered asylum to Cuban doctors who wished to stay in the country.
The socialist regime beats its collectivist chest espousing discredited Marxist concepts like “surplus labor” and “worker exploitation” but rips off its own workers and imprisons their families in the same breath.
The Cuban Ministry of Public Health immediately rejected the new terms, alleging that the “dignity” and “altruism” of Cubans could not be questioned. But of course, Havana’s very action itself raises those questions. It also answers them: The socialist regime beats its collectivist chest espousing discredited Marxist concepts like “surplus labor” and “worker exploitation” but rips off its own workers and imprisons their families in the same breath. When their “humanitarian” ventures no longer provide cash or propaganda value, they’re “outta here!” (to borrow an American expression).
At the end of the day, socialists always prove to be greedier and more eager to exploit human labor than any capitalist could ever be.