Of late I've gotten complaints about the Motion Picture Industry Health Plan requiring participants with long-term prescription needs to use the Medco mail order pharmacy.
Some participants are angry that they can't go to their corner drugstore anymore and get their asthma medicine, or Lipitor, or whatever.
I get their unhappiness, because options are being taken away; I also get how the Plan is trying to contain the rising costs which are happening worldwide:
Health Care Inflation -- 2008 (est.)
Asia and Africa
Hong Kong 9.1%
Saudi Arabia 16.3%
South Africa 12.6%
United Kingdom 8.0%
United States 11.0%
But this painful global reality doesn't go down well with some participants, one of whom told me on the phone:
This isn't fair! I like going to my neighborhood drug store! They're taking away my freedom of choice! This is socialism!"
I responded that it might be many things, including arbitrary, but socialism it ain't, since this is a private plan (jointly run by unions and movie companies) making private decisions free of government interference.
It's just that when a bureaucracy ... any bureaucracy ... takes actions to contain costs, somebody gets nipped and doesn't like it.
However, it gave me insight into some of the groups yelling at town hall meetings. Many of our citizens, based on my first-hand experience, are a little hazy about what socialism actually is. But it certainly is a fine, all purpose curse word.