The development of liberal thought began in the seventeen-century England. Often, constitutional monarchy is perceived as a beginning of liberalism. Growth of commercial middle classes and wealth accumulation and consumption, leaded to a new, individualistic morality.
The individual is a basic unit of the liberalism ideology. Supreme goals of a liberal political system are preservation of the individual and attainment of individual happiness. That includes the preservation of the individual properties, that is individual life, liberty and estate, and the task of the government was to help the individual in doing so. Individual is to be regarded as inviolable and human life as a sacrosanct, so the violence is prohibited except in preservation of liberal society. This ideology respects all persons as moral beings with equal sensitivity (but at the same time it doesn’t take women in account.). Individual is assumed to be essentially rational, so it could be considered the prime source of value, which determines justification of participatory rather than authoritarian government. Liberalism diminishes importance of social whole, which is considered not to have any rights against individuals. This outlook can be called “atomistic”. Liberal theorists are unwilling to invoke concepts such as the common good and public interests. The only common good they want recognize is the maximization of the aggregate of individual benefits.
On the economic side 18th- and 19th-century liberalism based itself on the sovereignty of the market and the “natural harmony of interests.” On this view, if individuals are left free to pursue their self-interest in an exchange economy based upon a division of labour, the welfare of the group as a whole will necessarily be enhanced. Classical liberal economists describe a self-adjusting market mechanism free from all teleological influences. While moral goals are invoked and ethical criteria presupposed in passing ultimate judgment on the system, they play no part in determining the sequence of events within it. The one propelling force is the selfishness of the individual, which becomes harnessed to the public good because in an exchange economy he must serve others in order to serve himself. It is only in a free market, however, that this consequence can ensue; any other arrangement must lead to regimentation, exploitation, and economic stagnation.
Spiritual side of individual was acknowledged in assumption that man is a free, rational and self – improving being, and that his natural state is freedom. The duty of government was to provide the conditions to individual to enjoy the maximum possible freedom within a frame of law.
The hallmark of the liberalism is a concern with the limits of authority and opposition to state interference with individual activities. Classical Liberals tend to define freedom in negative forms, for example, freedom from government regulation, and to opposite to almost all government activity. The role of the state is to perform as a device for performing the residual tasks which individual self-interest leaves undone. The guiding principle of historical liberalism has been an undeviating insistence on limiting the power of government. The main concept is that economic freedom is a key to individual liberty.
On the other hand–and this is a basic difference between classical and contemporary liberalism–most liberals now believe that the dispensations of the market, as it has in fact operated, must be supplemented and corrected in substantive ways. They contend that enormous social costs incurred in production are not reflected in market prices, and that resources are used wastefully. Not least, liberals charge that the market advances the allocation of human and physical resources in the direction of satisfying superficial wants (for oversized motor cars and unnecessary gadgets), while basic needs (for schools, housing, rapid public transit, sewage treatment plants) go unmet. Finally, although liberals believe that prices, wages, and profits should continue to be subject to negotiation among the interested parties and responsive to conventional market pressures, they insist that price-wage-profit decisions affecting the economy as a whole must be reconciled with public policy.
Socialists, on the other hand define human beings as creatures formed by the environment. The human nature is eminently sociable, and formed by society. Doctrine subsumes individual interests under “general interests”. The individual gives up most of the power over herself to gain the fraction of power over every other citizen. Socialists assume that human beings are creative (homo faber) and can find pleasure and fulfillment in work. Socialist freedom is the freedom to develop ones potential through unalienated work. Also, optimistically, natural sociability and good will between people are assumed, so cooperation and collectivism are uppermost. Fraternity and community are expressions of the socialist belief in human essential sociability and solidarity. If the premise that people are naturally sociable is correct, than the co-operation is the natural form of social organization. Co-operation quarantees equality of benefits for the co-operator. It is antithesis to the competition and individualism, which represents the capitalism. For many modern socialists, co-operation is still an ideal policy.
Egalitarianism is the central ideal of socialism. This ideal moved historically from “complete equality of human being”, through “ from each according to his capacity, to each according to his works”, to Marxist formulation: “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs”. The abolition of class is a further necessary consequence of egalitarianism. This ideal also requires a fair contribution from each individual to society and, at last, the abolition of private property introducing the collective or communal ownership of the means of production.
Socialists have disagreed as to the best way of running the good society. Some envisage direction by the government. Others advocate as much dispersion and decentralization as possible through the delegation of decision-making authority to public boards, municipalities, or self-governing communities of producers. Some advocate workers’ control; others would rely on governmental planning boards. Although all socialists want to bring about a more equal distribution of national income, some hope for an absolute equality of income, whereas others aim only at ensuring an adequate income for all, while allowing different occupations to be paid at different rates
Socialist Doctrine proposes internationalism with the argument that all humanity is one race. The roll of the state is by that diminished, and ideas of world confederation of communes is introduced, leading to the promotion of International, based on the economic interdependence of capitalist countries and common interests of workers.
Internationalism stays the highest ideal of socialist ideology, with demand for worldwide equality and peace, opposed to the nationalism and international capitalism.
Seen in the light of these three ideologies, we could say that each has it’s own view how the ideal health care and insurance system should be organized. But first, we should distinguish private and social health care and insurance.
A health insurance system that is organized and administered by an insurance company or other private agency, with the provisions specified in a contract, is private or voluntary health insurance. Private health insurance is usually financed on a group basis, but most plans also provide for individual policies. Private group plans are usually financed by groups of employees whose payments may be subsidized by their employer, with the money going into a special fund. Insurance of hospital costs is the most prevalent form of private health insurance coverage.
If a system is financed by compulsory contributions mandated by law or by taxes and the system’s provisions are specified by legal statute, it is a government, or social, health insurance plan. This type of medical insurance plan dates from 1883, when the government of Germany initiated a plan based on contributions by employers and employees in particular industries.
Regarding above stated differences, it is clear that Liberals would be strongly for private health care and insurance because of the role of the government in the social health and insurance plan. Any interfering of the state in private matters of the individual is inexcusable, and for the health care and insurance the same rules should be applied like for everything else: the rules of free market.
Because of the basic difference between classical and modern liberals, their positions in this mater are different. Modern liberals hold that the rewards dispensed by the market are too crude a measure of the contribution many or most people make to society, and that the needs of those who lack opportunity or are physically handicapped are ignored. So they would propose a mixed system with the opportunity for everybody to receive the health care and insurance, but according to the free market rules that determines what kind of health care and insurance (private or public) is the ideal for the individual.
On the other hand, the position of the socialists is that state should create the equality for all individuals and that there should be no private property. So it is clear that social or government health care and insurance is the only one that fulfils these requests and is in accordance with what socialism stands for. Every individual should contribute according to his possibilities (depending on wages), and every individual is entitled to receive the kind of care and insurance it needs, what is in direct accordance with socialism ideal.