Monday, July 6, 2009

Universal Health Care - Some Insight

Normally in this blog we shy away from getting overtly political (apart from in an educational sense), but one of the many fascinating things we’ve discovered in once again living outside the US is that almost every issue is political to Americans, whereas outside America quite a number of these so-called “hot button” issues ... aren’t issues at all.

I’ve posted a couple of times about our healthcare experiences in Canada, in part because one of the main missions of this blog is to educate our fellow North Americans about the differences of our neighbour to the north, and in part because I have known for many years that Canada is a familiar if wildly mischaracterized scapegoat for the “horrors” of single-payer health care (which, contrary to a million lying ads and bits of propaganda on the subject, is not the same thing as “socialized medicine” -- Britain has socialised medicine, Canada has single-payer -- they're quite different really), and I intended to use my own experiences and credibility to prove this.

Sadly, neither Heather nor myself are sick enough to give the Canadian system a good shakedown. A nice problem to have, but apart from reporting that:

  • We have no rationing of doctors (or a hard time seeing one);
  • Prescription prices for uninsured people (of which I, as an immigrant, am one of the few around) are the same as insured prices for Americans; and
  • That healthcare in this province isn’t actually free (just cheap);
We haven’t really been able to compare the two systems as well as we would have liked.

Interestingly, the imminent birth of our friends Sarah and Christian’s first child will allow us some deeper insight into how the system works for the people who need it most, so over the next few weeks we will post about how Canada’s (well, British Columbia’s -- each province has its own system) healthcare system works for those in need, and with particular needs (more about that later).

In the meantime, there is still a lot of utter and complete crapola about Canada’s healthcare system to dispel, and more is coming as the US debate about offering a “public” option heats up. Until we can post more of our own (by proxy) accounts with hospitals, doctors, prescriptions, prevention and follow-up care, we can at least point you to articles we find that ring true to us as people who have lived in more than one country.

Recently, the Boston Globe and their writer Jonathan Cohn came up with such an article, talking about the red herring of comparing the US system now (and in the future) with that of Canada or the UK (and falsely making them sound scary) and the rampant ignorance of those that claim the horror stories. This piece cuts through the bullshit and gives you the real deal on where healthcare in various countries -- notably France, the Netherlands and the US -- stand or fall when it comes to helping the people they serve.

We recommend the piece as a good “overture” for the comparisons and contrast we will be offering in this space over the next few weeks.


jacksmith said...


It’s official. America and the World are now in a GLOBAL PANDEMIC. A World EPIDEMIC with potential catastrophic consequences for ALL of the American people. The first PANDEMIC in 41 years. And WE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES will have to face this PANDEMIC with the 37th worst quality of healthcare in the developed World.


We spend over twice as much of our GDP on healthcare as any other country in the World. And Individual American spend about ten times as much out of pocket on healthcare as any other people in the World. All because of GREED! And the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT healthcare system in America.

And while all this is going on, some members of congress seem mostly concern about how to protect the corporate PROFITS! of our GREED DRIVEN, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT NATIONAL DISGRACE. A PRIVATE FOR PROFIT DISGRACE that is in fact, totally valueless to the public health. And a detriment to national security, public safety, and the public health.

Progressive democrats the Tri-Caucus and others should stand firm in their demand for a robust public option for all Americans, with all of the minimum requirements progressive democrats demanded. If congress can not pass a robust public option with at least 51 votes and all robust minimum requirements, congress should immediately move to scrap healthcare reform and request that President Obama declare a state of NATIONAL HEALTHCARE EMERGENCY! Seizing and replacing all PRIVATE FOR PROFIT health insurance plans with the immediate implementation of National Healthcare for all Americans under the provisions of HR676 (A Single-payer National Healthcare Plan For All).

Coverage can begin immediately through our current medicare system. With immediate expansion through recruitment of displaced workers from the canceled private sector insurance industry. Funding can also begin immediately by substitution of payroll deductions for private insurance plans with payroll deductions for the national healthcare plan. This is what the vast majority of the American people want. And this is what all objective experts unanimously agree would be the best, and most cost effective for the American people and our economy.

In Mexico on average people who received medical care for A-H1N1 (Swine Flu) with in 3 days survived. People who did not receive medical care until 7 days or more died. This has been the same results in the US. But 50 million Americans don’t even have any healthcare coverage. And at least 200 million of you with insurance could not get in to see your private insurance plans doctors in 2 or 3 days, even if your life depended on it. WHICH IT DOES!

If President Obama has to declare a NATIONAL STATE OF EMERGENCY to rescue the American people from our healthcare crisis, he will need all the sustained support you can give him. STICK WITH HIM! He’s doing a brilliant job.



Join the fight.

Contact congress and your representatives NOW! AND SPREAD THE WORD!

God Bless You


Life Insurance Canada said...

Well, I can only agree with you "jacksmith". Let’s face it: the US health system is not run for the benefit of the patient or the doctors, it is a for-profit system run for the benefit of the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies and their shareholders. Does that sound right to anyone? I don't think so. And comparing USA vs Canada in health care systems is just pointless. It's like comparing apples that grow in the US and Canada, how do you really know which ones are better?

Take care, Lorne