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Oct 30 2013

WSJ Publishes Suzanne Somers Column on Health Care

The Wall Street Journal printed a column by Suzanne Somers, presenting her as an “expert” on health care, criticizing Obamacare. Because I know when I’m looking for accurate information about out health care system, I always turn to Chrissy from Three’s Company. I mean seriously, she endorsed the Thighmaster. She has to know her stuff, right? She calls Obamacare a “socialist Ponzi scheme,” showing that she has no idea what either of those terms mean.

I’ve had an opportunity to watch the Canadian version of affordable health care in action with all its limitations with my Canadian husband’s family. A few years ago, I was startled to see the cover of Maclean’s, a national Canadian magazine, showing a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline, “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” It went on to say that young Canadian medical students have no incentive to become doctors to humans because they can’t make any money. Instead, there is a great surge of Canadian students becoming veterinarians. That’s where the money is. A Canadian animal can have timely MRIs, surgeries and any number of tests it needs to receive quality health care.

My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner. During this period she spent her days in bed vomiting continuously, unable to get any food or drink down because she couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor. When she finally did, the doctor said, “Oh you don’t need me, you need a specialist.” That took another two weeks until she got a pill that corrected the problem.

I’ve always found it amusing that every conservative in the country claims to know a Canadian personally who died of some horrible disease while waiting to see a doctor. Canada must be a vast killing field of dead people. One can only wonder how they manage to live longer and healthier lives than Americans. Of course, even if this were true it would have nothing to do with Obamacare. Canada has a single-payer, nationalized health care system. Obamacare is subsidized private insurance that doesn’t even have a public option, much less “socialized medicine.”

And here’s the punchline: The Journal had to issue a disclaimer about three falsehoods in the original column and delete two fake quotes she used.

CORRECTIONS AND AMPLIFICATIONS:

An earlier version of this post contained a quotation attributed to Lenin (“Socialized medicine is the keystone to the arch of the socialist state”) that has been widely disputed. And it included a quotation attributed to Churchill (“Control your citizens’ health care and you control your citizens“) that the Journal has been unable to confirm.

Also, the cover of a Maclean’s magazine issue in 2008 showed a picture of a dog on an examining table with the headline “Your Dog Can Get Better Health Care Than You.” An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.

But still, I’m kinda torn on this. I’m waiting to make up my mind until Screech and the guy who played Rerun on What’s Happening weigh in.

58 comments

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  1. 1
    holytape

    I would like to make another correction to this article. Canadians don’t get sick. Wrestling beavers and hunting moose with nothing but their bare hands and teeth, make Canadians impervious to any know aliment or disease. It is a simple known fact.

  2. 2
    Pen

    Well, according to British National Legend Which Must Be True, we only got the NHS because our young men had proved radically unsuitable as conscripts due to chronic malnutrition and disease.

  3. 3
    Mr. Upright

    “My best friend’s sister’s boyfriend’s brother’s girlfriend heard from this guy who knows this kid who’s going with the girl who saw Ferris pass out at 31 Flavors last night. I guess it’s pretty serious.”

    This is what Sharia law gets us.

  4. 4
    Tabby Lavalamp

    the guy who played Rerun on What’s Happening

    He died in 2003. Damned Obamacare.

    In Canada we do hear people complaining about lines and waiting for a specialist. But here’s the thing – it’s because people can actually see a doctor. It’s much easier to cut those waiting times down if people are either charged a deductible that they may not be able to afford when they need it, or if some insurance company manager feels it would hurt the company’s bottom line if the patient gets the treatment they need (I always laugh when I hear some Americans cry they don’t want the government between them and their doctor, because insurance companies with profit margins are so much more lenient).
    The only way to cut waiting times short of hiring more doctors is to keep sick people from seeing doctors.

  5. 5
    Alverant

    If there were three inaccuracies and two bad quotes, why print it at all? Are they that desperate to discredit ACA?

    I think I already know the answer to that.

  6. 6
    Sastra

    Because I know when I’m looking for accurate information about out health care system, I always turn to Chrissy from Three’s Company.

    It’s not just that a television actress is unqualified to address this issue. There’s also the fact that Suzanne Somers endorses and advocates for quackery which goes far beyond the Thigh-Master level. Cancer quackery included.

    Here’s a skeptical search engine. Run ‘Suzanne Somers’ through it.

    Impressive. But not in a good way.

  7. 7
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    And here’s the punchline: The Journal had to issue a disclaimer about three falsehoods in the original column and delete two fake quotes she used.

    I’m not at all surprised. I remember noticing, at the time Orac was posting a multipart review/rebuttal of her book, a big inconsistency in her (already suspect) story about the episode in which she had to be rushed to the hospital and was mistakenly told that she was “riddled with cancer” or something like that.* IIRC, in an interview she described it as happening when she was having dinner out in a restaurant and in the book as happening when she was at home alone (or vice versa). Of course I wouldn’t expect a person to consistently remember every detail of a traumatic event, but where she was when the fairly recent episode occurred seems like something she’d recall if the story happened as she claims it did. I didn’t really believe the story anyway (not that misdiagnosis isn’t common) – especially since she didn’t give the name of the doctor or even the hospital where this allegedly happened – but that inconsistency made me even more suspicious that she was somewhat knowingly telling a falsehood.

    * Note: I’m not referring to her earlier breast cancer diagnosis but to the later whole body cancer” scare claim.

  8. 8
    Nemo

    They always come at us with anecdotes, we always come back at them with statistics. Almost inevitably, with any change in the system, some people’s outcomes will be worse, and some people’s will be better. So we can only judge whether the changes are for the better by looking at the big picture. “Live longer and healthier lives”, not to mention at a lower per capita cost for health care, ought to be the end of the discussion. Canadians don’t live drastically different lifestyles from people in the U.S., apart from their health care system.

    Unfortunately, a lot of people find anecdotes more persuasive than data, because a lot of people are fucking stupid.

  9. 9
    D. C. Sessions

    If there were three inaccuracies and two bad quotes, why print it at all?

    Because even though they normally require more, the editors figured that it was too much work to add them.

  10. 10
    billdaniels

    Stop the Suzanne Somers bashing. You didn’t even mention her in-depth, award-winning acting in She’s the Sheriff. She changed quite a few minds, forever wiping out the idea that her acting in Three’s Company was terrible. That is, except for the obstinate SS haters, like Ed.

  11. 11
    raven

    One good thing happened with Murdoch’s buying the WSJ.

    I don’t have to pay any attention to it any more. It was always too thick to read every day any way. Fox News on paper now. Same with Forbes.

    1. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the ACA is supposed to lower the deficit by $20 billion. Lower, not raise.

    There are costs with the ACA but big savings as well. That free ER treatment is neither free, efficient, or much in the way of treatment. The costs get passed on to the rest of us.

    2. There is a lot of interest in the ACA, AFAICT. I’m helping someone with their state’s ACA.

    Which is going nowhere. They couldn’t get it to work. Neither could I. That is because it is mostly not working!!!. I even called them and they have no idea when it will be up and running right.

    Despite all that, there is another problem. Their servers are overloaded. Whatever they planned for a load, most of the time it is over that. People are hitting a dysfunctional web site anyway.

  12. 12
    markmckee

    During a recent Canadian election one of the contenders had an advertisement that said: “Don’t vote for my opponent or he will give you an American style health care system.”

    Somehow I find it hard to believe that if the Canadian people hated their health care system so much, why would a candidate say such a thing in an ad?

  13. 13
    caseloweraz

    Ed: I’ve always found it amusing that every conservative in the country claims to know a Canadian personally who died of some horrible disease while waiting to see a doctor.

    That’s always the same guy: Zeke Zzzypt of Brandon, Manitoba. A very popular figure in Canada, he died in 1956 of citroniosis because the only doctor in Brandon was out ice-fishing. The entire country was heartbroken.

    /spoof

  14. 14
    busterggi

    “My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner. During this period she spent her days in bed vomiting continuously, unable to get any food or drink down because she couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor.”

    And yet it never occurred to Suzanne that maybe the family could take her to a hospital? Yeah, truly brilliant.

  15. 15
    bushrat

    As A Canadian I can attest to the horrors that are the Canadian “OBAMACARE!” System. It’s terrifying that the communist socialist elites in Canada have forced all of us poor oppressed citizens to participate in the FEMA death cam….I mean Happy Fun Medical Testing Programs, sponsored by our Taliban overlords. Spending almost half what it costs average Americans for healthcare, to get equivalent or superior coverage is just Nazism from the pits of hell. Dear American brothers and sisters, please save yourselves from this nefarious plot. FOR FREEDOM!!!!

  16. 16
    tbell

    Either Somers was exaggerating (and what are the chances of that happening?) or her sister-in-law is an idiot. There are walk-in clinics all over the place in urban areas in Canada. A quick search on Google maps reveals at least seven within a 5km radius of my house.

  17. 17
    Area Man

    My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner. During this period she spent her days in bed vomiting continuously, unable to get any food or drink down because she couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor.

    Holy shit, she survived for two whole months without food or hydration? Yeah, right.

    Canucks, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the wait times primarily for elective procedures and whatnot, and that a woman with a clear emergency situation like this would be seen more-or-less immediately?

    An earlier version of this post incorrectly said the photo showed and headline referred to a horse.

    I guess she was so engrossed with the content of the article that the headline and picture never stuck in her memory. I’m sure it’s not because she didn’t read it.

  18. 18
    oranje

    Not even comparing apples and oranges. Or, in other words…

    “I’m horrified that you’ve bought a Honda. When I was younger, my boyfriend’s first car was a Toyota, and let me tell you all of the things that went wrong with it. And forget about the warranty, the wait times at the Toyota dealership for a repair, or the paint colour. It was all just so horrible. That’s why you shouldn’t drive a Honda.”

  19. 19
    jakc

    Two months without water …. and that didn’t even make the correction in the WSJ

  20. 20
    bushrat

    @18 oranje – Personally I think your Honda/Toyota analogy incorrect. After all they are both types of cars. A better one would be “I once ran out of gas in my car, therefore you shouldn’t ride trains.”

  21. 21
    oranje

    @20 Point taken. Sometimes it’s hard being as absurd as their reality. *sigh*

  22. 22
    eric

    She calls Obamacare a “socialist Ponzi scheme,” showing that she has no idea what either of those terms mean.

    I assume you’re counting “Ponzi scheme” as a single term. If not, your’e giving her credit for understanding the word “scheme.”

    there is a great surge of Canadian students becoming veterinarians.

    I hate to burst her bubble, but IIRC there is something similar that has been going on in the US for decades. Specificially, vet school admissions (vs. med school admissions) are more competitive and their requirements are higher. Its a combination of fewer available spots and lots of animal lovers.

    A Canadian animal can have timely MRIs, surgeries and any number of tests it needs to receive quality health care.

    Well, yeah. Because a much much smaller fraction of the population will request MRIs and surgeries for their dog vs. their grandma. There are a lot fewer dogs to begin with, add to that the majority of pet owners will not spend the money on an animal that they would on parent, spouse, or child.

  23. 23
    Jeremy Shaffer

    I’ve always found it amusing that every conservative in the country claims to know a Canadian personally who died of some horrible disease while waiting to see a doctor.

    Last year my, rather conservative, aunt and uncle went a long vacation in Alaska*. When they got back I met up with my aunt for lunch one day so she could tell me about it. Oddly, the thing that impressed her most was not the sights, wildlife or any of that. No, it was that she met some Canadians who loved their healthcare system. She honestly thought all Canadians hated their healthcare system but were so powerless, being under the iron boots of their government and all that, to change it to something like that in the US.

    Personally I think I would have been more fascinated by the whales than the fact that Canadians like their healthcare.

    *I’m confused too. /snark

  24. 24
    John Pieret

    Tabby Lavalamp @ 4:

    It’s much easier to cut those waiting times down if people are either charged a deductible that they may not be able to afford when they need it, or if some insurance company manager feels it would hurt the company’s bottom line if the patient gets the treatment they need (I always laugh when I hear some Americans cry they don’t want the government between them and their doctor, because insurance companies with profit margins are so much more lenient).

    Relevant to that, I saw my doctor yesterday. I’m a 64 yo man with a couple of stents, so he wanted to do an ultrasound of my heart (not a super expensive test that is both non-invasive and considered effective). He checked the guidelines of my employer-provided health insurance and it wasn’t approved.

    Now, that fine free-enterprise-driven insurance company will wind up paying a lot more is I have a heart attack that might have been prevented (so much for the wisdom of the market) but they may just be betting that I’ll get hit by a bus before that happens.

  25. 25
    roggg

    We Canadians sometimes complain about our health care system, but at least in the circles I run in, I dont know anyone who would trade it for an American style one. If anything, we sometimes complain that it’s not sufficiently socialized. For example, there’s no drug coverage for the general population. I know a few wealthier people who think we should open up more to a parallel private system. Some even go to the US to cut lines for things like MRI. That’s relatively rare I think, but common enough that some border facilities advertise to Canadians.

    Mostly it works pretty well. I had an abnormal EKG a few months ago, and have since had a host of diagnostic tests that would probably bankrupt me if I had to pay for them. None took more than a week or so to schedule (keep in mind…this is a non-emergency situation). None cost me a single penny out of pocket aside from parking at the hospital. I’m incredibly grateful that I live in a society where this is possible. Although I have a good professional job that would probably have a health insurance plan as part of the compensation, I also have pre-existing conditions, so I dont know how that would work out.

    Mostly though, I’m grateful that my health care is not linked to my employment. I’m glad that everyone has access to medical care, and I’m glad that if my employment situation changes I wont be forced to give up something so basic as medical care to survive. That’s worth a little more taxes IMO.

    FWIW, it boggles my mind to see Americans railing against the meager reform provided by ACA. For one, I can never understand how the common good came to be so reviled in the US. Secondly, the ACA is so far from socialized medicine that most of the criticisms that come forward look absurd to an outsider. If it was just the lunatic fringe, I would get it, but it’s pretty much half of your legislators.

  26. 26
    Tabby Lavalamp

    Area Man @17

    Canucks, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the wait times primarily for elective procedures and whatnot, and that a woman with a clear emergency situation like this would be seen more-or-less immediately?

    You are not wrong. Even if they didn’t feel it was an emergency, there are walk-in clinics (I use a Medicentre whenever I need to see a doctor as I don’t have a GP).

  27. 27
    SC (Salty Current), OM

    It’s interesting that they’re publishing a piece by an alt-med proponent. Both corporate medicine and CAM are largely contrary to scientific and humanistic medicine, but it’s fascinating that the WSJ with its corporate allegiance would publish an op ed by someone who rails against “Western” medicine. It’s also amusing for Somers to be criticizing the ACA on the (false) grounds that it wouldn’t provide widespread, prompt, or affordable access to precisely the sorts of treatments she’s been calling on everyone to reject for years.

  28. 28
    raven

    If it was just the lunatic fringe, I would get it, but it’s pretty much half of your legislators.

    They are the lunatic fringe.

    The USA is a world leader is many areas. Among them, we have the world’s largest lunatic fringes.

    Our lunatic fringes are so large that they even have their own lunatic fringes. You would have a hard time imagining what they are like. That article that EB posted yesterday about Obama nuking Charleston, SC is pretty tame for them.

    One site I looked at keeps track of all the earthquakes, volcanoes, and storms. This tells him that the earth is wearing out and we are in the Last Days. Because earthquakes, volcanoes, and storms never happened before Obama was elected to office.

  29. 29
    Nick Gotts

    young Canadian medical students have no incentive to become doctors to humans because they can’t make any money

    Maybe it’s naive of me, but I thought some people became medics primarily because they wanted to help people. Of course they expect – and get, in every rich country at least – ample remuneration, but do American conservatives really want to be treated by doctors who are chiefly motivated by greed?

  30. 30
    Dr X

    “My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner. During this period she spent her days in bed vomiting continuously, unable to get any food or drink down because she couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor.”

    This is a criminally stupid lie. Her sister-in-law would have died without IV redhydration therapy. Not maybe. She’d be dead.

  31. 31
    24fps

    I’m also Canadian – I’m confirming Tabby Lavalamp and others, there are walk-in clinics that you can, well, walk into anytime during the day and into the evening without having to refer to a GP. If you’re in really dire shape, you can go to an ER, and likely be looked at by a specialist within the day. I call bullshit on Somers’ claim.

    It’s true that it can be hard to find a GP sometimes, especially in smaller cities, and there are also shortages of specialists which can lead to longer wait times. On the other hand, if they can’t get you in and it’s an emergency, they will fly you to somewhere where you can. In border towns, that’s often to a US hospital, which is paid for by our government.

    My own experience in the Canadian system has been pretty good. When my father was diagnosed with cancer, he was in radiotherapy the next morning. And when my daughter fell and broke her hip (a freak sort of injury for a 12 yr old), the four days in hospital and the surgery did not cost us anything out of pocket. If we’d been in the US, the cost would have flattened us (self-employed in the arts, both of us parental units!). So yeah, as a Canadian, I’m pretty positive about our system, which isn’t perfect by any means.

    I hope ACA will be an improvement in access to health care for Americans. I sure wouldn’t opt for your system over ours!

  32. 32
    Al Dente

    SC @27

    I suspect Somers is also annoyed that many insurance plans won’t cover alt-med. I know my health insurance won’t cover naturopathic treatments.

  33. 33
    Susannah

    Another Canadian butting in. I wake up in the morning, sometimes; I’m in pain. Another UTI. There’s the morning, shot. The several local clinics open at 8:00. I’m at the closest before 9. The waiting room is full already; I have to wait almost half an hour.
    I see the doctor, get a prescription, cross the street to the Safeway, and get my meds. Another half hour gone there. I take the first pill in the store, with a Starbucks coffee to keep in company, and head home. It’s not 11 yet; not too bad. Cost: meds, maybe.

    Last week, my man fell and split his head open. An ambulance took him to Emerg. His blood pressure was sky high; they did an EKG and checked for signs of concussion, then stapled up his head (with a staple gun; what will they think of next?) and bandaged him up. His blood pressure stabilized. They let him go home.

    We were there almost 4 hours. Cost? $10. For parking.

    I see various specialists. The only time I had to wait for an appointment more than a couple of weeks was with a dermatologist, for minor sun damage.

    In the US, no insurance company would look at me. Pre-existing conditions, from childhood on.

    And sure, I grumble about waiting times. I mean, half an hour, even an hour in the waiting room? Boring! Two months waiting for a bit of frozen nitrogen over the bridge of my nose? Just because I insisted on a specialist near home? Not right at all! [ /snark]

  34. 34
    Modusoperandi

    Canada must be a vast killing field of dead people.

    We do. It’s called Sudbury.*

    Nemo “They always come at us with anecdotes, we always come back at them with statistics.”
    “The USA spends more per capita than any other Western nation on healthcare, without disproportionately better outcomes, and without even covering all citizens.”

    “Canadians don’t live drastically different lifestyles from people in the U.S., apart from their health care system.”
    And our football has one less down, the field is bigger, and the snap has to be performed twice, in both official languages.

    Area Man “Canucks, correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the wait times primarily for elective procedures and whatnot, and that a woman with a clear emergency situation like this would be seen more-or-less immediately?”
    No. Canada only has elective surgeries. No matter what you go in for, you get a hip replacement. Eventually.

    Susannah “Another Canadian butting in. I wake up in the morning, sometimes; I’m in pain. Another UTI. There’s the morning, shot. The several local clinics open at 8:00. I’m at the closest before 9. The waiting room is full already; I have to wait almost half an hour.
    I see the doctor, get a prescription, cross the street to the Safeway, and get my meds. Another half hour gone there. I take the first pill in the store, with a Starbucks coffee to keep in company, and head home. It’s not 11 yet; not too bad. Cost: meds, maybe.”

    Pah! Talk about Hell!
    Meanwhile, in America the streets are paved with hospitals. Why, you can’t walk half a block without a gaggle of doctors stethescoping you and refering your case to each other!

    * Take that, Ontario!

  35. 35
    spamamander, internet amphibian

    Damn Canadians making me jealous.

    Last November I was accidentally kicked by my horse (he wasn’t trying to get me… he spun and bucked in play, and hit me in the process). I must have instinctively guarded my abdomen with my hand. Fingers started swelling to enormous proportions and I could see a red mark on my belly. Figuring abdominal impacts are never a good thing I drove myself to the hospital.

    A hep lock in case of surgery, hand x-rays, some ice, and an abdominal CT later along with a prescription to fill for Vicodin, and I’m $4800 in the hole. Thankfully nothing is broken and I just have a bruised abdominal wall, no bleeding, though they saw a mass in the CT scan I should have a more in depth look taken at. So now I am having 25% of my wages garnished to pay the bill and I still can’t afford an MRI to have the “mass” examined, which might have been stool or might have been something more.

    Yay USA?

  36. 36
    Area Man

    The several local clinics open at 8:00. I’m at the closest before 9. The waiting room is full already; I have to wait almost half an hour.

    Hah, you Canadians with your lousy health care. Here in America The Great, I get to spend at least a half hour in the waiting room but with the luxury of an appointment.

  37. 37
    ck

    She calls Obamacare a “socialist Ponzi scheme,” showing that she has no idea what either of those terms mean.

    That’s clearly unfair to Suzanne. She knows that “socialist” means ungood, and that “Ponzi scheme” also means ungood, so that’s a double plus ungood. She has to defend her great nation from the socialist Muslim atheist fascist Obama, or he will destroy everything good in the universe.

  38. 38
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    The Journal had to issue a disclaimer about three falsehoods in the original column and delete two fake quotes she used.

    It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham of a mockery of two mockeries of a sham.

  39. 39
    mildlymagnificent

    No, it was that she met some Canadians who loved their healthcare system.

    Friends of ours visiting the States were amazed by how many Americans interrupted them walking down the street or sitting having a meal when they heard the Australian accents. What did they talk about? Our health system. And when you get to the nitty-gritty of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, their heads sort of implode as their facial expressions collapse.

    As for hospitals. My husband’s heart attack with associated brain injury from hypoxia resulted in a week in ICU, implanting a defibrillator after a few weeks and a bout of pneumonia and a total of 3 months in hospital with concentrated physical therapies, occupational therapy and speech therapy for the latter 8 weeks. Cost? $39 for each weekly parking ticket at the initial hospital facility plus a few random days without the weekly. Total? About $120. Then $90ish a week for almost daily home visits from a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist for a few weeks. Total? About $400.

  40. 40
    robnyny

    She is an excellent exampe of of someone who is treated as beautiful because she acts as though she is beautiful She is actuallly rather coarse looking with dangly breasts. Check out Playboy of the time.

  41. 41
    robnyny

    Oh, and the Thighmaster! Pure gold! That really qualifies her to comment on health care.

  42. 42
    dingojack

    Oh robnyny thinks that Suzanne Somers has a sense of unjustified entitlement and ugly dangly breasts – now that’ there is a solid gold reason to reject her arguments. @@
    Classy.
    Dingo

  43. 43
    dingojack

    Doctors per 100,000 population
    World average: 139
    USA: 242
    Canada: 207
    UK: 277
    Australia: 383
    Cuba: 672 *
    Guess all them socialist ponzi schemes governments didn’t get the ‘doctor shortage due to low pay’ memo.
    Dingo
    ——-
    * SOURCE

  44. 44
    dingojack

    Oh and this..
    Dingo

  45. 45
    democommie

    “Now, that fine free-enterprise-driven insurance company will wind up paying a lot more is I have a heart attack that might have been prevented (so much for the wisdom of the market) but they may just be betting that I’ll get hit by a bus before that happens.”

    Not true.

    Their actuarials have actually computed out to your having a fatal MI which will result in them having to pay nothing more than an ambulance fee and whatever heroic measures they might take at the ER/Trauma unit when you arrive DOA. I believe I’ve seen this about a thousand times on tv shows where the evil criminal mastermind says, “Make it look like an accident.”.

  46. 46
    democommie

    Getting healthcare advice from Suzanne Somers is akin to getting stock market tips from the aforementioned Ponzi.

  47. 47
    timgueguen

    Another anecdote about US health care costs. My parents went to the States earlier this year. While in Arizona my father began to have an irregular heart beat, something he’s had problems with before. He went into emergency for treatment, and ended up spending less that 24 hours in hospital. The cost? Ten grand. Fortunately they had Blue Cross travel insurance, which has paid the bulk of that bill. It’s something that didn’t come up at all the last time he had that problem here in Canada.

    One thing you generally end up paying for, at least here in Saskatchewan, is ambulance service. I had a problem some years back and ended up calling an ambulance. I ended up being charged 200 bucks for a couple mile trip to University Hospital’s emergency room.

  48. 48
    bushrat

    @34 Modusoperandi – As an Ontarian I can personally attest to Sudbury being a vast wasteland of pain and suffering. However, steps have been taken to remediate this hellish nightmare landscape. Last time I was there, I even say a few scraggly trees poking up out of the rocks.

  49. 49
    caseloweraz

    Somers: Affordable care will allow for pre-existing conditions. That’s the good part for retirees. But, let’s get down and dirty; the word “affordable” is a misnomer. So far, all you are hearing on the news is how everyone’s premiums are doubling and tripling and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that the whole thing is a big mess. Plus, even after Obamacare is fully implemented, there still will be tens of millions of people not covered. So what’s the point? Medical care will be degraded, the costs will skyrocket, and most frightening of all, your most intimate and personal information is now up for grabs.

    Nope; I’m not hearing that “everyone’s premiums are doubling and tripling.” I hear that some people are going to pay more (which has to be judged a tentative conclusion since the system is still hobbling and stuttering) but my recollection is that I’ve heard more people say their premiums will drop.

    Also, while it seems a large number of people will remain without insurance coverage, tens of millions who lacked coverage before will have it. So what’s the point? I just explained that.

    And I hope someone advises Ms. Somers that she shouldn’t regret more people not being subject to this health care system she calls a “train wreck” and a “Ponzi scheme.”

  50. 50
    Randide, Mais il faut cultiver notre jardin

    Usanian here and just going through open enrollment with my employer for 2014. For what it’s worth, I am among the people who can say that my biweekly payroll deductions are indeed tripling.

    Something about going from a single person to adding a wife, stepson and two twin babies. It was hard to follow all of the specifics. I’m not an insurance expert or anything. I blame Obama.

  51. 51
    democommie

    “I ended up being charged 200 bucks for a couple mile trip to University Hospital’s emergency room.”

    My former neighbor works for the local ambulance company. They serve a number of municipalities and towns in the county, providing both contract and non-contract services.

    The City of Oswego has a professional civil service FD which has a pair (IIRC) of ambulances. When they are both busy or for non-emergency situations the private company will pick up the slack. Last time I heard the charge from my house to the local hospital was about $1100 for the private company–about $1K/mile. To go to Syracuse, it’s multiple $K’s. A friend of mine’s mother was in an auto accident about 20 years ago, they life flighted her to Boston from Hampton, NH. The final hour or so of her life was worth about $65K.

  52. 52
    scienceavenger

    “Ponzi Scheme” is a term that is showing up more and more on Fox, and rarely is it used correctly. It’s become just another meaningless term like “liberal” that means “bad”.

  53. 53
    colnago80

    Re caseloweraz @ #49

    Well, we have one data point from our distinguished host who apparently found a better policy then the one he currently has at a lower price.

  54. 54
    dzing

    I’ve always hated when people trot out the tired “Canadian-doctors-don’t-make-enough-money” line as a way to criticize our system. Canadian doctors might get paid less than American ones, but they are still very well paid. Also, consider expenses – a Miami neurosurgeon pays $237,000 a year for malpractice insurance, while a neurosurgeon in Toronto, a bigger city, pays $29,000. Comparing salaries without taking this into account is not very useful, really. (These numbers are from 2009, but I’d be surprised if they had changed much since then. http://www.tampabay.com/news/canada-keeps-malpractice-cost-in-check/1021977 )

    And yeah, others have already said it, but either the she-spent-two-months-vomiting story is total crap, or her sister in law is a weird masochistic martyr type for not just going to a walk in clinic or emergency room. My doctor can usually see me within 3 days, but if I have something like a urinary tract infection I’ll just go to a clinic so I can get the diagnosis and treatment ASAP. It means waiting around for an hour or two, but that really doesn’t seem unreasonable to me, especially since I’m not paying the doctor out of my pocket.

    I would guess that approximately 100% of Canadians have some complaints about the system, but if I remember the polling from the last election correctly, fewer than 10% of us would trade it for the US system.

  55. 55
    eric

    So far, all you are hearing on the news is how everyone’s premiums are doubling and tripling and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize that the whole thing is a big mess.

    I would not at all be surprised if the cost of an ACA plan was double or triple that of a comparative company-backed plan. Because the company is kicking in some of the cost…duh. For example, my current employer kicks in exactly half the cost. So I’d expect a comparable ACA plan to be double what I’m paying now.

    But whether ACA coverage is more expensive than a decent corporation’s equivalent plan isn’t the point; the point is to help people who don’t work for decent corporations.

  56. 56
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner. During this period she spent her days in bed vomiting continuously, unable to get any food or drink down because she couldn’t get an appointment with the doctor.

    In that case, your sister-in-law is dead. And then another two week wait for a specialist? And yet you say that after this 10 week period of continuous bed-ridden vomiting in which she could ingest no food or liquid and had no access to any nutrients since there was no doctor to administer them by IV, which she somehow miraculously survived, the specialist managed to solve this horrendous health problem with one little pill?

    I call bullshit.

  57. 57
    Raging Bee

    The fucking WALL STREET JOURNAL didn’t catch that howler about someone unable to keep any food down for two months? I think we can all safely say they’ve altogether ceased to be a serious newspaper.

    Pretending to be all fact-checky about quotes from dead people and a photograph in a magazine from 2008 only highlights their more glaring oversight. What a jucking foke.

  58. 58
    Raging Bee

    And who reads Maclean’s magazine anyway? I never even see that title outside of periodical catalogs in libraries. That’s gotta be the most irrelevant fact-check EVER.

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