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The reality of “Canada-style health care”

Protip: Obama’s health care plan is very little like Canadian health care.

The other day, I saw an ad on CNN that made me gnash my teeth and break out into a sweat. Though, the fact that we don’t have cable (we are interwebs TV watchers), means that I was watching this at the gym while on the treadmill, so that might have had something to do with the sweating and gnashing. The ad proclaims a number of things: a) that emergency services are going undone and people in Canada are dying from lack of health care, b) Obama is bringing “Canada-style” health care to the States, and c) this will interpose a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor.

The ad is shown in this video, in the first 30 or so seconds. The guy afterward offers a good explanation, and it’s a bit long and dry, but well put.

Right now, there are bureaucrats between you and your doctor. They are your HMO, your insurance agents, and the money that it takes to vault these bureaucratic hurdles is disturbingly large — so large that, as 17,000 people in the States lose health insurance daily, the number of uninsured and underinsured and therefore at risk of death or bankruptcy from otherwise minor health issues grows seemingly exponentially.

Do not mistake me. There are indeed examples of Canadians that get shafted by the Canadian health care system. Including the woman in the example, who is being shafted by Ontario’s health care charter, which is slightly different — it has no health ombudsman. This is a travesty, but it occurs mostly only in Ontario (and slightly so in Quebec, where the ombudsman is fairly weak). And to compare the few people getting shafted in our system, which is tangibly superior in almost every way, to the vast number of people in the States who are completely without any kind of reasonable health care expectations, is ludicrous.

There’s one particular Canadian doctor that’s advocating a US-style, privatized health care reform in Canada: Dr. Brian Day, owner of the largest for-profit, privatized hospital in Canada. Obviously, he is biased, insofar as any push toward privatization of health care and health insurance would allow his model of profit-maximization to expand and become the common mode of health care in Canada. This interview with Natalie Mehra, director of the Ontario Health Coalition, who gets the whole problem, and the *actual* problems with Canadian health care, exactly right — and they are nothing like the commercials claim, taking the worst case scenarios from the Ontario health debacle and painting the entire system with that same brush.

So armed, my dear American friends, go forth and crush this ridiculous set of right-wing anti-healthcare talking points, and win yourselves freedom from fear of bankruptcy or job loss from a mere medical accident.

Comments

  1. says

    Some people (including Al Franken) have proposed that true health care reform may need to start with the states. John Marty, a candidate for governor of Minnesota, is proposing a complete single-payer system with additional options for private care.

    Sort of like Canada did a conservative province, and then the rest of the country would follow suit.

  2. jthibeault says

    If that’s honestly what it will take, I’m all for it. I suspect though, that health care should be treated like the military, with everyone contributing and the military protecting the whole country. Maybe say 1/10th of the military’s current budget could be used toward healthcare… let’s say, those F22s that were ordered, that Gates says is extraneous but Congress keeps requesting?

    I know asking the States’ government to cut back on the military is akin to asking the guy on your street with the pipe bomb collection to stop building pipe bombs, but hey. How many times over do you seriously need to be able to turn the entire planet to glass?

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