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.