By now, pretty much everyone is exhausted of the American health care debate, even though the slog is going on, and on, and on. It's hard to stay dogged and determined, even for something so essential, when dealing with ludicrous assertions by even such credentially-well-endowed folks as Art Laffer (inventor of the theoretically sound but catastrophically misapplied "Laffer Curve"). Laffer, a Stanford-trained economist, warned viewers on CNN to "just wait till you see Medicare, Medicaid and health care done by the government." I know, right? Come ON. But rather than being able to steamroll these ill-informed objections, the current administration battles on to get something done in the realm of health care reform. As the New York Times noted today, even if a bill is passed, many obstacles yet remain, including the naming and vetting of a health care "czar" -- and let's not even get in to how the Tea Party crew has had a field day preying on misunderstandings about modern American usage of the word "czar".
Imagine if you had THIS guy running health care. Beware the moustache panels!
As a proud canuck who grew up watching curling on my pappy's knee, I've always been particularly ruffled by the way Canadian socialized health care has been mischaracterized, derided, and dragged through the mud in the U.S. media and in the health care debate (this is a very mild example). Just talking to American friends of mine, many are mildly surprised to hear me speak favorably about the Canadian system- but ask just about any Canadian who has spent a while living in the U.S., and you will find out that we often fly back to the great white north when we get hurt or sick, just for the privilege of being treated there (and not just because it's free, the Ontario government will cover many health care costs incurred while living abroad in the U.S. as a student or for other reasons).
And before you laugh, that colorful money covered in polar bears, beavers and caribou is now at parity with the greenback.
While I won't deny that the Canadian system does, indeed, have many problems (it's actually a congolmerate of different systems across the provinces and territories), what it doesn't have is a shockingly large percentage of people who cannot afford any care, or are bankrupted by the care they receive. Very few people in Canada shuffle off to the poor house paying for care to combat a disease bestowed upon them by grace of God(s), genetics, or chance. (On the flip side of the coin, according to a recent study, over 60% of USA bankruptcies in 2007 were medical in nature). What we also don't have is waits for essential emergency service, which is provided immediately, just like in the U.S., regardless of one's insurance coverage or income level. While waits for nonessential services run somewhat longer than those in the USA, I can speak from personal experience that these waits are far from unreasonable. In the last 8 years, I have had three knee operations, all because I insist on playing a sport my body was clearly not designed to excel at, even though I have been told my skills are comparable to Michael Jordan. I could walk fine and participate in most athletic activities, but the particular planting and twisting demands of my sport of choice meant that surgery was preferable. For each elective procedure I had to wait a few months, but in return, I received world-class medical care, absolutely free of charge.
In fact, a recent popular show on national TV in Canada awarded the title of "the Greatest Canadian" to Tommy Douglas: founder of public health care in Canada, socialist, and Jack Bauer's grandaddy.
"Dammit Chloe, there's no time! Pull up the schematics on the Laffer curve."
In fact, truths, damned truths, and statistics, all demonstrate that we Canadians love our health care. Stop the fear-mongering, America, and bring on health care that would make your northern neighbours proud.
ALSO, register for RebLaw!!!! Now new and improved registration system. We're so excited to have all of you here.