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What Happens When A Canadian Writes A Letter To America Regarding Universal Health Care?

Posted by Casey on May 19, 2009

You get the truth.  The very practical, measured truth.

Everyone on both sides of the issue should read this.  Frankly, I’m tired of pro universal health care advocates pretending there is a mythological utopia involving government run medical care.  The truth is there are more negatives to it than positives.

On the other hand, I’m getting tired of opponents of universal health care proclaiming that there are people dead in the street where ever you have government run health care.  The truth is there is decent medical treatment in most western universal health care systems.  You have the facts with your side, but you can’t blow them out of proportion to try and prove your point.

Both sides must cease only exploiting the rarest, most horrific examples of blunders in both the private and public systems.  No system is perfect, and no system is doesn’t have its fair share of problems.  The private system just has less.

Here’s what the Canadian has to say:

The fact is, the provincial governments that run the health-care system up there practise rationing.

Effectively, they pay doctors to decide who deserves quick treatment and who doesn’t. This is not radical; Britain does it too, among others.

It is an approach that is incomprehensible to most Americans, I grant you. But Dr. Day is right: depending on your age and condition, you can suffer for quite a while in Canada before the doctor gets to you, and it’s all pretty much up to the governments, which control the spending taps.

(Of course, if you’re somebody important, or you know somebody important, the queue can be quite flexible. Canadian VIPs, as a general rule, don’t spend much time waiting for health care).

Now, Canadian politicians are constantly promising to fix the situation and, during election campaigns, they stand in front of big backdrops promising shorter wait lines.

The queues, however, never seem to get much shorter. As one medical-industry monitoring group put it in a report last year: “Commitments (made five years ago) have been only partially met at best.”

Sound familiar to anyone? Rationing has been admitted, is very real in a universal system, and even their politicians are constantly promising to fix it. Just like ours are constantly promising to fix our system.

On the issue of money …

There is something else you’re going to be hearing about our system, too: we Canadians can’t just reach into our pockets and pay for quick care.

Rick Baker is a Vancouver-based broker who arranges American treatment for impatient Canadians. He appears in the new ads, saying “there is only one other country in the world, that’s North Korea, that follows our pattern.”

In Canada, he points out, “It is against the law for a medical provider to accept payment for rendering medical services.”

Again, pretty much accurate, except for the foolish North Korea comparison. There is a principle behind the ban on patients paying: it’s based on the notion that you shouldn’t be able to buy your way to the front of the line.

That’s a difficult one to explain to Americans. Most of you are accustomed to spending your money as you see fit once the government is finished taxing you. Canadians just don’t have that privilege.

Imagine that. The author admits that prestigious Canadians can get special treatment, but it is illegal for doctors to accept payment for services rendered. There isn’t much difference than here when it comes to the wealthy, but the average person who manages their money properly loses some leverage in the universal system.

Does it scare the hell out of anyone else that this author points out he and his fellow Canadians don’t have the ‘privilege’ of spending their money how they see fit. Can you imagine not having the privilege to spend your own money how you see fit?

There is a ton more, so please read the article at the link above. Make sure you read the comments from the Canadians to the article. Several of them are pretty mad that he didn’t rip the Canadian system enough.

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2 Responses to “What Happens When A Canadian Writes A Letter To America Regarding Universal Health Care?”

  1. Thank you for this post

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