Monday, July 27, 2009

The Reality of "Canada Care"

OK, OK, I did it again. I jumped into a heated discussion on health care in the comment section of today's Sun story. I can't help it!

But hey, at least one of the smart commenters noted today's HuffPo diary from an American experiencing that horrid right-wing nightmare that is "Canadian Socialized Medicine". And guess what? He's still alive & kicking!

And O by the way did you know that according to the largest survey on primary health care ever conducted in Canada that most people have high praise for their family doctor and a staggering 92% would recommend their physician to a relative or friend; that they have excellent access to primary care and experience relatively short wait times for treatment and that the concept of prevention is strongly built into the public's understanding of viable and efficient national health care?

And they're not teeth-gnashing, flag-waving Red menaces. Well, maybe during the Stanley Cup playoffs they are.

For you see, Canadians enjoy a quality of health care (and, subsequently, quality of life) that has been demonized by the bitter mouthpieces for the corporate health cabal in these United States, who themselves have much to lose if American citizens choose a national health care plan:

Firstly, they would lose all the profits wrung from an aging and increasingly unfit population (66% of Americans over age 20 are overweight or obese) which is dependent on exorbitantly priced medications.

Secondly, they would lose their power to influence political policies involving unregulated production or research into more affordable medicines, policies which ultimately favor them and their fellow capitalisto fuck-buddies over the ailing and elderly.

And thirdly, what I just said but double.

The radical right always tries to scare us with the Canadian, British, and French "socialized medicine bogeymen", but never tell us that in all 3 of these nations, along with all other developed nations with single-payer health care, that they all have overall higher life expectancy and a better standard of living. (Hint: Look beyond the initial per capita income to see what they can pay for with their money as we toil away at our work just to barely get by and pay for the HMO plan, prescription drugs, other out-of-pocket expenses, etc.).

And for all the usual arguments that "America has the best health care system in the world" and "people from all over the world come here for good care", they also forget to give us a little caveat. "America's best health care" is only available to the super-wealthy that can afford it! What other developed society has so many of its people rely on the emergency room for primary care, has so many uninsured people, so many "insured people" who still pay through the nose for inadequate care, and so many damned diseases ravaging the population?

If Obama, Reid, and Pelosi really wanted to solve our health care crisis and truly bring about universal health care, they'd just push for a "Medicare for All" American single-payer program that would take the best of the British, Canadian, and French programs, then adapt them for this country. But alas, the "sick care" industry would never allow that! And worse yet, it's been like pulling teeth just to get "centrist" (read "corporatist") Democrats & Republicans to even allow a public option that would let us choose a public plan over the usual HMO crap.

It's too bad that what most Americans usually hear about a Canadian style single-payer system is how "scary" it is when the truth is far from scary. Really, why should we be so afraid of lower costs, better care, and longer life expectancy? If we were to ignore the whining and screaming from the "sick care" industry and enact a real universal health care system, we'd be far better off. O' Canada, indeed.

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