What I was taught about universal healthcare

I just today read Melissa’s post, How I Lost My Fear of Universal Healthcare. Prior to last February, Melissa spent several years living in Canada after growing up in the United States, and she explains how she waded through the misinformation she was taught growing up to eventually embrace the idea of universal healthcare.

Like Melissa, I was taught growing up that the Canadian healthcare system is horrible. I was taught that any Canadian with money comes here to the U.S. for healthcare because it’s so hard to get in Canada, with huge waiting lines and a lack of choice. In contrast to the nightmare in Canada, I was taught that the U.S. has the best healthcare system in the world.

And then, in college, I met a Canadian. You know what he told me? He said that when he finished grad school he was moving back to Canada, even though he really would like to stay in the U.S. Why is he moving back? Because, he told me, there was no way he wanted to start a family here, what with our healthcare system the way it is. The idea that he or his could be one accident away from destitution terrified him. He told me how much he loved Canada’s healthcare system, how well it had worked for him, and how secure it made him feel.

I walked away from that conversation incredibly confused. Since then I’ve met several more Canadians, and all of them echo the same thing: the U.S.’s healthcare system is terrifying, Canada’s system is great. Sure, like anything it has its quirks, but overall? I’ve never met a Canadian who didn’t love it.

And now I’m left to wonder how I was so brazenly lied to growing up.

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