How I lost my fear of Universal Health Care

When I moved to Canada in 2008, I was a die-hard conservative Republican. So when I found out that we were going to be covered by Canada’s Universal Health Care, I was somewhat disgusted. This meant we couldn’t choose our own health coverage, or even opt out if we wanted too. It also meant that abortion was covered by our taxes, something I had always believed was horrible. I believed based on my politics that government mandated health care was a violation of my freedom.

When I got pregnant shortly after moving, I was apprehensive. Would I even be able to have a home birth like I had experienced with my first 2 babies? Universal Health Care meant less choice right? So I would be forced to do whatever the medical system dictated regardless of my feelings, because of the government mandate. I even talked some of having my baby across the border in the US, where I could pay out of pocket for whatever birth I wanted. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Midwives were not only covered by the Universal health care, they were encouraged! Even for hospital births. In Canada, Midwives and Dr’s were both respected, and often worked together.

I went to my first Midwife appointment and sat in the waiting room looking at the wall of informational pamphlets. I never went to the Dr growing up, we didn’t have health insurance, and my parents preferred a conservative naturopathic doctor anyways. And the doctor I had used for my first 2 births was also a conservative Christian. So I had never seen information on birth control and STDs. One of the pamphlets read “Pregnant Unexpectedly?” so I picked it up, wondering what it would say. The pamphlet talked about adoption, parenthood, or abortion. It went through the basics of what each option would entail and ended by saying that these choices were up to you. I was horrified that they included abortion on the list of options, and fact that the pamphlet was so balanced instead of “pro-life.”

During my appointment that day, the midwife asked her initial round of questions including whether or not I had desired to become pregnant in the first place. Looking back I am not surprised she asked that, I was depressed at the time, (even though I did not list that on my medical chart) and very vocal about my views on birth control (it wasn’t OK, ever.) No wonder she felt like she should ask if I was happy to be having this baby. But I was angry about the whole thing. In my mind, freedom was being violated, my rights were being decided for me by the evils of Universal Health Care.

Fast forward a little past the Canadian births of my third and fourth babies. I had better prenatal care than I had ever had in the States. I came in regularly for appointments to check on my health and my babies’ health throughout my pregnancy, and I never had to worry about how much a test cost or how much the blood draw fee was. I didn’t have to skip my ultrasound because of the expense. With my pregnancies in the States, I had limited my checkups to only a handful to keep costs down. When I went in to get the shot I needed because of my negative blood type, in Canada it was covered. In fact I got the recommended 2 doses instead of the more risky 1 dose because I didn’t have to worry about the expense. I had a wide array of options and flexibility when it came to my birth, and care providers that were more concerned with my health and the health of my baby than how much money they might make based on my birth, or what might impact their reputation best. When health care is universal, doctors are free to recommend and provide the best care for every patient instead of basing their care on what each patient can afford.

I found out that religious rights were still respected. The Catholic hospital in the area did not provide abortions, and they were not required too. I had an amazing medically safe birth, and excellent post-natal care with midwives who had to be trained, certified and approved by the medical system.

I started to feel differently about Universal government mandated and regulated Health care. I realized how many times my family had avoided hospital care because of our lack of coverage. When I mentioned to Canadians that I had been in a car accident as a teen and hadn’t gone into the hospital, they were shocked! Here, you always went to the hospital, just in case. And the back pain I had endured ever since would have been investigated and cared for with whatever X-rays, Physiotherapy or even Surgery that was needed, which would have been at no cost to me. In our particular province, even chiropractic care was provided after a car accident by the provincial care insurance.When I asked for prayers for my little brother who had been burned in an accident, they were all puzzled why the story did not include immediately rushing him to the hospital. When they asked me to clarify and I explained that many people in the States are not insured and they try to put off medical care unless absolutely needed, they literally could not comprehend such a thing.

I started to wonder why I had been so opposed to government mandated Universal Health care. Almost every western country in the world has Universal Insurance of some kind, except the USA. Here in Canada, everyone was covered. If they worked full-time, if they worked part-time, or if they were homeless and lived on the street, they were all entitled to the same level of care if they had a medical need. People actually went in for routine check-ups and caught many of their illnesses early, before they were too advanced to treat. People were free to quit a job they hated, or even start their own business without fear of losing their medical coverage. In fact, the only real complaint I heard about the Universal Health Care from the Canadians themselves, was that sometimes there could be a wait time before a particular medical service could be provided. But even that didn’t seem to be that bad to me, in the States most people had to wait for medical care, or even be denied based on their coverage. Depending on where one lived and how rural the area was, one’s access to care could be limited, and that was regardless of what country one lived in. The only people guaranteed immediate and full service in the USA, were those with the best (and most expensive) health coverage or wads of cash they could blow. In Canada, the wait times were usually short, and applied to everyone regardless of wealth. If you were discontent with the wait time (and had the money to cover it) you could always travel out of the country to someplace where you could demand a particular service for a price. Personally, I never experienced excessive wait times, I was accepted for maternity care within a few days or weeks, I was able to find a family care provider nearby easily and quickly, and when a child needed to be brought in for a health concern I was always able to get an appointment within that week.

The only concern I was left with was the fact that abortion was covered by the Universal Health Care, and I still believed that was wrong. But as I lived there, I began to discover I had been misled in that understanding as well. Abortion wasn’t pushed as the only option by virtue of it being covered. It was just one of the options, same as it was in the USA. In fact, the percentage rates of abortion are far lower in Canada than they are in the USA, where abortion is often not covered by insurance and can be much harder to get. In 2008 Canada had an abortion rate of 15.2 per 1000 women (In other countries with government health care that number is even lower), and the USA had an abortion rate of 20.8 abortions per 1000 women.

And suddenly I could see why that was the case. With Universal coverage, a mother pregnant unexpectedly would still have health care for her pregnancy and birth even if she was unemployed, had to quit her job, or lost her job. If she was informed that she had a special needs baby on the way, she could rest assured knowing in Canada her child’s health care needs would be covered. Whether your child needs therapy, medicines, a caregiver, a wheelchair, or repeated surgeries, it would be covered by the health care system. Here, you never heard of parents joining the army just so their child’s “pre-existing” health care needs could be covered. In fact, when a special needs person becomes an adult in Canada, they are eligible for a personal care assistant covered by the government. We saw far more developmentally or physically disabled persons out and about in Canada, than I ever see here in the USA. They would be getting their groceries at the store, doing their business at the bank, and even working job, all with their personal care assistant alongside them, encouraging them and helping them when they needed it. When my sister came up to visit, she even commented on how visible special needs people were when the lady smiling and waving while clearing tables at the Taco Bell with her caregiver clearly had Downs Syndrome.

I also discovered that the Canadian government looked out for its families in other ways. The country mandates one year of paid maternity leave, meaning a woman having a baby gets an entire year after the birth of her baby to recover and parent her new baby full-time, while still receiving 55% of her salary and her job back at the end of that year. Either parent can use the leave, so some split it, with one parent staying at home for 6 months and the other staying at home for 6 months. I could hardly believe my ears when I first heard it. In America, women routinely had to return to work after 6 weeks leave, many times unpaid. Many American women lost their jobs when becoming pregnant or having a baby. I knew people who had to go back to work 2 weeks after giving birth just to hang onto their job and continue making enough money to pay the bills. Also every child in Canada gets a monthly cash tax benefit. The wealthier families can put theirs into a savings account to pay for college someday (which also costs far less money in Canada by the way), the not so wealthy can use theirs to buy that car seat or even groceries. In the province we lived in, we also received a monthly day care supplement check for every child under school age. I made more money being a stay at home mom in Canada than I do in the States working a part-time close to a minimum wage job. And none of the things I listed here are considered “welfare” they are available to every Canadian regardless of income. For those with lower incomes than we had there are other supports in place as well.

If a woman gets pregnant unexpectedly in America, she has to worry about how she will get her own prenatal care, medical care for her child, whether or not she will be able to keep her job and how she will pay for daycare for her child so she can continue to support her family. In Canada those problems are eliminated or at least reduced. Where do you think a woman is more likely to feel supported in her decision to keep her baby, and therefore reduce abortions?

Since all of these benefits are available to everyone, I never heard Canadians talking about capping their incomes to remain lower income and not lose their government provided health coverage. Older people in Canada don’t have to clean out their assets to qualify for some Medicare or Social Security programs, I knew older people who went in for procedure after procedure, and we never heard about dwindling resources, kids paying for their parents medical expenses, or being forced to use up life insurance or funeral savings in order to get the health care they needed. I heard of inheritances being left even amongst the middle classes. Something I had only heard about in wealthy families in the USA.

And lest you think that the Canada system is draining the government resources, their budget is  very close to balanced every year. They’ve had these programs for decades. Last year Canada’s national debt was 586 billion dollars, the USA has 15.5 trillion dollars in national debt. Canada has about one 10th the population of the US, so even accounting for size, the USA is almost 3 times more indebted. And lest you think that taxes are astronomical, our median income taxes each year were only slightly higher than they had been in the States, and we still got a large chunk of it back each year at tax time.

In the end, I don’t see Universal health care as an evil thing anymore.
Comparing the two systems, which one better values the life of each person?
Which system is truly more family friendly?

I’ve written a follow-up post to this one here: Why I used to be afraid of Universal Health Care

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10699897524927402018 Rebecca

    Thank you for posting this! I immediately shared it on fb!

  • http://www.mrsspit.ca Mrs. Spit

    One of the things that makes me so proud is the way our government creates a social safety net for our citizens.

    One minor correction – maternity leave is 55% of your income, capped at 40K, for one year. And, after the first 16 weeks, either parent can take a portion of it, which means that mum or dad can stay home with babe, depending on what makes sense.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09057315024570711003 Unknown

    Very thorough and well put. This is my experience too, from living abroad. I just wish I could convince my conservative friends and family.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04738076740941616678 Rebecca

    This is very interesting Melissa – thanks for sharing it. I think the part that stood out to me (not surprisingly, I guess) was that the Catholic hospital was still allowed to follow its conscience and not perform abortions. While I strongly believe health care (or rather the insurance industry – the care itself is actually good, or has the potential to be w/o insurance companies in the way) in the US needs fixing, I do not think the current "solution" (Obamacare) is the right one either. I'm not suggesting I have the right solution, but I do know when we start forcing people to violate their consciences we have started down a very dangerous path.

    I don't leave this to cause controversy – really, I mean it as a positive reflection that Canada has figured out a way to offer health care AND respect conscience. Thank-you for including that point :).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14775794907218052899 Amanda

    Well said. Sharing on Facebook.

  • Ruth Burger

    I LOVE you for writing this! It is refreshing to read and I will pass this on! THANK YOU!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08135229596877003069 Michelle Hughes

    This is interesting information. I am, by no means, sold on Universal Healthcare, though you have provided some food for thought.

    I had more here, but then decided it's for my own blog to write it. I have many reservations about this move in the U.S. but mine are mostly related to the HHS mandate and the infringement on religious liberty. I don't believe that is just my perception, I believe it's a reality and I believe the HHS mandate is unconstitutional even if the ACA has been deemed constitutional. I guess we'll see.

    Anyway, thanks for writing about your perspective. The 1-year maternity leave thing is something I have envied all my childbearing years. Sometimes I have had to go back at 6 weeks, other times 12 weeks and one time 8 weeks. It's never been easy and I'm sure even a year home to care for my babies would be difficult to return from, but it sure would be nice to find out. :)

  • Ruth Burger

    I am passing this on IMMEDIATELY!! I have long-supported UHC, even in my staunch Republican days. Thank you!!

  • Anonymous

    I am not in favor of Universal Health Care on principle. it all sounds so good, but you are giving your freedom of choice completely away. The government becomes your provider, not God. You become dependent on the government and worship it instead of God.

    I don't think Obama care is the solution. Government taking away from some to give to others is not charity is stealing. you can't force charity on people. God doesn't do it, why should government or anyone do it??

    on the surface, UHC looks good, but it's a web of deceit.

    PS I don't have insurance and I pay cash for all my health care. I have 4 children.

    • Deb

      Why is everyone so afraid of “losing choices” with Universal Care? If you are lucky enough to have insurance and belong to an HMO, you have no choice, you are assigned to a physician. The coverage that allows you to select a doc usually has a list they approve, otherwise you pay more to see someone outside the Network. If you need a specialist you usually have to get a referral from your PCP. God forbid you have just plain Medicare….many providers drop you as a patient unless you are willing to pay yourself because Medicare has such poor reimbursement. Many Medicare recipients can’t find a primary care provider willing to take them. Many Medicaid recipients (your tax dollars at work) cannot find a provider or end up on a long waiting list , and end up using the ER as a safety net.
      As a nurse practitioner in a retail walk-in clinic, it breaks my heart when someone leaves without care because they cannot afford the average $89 visit. No one should have to make the choice between rent and healthcare!

      • BJ Hart

        I don’t understand when people say we do not have ‘choice’ in Canada. In fact, there is MUCH LESS intervention than the USA. When anyone in our family is sick, we can go to any clinic or hospital we wish for care, and NEVER is a govt. official part of the picture in care. We simply show our healthcare card and see a doctor. End of story. No insurance forms to fill out or pre-existing questions. And you can get second opinions easily as well.

        Canadians see healthcare simply as an ‘unalienable right’, just like having the police or fire department or road repair, basic education. How would Americans feel if the fire department stood at the door with a fire blazing and asked for a credit card before putting out the fire? Or a police officer who needed payment before helping you after being robbed? Being a healthy human being is the first building block of success in a society, so it makes sense to include it as an ‘unalienable right’.

        I am an American expat was born and raised in the States, but since my father was often laid off from the construction union, I grew up often without any health insurance, and even broke my finger once and didn’t get taken to the doctor because we didn’t have the money. I now have an eight year old daughter in Montreal, and even her DENTAL care is covered here until age 10 (another PREVENTATIVE program in Canada). She has an amazing pediatrician who has quickly referred her to the local children’s hospital for xrays or blood tests as needed, and you simply show a healthcare card to the receptionist and then see the doctor (again, NO govt. official is ever involved in telling you WHO you must see).

        IMPORTANT FACT: While providing healthcare for ALL regardless of income, Canada spends only 10.4% of its GNP compared to 16% in the USA — healthcare costs more per capita in the USA than in Canada. You can look this fact up anywhere. Pharmaceuticals and a sadly large number of greedy doctors make A LOT more money if they can convince Americans that our healthcare system is bad, but it is not.

        IMPORTANT HISTORICAL NOTE ABOUT ‘SOCIALIZED HEALTHCARE’:

        You DO have freedom of choice, but sadly Americans were first misled about universal healthcare by the world’s first political consulting firm, Campaigns Inc., started in San Francisco by Whitaker & Baxter in the 1930s. Campaigns Inc. was hired by the American Medical Association in the 1940s — they were paid $100,000 retainer plus millions for a targetted smear campaign against President Truman’s efforts to give Americans universal healthcare.

        Campaigns Inc. actually SELECTED the term ‘socialized medicine’ (a term nobody uses here in Canada — it was INVENTED by Campaigns Inc.), and used that term over and over and over again in a targetted smear campaign to defeat Truman’s bill, scaring doctors and the public with lies… and it worked. Even today, many Americans cringe at the mention of ‘socialized medicine’ without ever wondering why… NO ONE in Canada or other countries with single payer/universal healthcare use that expression. It was created by Campaigns Inc., and still used today as a scare tactic.

        I’m now working on a feature documentary film about this smear campaign, so if there are any other American expats in Canada or Americans in the USA without insurance who would like to participate, please get in touch with me. I am so saddened how many children do not have adequate healthcare in the USA, my home and native land. I have no other agenda than to help Americans see through the smear campaign to understand what ‘socialized medicine’ really is… and it is simply more, humane.

        • John Murphy

          There actually is “socialized medicine” but in the United States, not in Canada. Socialized Medicine is a system where the government actually OWNS the hospitals and physicians and all staff are CIVIL SERVANTS. Canada is not this way, but the only nation in which has socialized medicine is the United States, but it’s not “Obamacare”, it’s US Military and DVA health care which is the only socialized medicine in North America.

          When Americans say they want to get rid of Socialized Medicine, the only possible system they want to get rid of is US Military and DVA health care systems, since those are the only systems in NorthAmerica which meet the definition of Socialized Medicine. Single Payer systems (Canadian health care, Medicare, Medicaid, etc.) are the diameterical opposite of socialized medicine, since the government which pays physician and hospital bills do NOT own the hospitals, and physicians are in private practice (i.e. NOT civil servants).

    • Kodaly

      The U.S. can do what it wants; the more they want to dig a hole for themselves the better. But the argument in this anonymous comment has some major faults. Put succinctly, universal health care does not equal worship; and even if it did it amounts to the appreciation of good health for everyone; such a concept is not adverse to spirituality. Wealth, although partly from our own work, does not entirely belong to us as individuals and I mean that on a strict economical base. In other words, it is through society that wealth, and economy become possible, therefore it does not entirely belong to ourselves. U. health care is not charity, it is simply a better way to have a healthy society. The thing is, everyone’s health is interlocked, and so it is not possible to truly be a healthy individual if other parts of the society are not healthy. On a purely practical level, if you have unhealthy people in your society due to not affording health care, than you yourself will also be at risk even if you are one of the people who can afford health care.

    • Amanda

      I don’t know why Americans think people with UHC give up their “freedom” of choice. It’s something I hear over and over again, and it’s ridiculous. And it’s not a “web of deceit.” The HMOs and insurance companies in the US are the ones spinning webs of deceit.
      I’m Canadian, and I although I have a primary care doctor, I chose her. I can go to any hospital or clinic of my choice, at any time. We pay for our own health care, it just goes through the government. The government doesn’t dictate my medical decisions or treatments, my physician, healthcare providers and I do. I never have to wait to be “approved” for a procedure, or worry about hitting limits on plans.
      I also go to the University of Michigan. I know how the US health care system works – and it’s an ineffective, patchwork system that, while it may have the best technology, is expensive and wasteful. Better technology does not always mean better outcomes, but a healthy, productive population does.

    • http://- M Genner

      Greetings from Down Under
      We Australians cannot understand how you could not have universal health care.
      I recently visited my local doctor for back pain. She sent me for X-Rays, gave me 5 x free visits to a physiotherapist, and recommended I have a (free) cholesterol check. Total cost? Zero dollars.
      I have had a (free) arthroscopic knee operation, tonsillectomy etc over the years. Wonderful care for my partner when our son was born, including a week in a post-natal care unit (in a beautiful restored building adjacent to the hospital). Total cost? Zero. No impact on my religious freedom (not ever asked).
      I really hope you collectively realise the advantages of universal health care – it’s a pillar of a civilised society.

      • Levi

        It was absolutely not free. You paid for it in taxes, as did every other Australian. Money was taken from them to pay for your problem. Many Australians probably agree with that, but some do not. How exactly is that civilized?

        • Francesco

          Believe me, you say so because you never tried. I’m Italian and as everybody knows around the world, many things go wrong here. People complain on how the govt spends money on politics, wastes of money everywhere, but nobody, NOBODY, would ever complain the have had their salary taxed for health insurance. People simply don’t think about money when it comes to health. Health is your right.
          Also, I have read of someone here saying that UHC is like govt playing God or something like that. Let me give you some advice. Invest some more money in education, you need to.

        • mark

          Yes Levi you are right we pay with our taxes – everyone of us in Australia and most other industrialized nations. I wonder why Americans are so suspicious of a democratically elected government and would rather put their citizens good health into the hands of corporations who quite rightly are profit making by their very definition. When I hear “freedom of choice” I wonder if Americans really understand who they are really choosing and the real cost of that choice.

    • Alison Cowan

      I cannot comprehend this argument and never have been able to. Every doctor, clinic, care provider and hospital is covered under the same system. That’s “universal.” So is every citizen, immigrant or temporary resident. _That’s_”universal.” So, every person can make any choice they want. Any choice. How is this a LOSS of freedom?

    • Conservative

      I work in the US and work with Canadian citizens. From my conversations with them regarding their healthcare, they said it works well for routine types of appointments, however, to make an appointment for a MRI can take 6 mos or longer. And, if you need surgery of any type, it could be months before you are scheduled. Many Canadians come to the US when they are in need of major surgery. Doesn’t sound so great to me. Also, many Canadians studying to be doctors eventually leave Canada to work in the U.S. They are paid according to what their government says they can be paid.

      • Ken

        I had a small stroke and had to wait for 3 hours for an MRI. an hour would have been nicer I agree.

    • Denise

      You must be part of the 1%

  • Lissa

    Losing your privilege to impose your religious views on others is not the same as loss of religious freedom, and is certainly not unconstitutional. Religious hospitals won't have to provide services they oppose, they just have to allow coverage of family planning services for their employees. The compromise means they don't even have to pay for it themselves! If that isn't bending over backwards to protect religious freedom while also preventing imposition of religion, then I don't know what is. Of course some people won't be satisfied until their particular religion is imposed on everyone, and they don't care at all if that is unconstitutional!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07727291511829658991 penn

    Thanks for the post. I really appreciate hearing your experiences. I'm most worried about maternity coverage. I currently have health care that doesn't ever cover maternity (I pay out of my pocket for my coverage). I'm starting a job soon that will cover maternity, so my husband and I can finally think about starting a family. But I'm a teacher, and I will only get 6 weeks of unpaid maternity coverage. So I'm pretty sure every baby we have will be born in mid-spring. I'd love to time my babies so they are born 6 weeks before the end of the school year. And I am really sad that I have to think about my family in such a way.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06579421482652883728 Megan Nowak

    I love this!! I wish more people would read this but some are so set in their conservative ways they would probably just badmouth the post. This is why I sooo PASSIONATELY hate living in the United States. And if I could I would relinquish my families citizenship to live elsewhere. Canada, Germany….WHEREVER just to get out of this corporate ass-kissing country.

    I envy anyone who lives in a country that REALLY cares about its citizens(and not just the rich ones who screw people over).

    It will take a LONGGGGG time before something like this happens here and if it does happen it will be because of a giant revolutionary war inside our own borders. I hope I am here to witness and be in that war!! For the sake of my children and the future generations!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17904858990740505588 Molly

    I think you hit the nail on the head – I'm not thrilled that abortion services are covered, but I think the big debate over it is a smokescreen. I don't want to work towards abortion being illegal anymore, I want abortion to be unnecessary; I want to fix the social problems in our country that make it "the only option"

    • Dana

      “I don’t want to work towards abortion being illegal anymore, I want abortion to be unnecessary; I want to fix the social problems in our country that make it “the only option” ”

      I am adamantly pro-choice, but that is the best and most reasonable statement I’ve heard someone make on this topic. Nice!

      As for this article, by gods I wish we had this. I am lucky enough to get Medicaid during my pregnancies but after that, my husband and I go without insurance, but our children are covered through medicaid as long as we qualify. He had contracted samonella a few years back and by the time we had enough money to take him to the doctor, he had been sick a week and the virus has just about worked it’s way through his system. It was hell and I wish we had options like the ones you described without having to worry about what we would have to go without.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18261932798380141520 Latebloomer

    I have a lot of doubts as to whether you read the post or just the title, Anonymous.

    I sincerely hope for the sake of your four children that you continue to have the good fortune to pay for their medical care without declaring bankruptcy. Many common medical emergencies are almost impossible for a middle class family to cover. My family was lucky enough to have health insurance when a family member had to be hospitalized in ICU for over 2 weeks, since in the end the bill came to almost $1 million. And that was ONE PERSON, ONE INCIDENT.

    • Francesco

      Where I live, if you stay 2 weeks in ICU it probably means you are not ready to get back to a normal life and your family will have to take extra care of you. This is why we get a monthly cheque for some months if by any chance you could experience financial problems after an incident.
      You know what, I’m not a believer, in fact I’m an atheist. But still, there are some parts of the Christian messagge that I consider revolutionary in history, no matter of you believe or not. One of them is equality. If God ever wanted us to do behave as his message states, that would be UHC as you call it in Canada, or SSN as we call it in Italy were I live.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    In Spain the main complain it's also the waiting time but it's usually very short and if you don't want to wait you can go private for that intervention because in Spain there's Universal Health care but there's also a private sector you can always use if you don't want to wait or like fancy rooms for example. Still, the national system is very very good and I don't envy you guys your situation at all in the US.

  • Anonymous

    If you're paying cash for all health care, you are shirking your responsibility to provide and care for your children because of your ideological blindness. You stand convicted in the sight of God and men for your prideful refusal to fortify your family against grievous illness and financial ruin. You have placed your worship of right-wing ideology above your obligation to yourself and your family, and in your arrogance you are exposing your family's security to the whims of fate. Your "dependence" on God's providence is an excuse to shirk personal responsibility, exactly as an unemployed person's "dependence" on unemployment insurance is an excuse to avoid work. You need to prayerfully reconsider your priorities and humble yourself from your prideful refusal to provide for your family's health and security.

  • http://nowealthbutlife.com Rae

    What a great post! One of the incredibly disappointing things about the new US law is that it completely fails to resemble Canada's. It seems that the only improvements will be for those who are already fairly privileged (so it is easier to work fewer hours/freelance and not worry about coverage, or to keep your 25-year-old on your great plan). My parents have never had coverage, and under the new law they still won't be able to get affordable insurance (and thus won't pay any fine for being uninsured). And that stinks. If I am going to give up rights (which isn't constitutional) then I would at least want quality of coverage to be improved for those who actually need it! //end rant against stupid US.

  • Anonymous

    Greetings from Finland.

    Our teenage abortion and pregnancy rates are some of the lowest in the whole world. I have three kids and we have 10 months paid "maternity-leave" and even longer with dangerous works, that might cause risk to the fetus (like because of chemical hazards or smoke in the working place). After that it is possible to stay at home with small payment until kid is 3 year old and some minucipalitis pay extra so that little kids are not in the day care. Day care is subjective right to every kid and parent – municipalities has to arrange place within 4 months of the application (within 2 weeks in certain cases for example when mother has got a new job). During that 3 years it is illegal to fire mother or father of the small kid from her/his job.

    I was at home only the minimum time (10 months) but after that my husband stayed at home 6 months with every kid and his working place has no other possibilites but to accept that. Now he makes shorter working week – this right is supported by the law until kid is 10 years old. For every kid we also got small amount of money from the goverment every month.

    I have graduated from the university. We have only public universities and schools, basic schooling system is internationally considered very good. Studying is free even in universities and I got small support from the goverment monthly ( for 55 months). Therefore even me and my two sisters could study despite the poor home and together we have now 5 diplomas from academical or vocational unversities.

    Few months ago my younger son had a heart surgery operation – it costed 75 euros for me (25 euros for every day in the hospital). If I need something extra for the kids, I cover it with the additional insurance. I myself pay every now and then some extra services like dentistry (long waiting times in public heath care) or bith control methods and female wellfare. After very difficult last pregnancy I got sterilization from the public health care but they give it only in certain conditions (enough age, three kids and/or medical reasons).

    I have never felt this system limiting. My father was an alcoholic and we were poor but I had liberty to study, to have a big family and become highly-educated expert with moderately high salary. It was the matter of my own abilities and talents, not because of my parents wallet. Me and my husband both have worked only in private sector enterprices that make very good profit despite all the social burden.

    An d my kids may walk to their school (3 kilometers from our home), which has no guards, gates or metal detectors. Yes sir, I like it here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12304621780181651143 miabellavintage

    As a Canadian, I was proud to read this well represented view of our system.
    What I and my fellow Canadians will NEVER be able to fathom, is the American idea of God vs Government…..or the worship thereof.

    I certainly do not worship my government or in any way equate it with God. What I do surely appreciate is the fact that I see it as a way of life, and a provision FROM GOD, to take care of people. I thank God all the time I live in a society that I do not have to worry one minute about finances vs health.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16979912092987681396 Sandra

    I just got home from an appointment with a neurologist. I have been sitting in waiting rooms around town for the doctor, the blood draw at a separate free-standing lab, and another separate pharmacy for the last four hours. Today cost me $55/dollars, which makes me have to ration how much gas I buy for my car later today. In the last two weeks I have spent another eight or more hours and another $1250 to see another doctor and get an MRI. This cost is all after my insurance has paid their portion. It means we didn't pay the mortgage this month. We are a family in the top 20% of income and we have what is generally considered excellent insurance. According our cultural mythology, I should be the recipient of the best of our country's health care system. But when even I am having to choose between mortgages/gas for the car and medical care to find out what is wrong with my health, our system is terribly flawed.

    Whether we had universal care or a no-insurance, entirely fee-for-service plan (with its greater opportunity to offer sliding scale and pro bono services), more people would be better served. Instead everyone, from doctors to patients to pharmacies to hospitals and clinics, is serving the system rather than the welfare of actual people. The only people who benefit from our system is the stockholders of insurance and pharmaceutical companies. That's not health care.

    • E

      Im sorry, but if you are in the top 20% income level and cannot afford your doctor bills, then you are obviously living above your means…

      • stace

        she doesn’t have to be. month after month, appointment after appointment – this is how families lose everything in the states. top 20% doesn’t mean you suddently have all sorts of loose cash just lying around – especially if you’re in the lower end.
        a post above this keeps going thru my head – 2 weeks icu, 1 person, 1 million dollars…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12304621780181651143 miabellavintage

    Thank you. As a Canadian, I have always thought our system of healthcare was vastly misunderstood. I don't believe abortion is right. But just because I pay my minimum premium every month does not make me in any way shape or form responsible for those who want an abortion. The decision for a woman to have an abortion is hers. The responsibility, consequences, and what she says to God on her day of reckoning is hers and hers alone. The Dr's who choose to perform these horrid procedures also will stand before God.

    I am thankful I have had the care, for the stitches, glass in the foot, hernia surgery, eye surgery, broken limbs, dislocated limbs, concussions, head injuries (brain) suffered by my 18 yr old, and a zillion blood work ups, 4 pregnancies via C-sections etc. If I out of pocket, had to pay for all of this, we would have been bankrupt before our first year of marriage was finished.My daughter completed a brain injury, rehabilitation program for 11 wks, and it did not cost us a dime. It was an invaluable resource for her healing, and recovery. My daughter has had MRI, CT scans and I have never once in all of her care or any of the small issues such as my one year old needing stitches from a hamster bite, ever worried about how we were going to pay for this. I thank God, for the services our government provides and consider it a blessing, and a privilege to be cared for this way. Nobody considers it a negative on our rights and freedoms……..in fact it is our right as a Canadian citizen, rich or poor, homeless, retired, single or married to have it just for being born here. I consider that freedom. Freedom from worry, bankruptcy, and fear.

  • Anonymous

    I've been lurking for a while, but on this question I feel qualified to answer. It's going to be long, so my apologies in advance.
    I am a Canadian mom of four children, I run a day home so that I can still feel I am contributing and be at home with my children. We are a conservative (for Canada) Anglican family, my DH's Uncle is a priest in the Anglican church.
    I have to admit that My friends and I don't understand the current debate over health care in the states. A lot of it might as well be in a different language, we just don't get the view point, or the vitriol associated with it.
    I would like to comment on "Anonymous's" post above. I have never met anyone who worships the government here in Canada. We simply don't feel that strongly about it one way or another, we might like them better or less than the other parties, but hate or worship? The vast majority of us just don't even pay them that much attention.

  • Anonymous

    (sorry, I did say it would be long)
    Also, Universal Health Care is not charity. It is not free. I pay for it through my taxes, and with a family income over $100,000 I pay for more than just our use. I'm okay with that. The thought of some of the stories we hear out of the states with children going without adequate care strikes me as not only wrong, but also un-christian, inhumane, etc. I ahve yet to meet any religious person of any creed who doesn't support the idea of our having a responsibility towards the "least of these". The fact that people die in the states all the time because they don't have the money for cancer treatment or what have you is just sickening.
    Abortion here is handled very differently than in the states. You can get an abortion whenever you can find a Dr who will perform one. You just won't find one who will do a late term abortion, partial birth abortion, any of those incredible atrocities. You will find it simple to find a place to legally have an abortion if you are still in your first trimester. After that fewer and fewer places will perform the procedure.
    You will not find it stigma free, except in the case of rape. The general view here is that you have the right to do it, but why? If you are an adult and don't want to keep the baby, have it, give it up, have your paid 12 weeks to recover and go on with your life.
    I would define myself as sort of pro-choice. I will not force my will on you, but don't expect me to be approving or supportive.
    Our system is not perfect. Wait times as mentioned above can be problematic at times. However, when I show up at the hospital with a seriously ill child, they don't ask for my info untill they are done treating that child. If I'm not being rushed straight to treatment and will be waiting, they collect the person's info first. I have 4 children who have all ended up needing the emergency room at least once, usually for croup, pneumonia, asthma, etc. I have been rushed straight to the back, and I have been left sitting for hours waiting my turn. I KNOW that they are not neglecting me in favour of someone with more money, they are not neglecting me or mine at all. It's emergency, sickest first, not first come first served.
    It is not "charity" any more than an adequately funded education system is charity (by the way, home schoolers here have the right to funding for their children's education same as others). Both a publicly funded education system and a publicly funded health system allow us to be a healthy, well-educated, employable, and relatively content population. I don't worry about how to make sure my kids get into the "right" schools to go to a premier university. I was accepted into 4 US universities including PRATT, New York school of art and design, with nothing more than my own ordinary public bilingual education.
    For my children I have chosen a publicly funded, Catholic, French Immersion school with Occupational Therapy for one child and a gifted program for the other. My school fees are considered outrageous, as it is a program of choice and not the local school my fees for the 2 kids will total $400 next school year. Including transportation, and text books, smart boards in the class rooms. For both of them.
    And people complain a lot because there will be 24 kids in my grade 3 students classroom next year.
    I guess low debt, good health care, very good education, good employment prospects, are all things you get when you vote for people who invest in kids instead of bombs. (though they really need to invest a bit more in the Armed Forces. I have several family members and friends in there, including a Nurse on the DART teams.

  • http://whirlwitch.livejournal.com/ whirlwitch

    Abortion can never be completely unnecessary, because sadly there will always be medical conditions that make it necessary to abort to save the mother's life, or spare the fetus from suffering, and abortions of dead fetuses as well.

    I do agree that fixing social ills would eliminate the need for many abortions. There are so many areas to work on that would help in this area. Strangely, I never see people who are against abortion working on them. Providing sex education, affordable birth control, prenatal care, health care and social security for women and children; and fighting rape, domestic violence and reproductive coercion; all are things which would either reduce unwanted pregnancies or help support parenthood as an option. But the activists working for these things are predominantly pro-choice. If more people took your view and worked on these issues, I'm sure it would help!

  • http://whirlwitch.livejournal.com/ whirlwitch

    If you had read the article, you would know that there is NOT less choice in health care in Canada. Actually, there's more. We aren't bound by a list of doctors and procedures our insurance will cover. We are free to see any doctor we wish, have any procedure that exists. There is even a private option in Canada, for those who prefer it.

    Also, by your own logic, if government-provided health care makes government God, in the US those with insurance worship their insurance companies, and your God is cash. You are of course free to worship money if you want (and you would be in Canada, where we have freedom of religion), but I disagree with your reasoning. I don't believe that anyone must worship their health care provider, and I suspect that if you asked around, you'd find that few people do.

    Personally, I'm Canadian and I do not worship the government, despite receiving health care from it. There are four churches in my small village, and none of them have OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) as their deity.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17904858990740505588 Molly

    There are quite a few pro-life activist groups who choose the social change/social justice route. In fact many Catholic charities are very attive in all these but the birth control route (because many BC are in fact abortifacants) we just don't seem to get as much attention because our routes – education, support for unwed mothers, etc. are not "quick fixes" like handing out a packet of pills. If you wanted to see a prolife group fighting for these things Google "Feminists for Life", they work under the tagline "women deserve better". Sadly, back in my pro-choice days the only thing I ever saw was the opposite of what you see – the pro-choice groups in my areas were convinced that pills and abortions were the only thing worth focusing on.

    And you actually hit on another reason that even though I'm against abortion, but not focusing on it's legality – I don't want to see women in jail because of miscarriages or choosing a d/c for an already deceased child and even though I don't agree with BC pills for BC sake I do recognize their medicial necessity for some women and there for don't seek to make BC illegal, and fully support the education of women who find themselves with that medical necessity to learn NFP/FA methods to limit the chances of conceiving while taking necessary medicines.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15824217102632813598 Tanit-Isis

    As another Canadian, I am really proud to read this, too. The idea of living without universal health coverage terrifies me—but it was not without opposition when it was introduced back in the 60s: doctors and nurses went on strike and had to be mandated back to work by the government. Now, I think most doctors wouldn't want to work in a private system where they have to turn people away or advise poorer care because of costs.

    Canada has a similar situation to the US for certain things—dental care, eye care, prescription drug coverage, where you generally get benefits from your employer or have the option to purchase it privately, and all I have to do is compare my family's access to these services to our access to regular healthcare to know which is better. Sometimes we have dental coverage, sometimes we don't. Sometimes my daughter can get new glasses right when she needs them, sometimes we have to wait. But we've always been able to go to the doctor when necessary.

    Wait times can be long in Canada, particularly when dealing with specialists, but when the situation is critical the response is quick. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer a few years back, she had the MRI (which provided the diagnosis) within two days of being admitted to the hospital, and was in surgery within hours of the MRI.

    And I'm pretty sure the Catholic hospitals in Canada provide employee benefit plans which cover birth control for their employees. ;)

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Um, Catholic hospitals here aren't "forced" to perform abortions either and Obamacare isn't trying to force them. The ridiculous controversy of the past few months has been over whether or not Catholic and Christian employers ought to be "forced" to give coverage to their employees for services and medications that they don't agree with–mostly birth control. THAT'S been the Obamacare controversy. Catholic hospitals performing abortions is an entirely separate issue.

    And leaving aside the huge glaring problem of having religious organizations force their views down their employees' throats, the only reason this is even a problem to begin with is because healthcare in the United States is still provided through employers. If we had a single-payer system like Canada has, the onus to provide healthcare would no longer be on employers and it wouldn't matter what their "consciences" said about what I should be able to do with my personal life. The buck would not stop with them, it would stop with the government and they wouldn't have any involvement in their employees' healthcare at all. This whole political bloodbath over "conscience" could have been avoided with a single-payer system, but those of us who advocate for such things generally get drowned out by all the people shrieking "socialist!" Who are usually exactly the same people hollering about employers' being "forced" to cover birth control for their employees anyway.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Haha! My mom is a teacher too and that was her method–fortunately, my parents were able to pull it off too. My sister and I have birthdays a week apart, both in late May.

    The things we have to do in this ridiculous country. lol.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    I went backpacking through Nova Scotia and Newfoundland a few years ago, during the summer that the whole Obamacare "death panel" hoopla was going on. In Nova Scotia, I was surprised to find that there was a fairly big evangelical/fundamentalist presence. I spent about 4 hours on a bus with a pentecostal preacher and his wife (both lovely people) and talked to many others like them too. From talking to them, I could pick up that many of their views were pretty conservative and individualistic. Yet all of them, every single one, wanted to ask me how on earth people could be making such a big deal about healthcare "down there." What were they afraid of? They just didn't get it. These were fundamentalist Christians I was talking to.

    I didn't know how to explain to them that their American counterparts were a major force behind all the hysteria…

  • http://lindseykennedy.wordpress.com/ LAK

    I find all this 'religious freedom' stuff really, really weird as a criticism of healthcare. In the UK, so long as you aren't abusing your children or preventing others from exercising their freedom of choice, respecting individual and cultural beliefs is made a huge deal of within the NHS. People sometimes complain about waiting a couple of weeks to see their GP (not for serious stuff – if it's an emergency you'd go to the hospital emergency room) or about a bitchy nurse or whatever, but I've never heard anyone say that their personal beliefs weren't taken into account. I find it hard to understand where this idea comes from. Also, as Lissa says, giving people access to options they need or want increases their freedom, it doesn't take it away.

    Having grown up in the UK, I found this article heartbreaking. Access to healthcare should be the most basic requisite for any developed country, and a primary goal for any developing country. My brother was born with a serious illness and my sister and I have had our own emergency-rush-to-hospital moments, much like everyone else I know. I just cannot comprehend the idea of looking at a serious injured or dying child and asking to see a credit card, or having to decide whether I'll be able to 'afford' to give my kids the things they need to stay alive. Makes my skin crawl. Especially when people try to claim that withholding the right to live is necessary for them to be able to exercise their 'religious freedom'.

    One of those moments when I am so, so glad I live where I do.

    • Jill

      Just ot clarify- they don’t ask for payment in an emergency before they treat you, but you will get billed, you will have it go into collections etc, if you don’t have insurance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17904858990740505588 Molly

    here, here rae. The biggest problem I've had with our version HHS is that seems to do little or nothing to provide affordable health insurance to a good number of people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13930917517196516292 Jason Dick

    Great post! It strongly mirrors my own experience with socialized health care in Italy vs. the US (though with different medical issues, naturally). However, one pedantic point:

    "And the back issue I had since the accident would have been helped by prescribed chiropractic care which would have been at no cost to me."

    Chiropractic care, as it turns out, is pure quackery. It has never been proven to provide any relief, and it can cause serious injury or death. Victims of certain kinds of stroke are three times more likely to have seen a chiropractor recently than controls…and since strokes are frequently not categorized, we don't know just how many people a year die from chiropractic care. Here's a bit more detail if you're interested:
    http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/index.php/chiropractic-and-stroke/

  • Anonymous

    Actually, the ACA has several provisions for those who might struggle to buy health insurance. First, in 2014, medicaid, the existing government provided insurance for the poor, will be sharply expanded. As long as your income doesn't exceed 133% of the federal poverty level, your insurance will be provided for, even if you don't have kids.

    If you make more than 133% of the federal poverty level, for individuals/families that make between 133% to 400% of the poverty level, the government must provide subsidies to help pay for a private insurance plan which you can get at the new state-based healthcare "exchanges" that will start in 2014. At these exchanges, companies will compete to provide cost efficient plans for those who still don't have insurance.

    Finally, even though buying insurance will cost some people in the short time, it is a far better cost to bear than risk being uninsured. Without insurance, illnesses such as a burn often go untreated, leading to infections and worse problems, which costs more money than insurance. Families skip checkups, so primary care physicians can rarely provide preventive care in the form of vaccinations, cancer screenings, or counseling. Ultimately, this costs families much more than health premiums.

    http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2010/March/22/consumers-guide-health-reform.aspx

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. I am an American who lived in Canada for 4 years. There are many things that Canadians do better. Glad to read the opinion of another person who knows this. (And it is always amazes me how many of my fellow Americans get angry when I tell them this truth!)

  • Poddy

    This is much my experience as a Quebecer — and Quebec supposedly has the worst health service of all the provinces. I have had to wait in emergency rooms when it turned out I wasn't that much of an emergency. I have also been driven by ambulance to the hospital when I was. In either case I received respectful treatment and didn't have to worry about whether I could afford it. I never had to decide not to buy a medication I needed because I couldn't afford it. Family doctors are certainly scarce — I have a first appointment with one in November — but there is an excellent local network of walk-in clinics, and I was able to use both a local local youth clinic and the school clinic for years.

    For years, when I was a minor and then a student, the system paid into me. Now I am paying into the system. I am perfectly okay with this. It's much easier to pay my taxes as a set amount yearly and know I (and everyone else) can go to the doctor when I need it, than to pay an insurance company a similar or larger amount, only to still have to pay for every visit, every test, every drug, maybe find out the ones I need aren't covered anyway, and hey, if it IS covered, the fact that I am using the services jacks up my insurance costs.

    We ARE all in this together, aren't we?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18261932798380141520 Latebloomer

    *SO JEALOUS*

    And the per capita spending on health care is FAR FAR less in Finland than in the US. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/healthcare-spending-countries_n_1388306.html#s825346&title;=1_United_States

  • Awol

    I would love to hear an economist (hopefully neutral :) speak to whether or how this would work in the U.S. with the massive influx of illegal immigrants, our unemployment rates, the numbers of people on unemployment and welfare, our current welfare and governmental system, etc. I am neutral on this and unaware of how well it has worked in other countries. Does Canada have a stricter immigrant policy? If so, does this help them maintain their national budgets better? I don't know. I am not presuming anything. I am just wondering. Frankly, Canada's system sounds great from what you describe, Melissa and others.

    • http://bakka111.wordpress.com/ Bakka

      Canadian society is fairly similar to the USA in terms of all of those things you mention. We have a lot of immigrants, we have a similar unemployment level & number on welfare, etc. Where we differ is defence spending.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I lived in England for a while about 10 years ago and came down with bacterial meningitis. I was only on a student visa, but I was treated with the utmost care. Doctors checked on me multiple times during the day when I was in the hospital. Got top notch care in a state of the art hospital even though I was not in a big city. After I was discharged with bags and bags of antibiotics (at least that is what it seemed like) I received house calls from a doctor for a week and then a certified nurse the week after to follow my progress to ensure that I was continuing improvements. Not once was I asked for insurance, nor payment. I was covered under their health plan. I will be forever grateful for the generosity of their health care system. I can't imagine what this treatment would have cost in the US even with insurance. I do not understand why people are so afraid of healthcare for all. When I tell people my experience some look at me like I am lying – which is unfortunate. I'm glad to hear other Americans having good experiences with universal healthcare abroad.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, great post and comments. We Americans have a lot to learn from our Canadian and European friends.

  • Anonymous

    You are such a fool! You call yourself a parent?

    I pray, I'm Canadian and Catholic, that nothing serious ever happens to any of your children. Or God forbid you only have enough money to treat one deathly ill child.

    As a parent you should be doing everything possible to make sure that your children are protected and well cared for. My children go to the doctors every six months for a routine check-up, what about yours? They are all up todate on their needles and I paid nothing, what about yours?

    Get off your high horse daddy! If you have that much money get insurance! If you don't want it for you that's fine, get it for the kids!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09554160347602854860 Rabbi Joe

    Having lived in the U.S., Israel and Canada, I have to say that I like Israel's system the best: the government majorly subsidizes everything, but individuals still have to kick in a small amount to one of four national health plans. You can upgrade your health plan to include homeopathic treatment, travel insurance and the like. It's not hard to find a family doctor, and some things which are very expensive and not covered in Canada (such as IVF) are accessible to all.
    The important point is that this is not a U.S. vs. Canada issue, it's a U.S. vs. every industrialized nation issue. I know a lot of people bring up the issue of defense spending, but if Israel can find the money for both security and health, I'm pretty sure the U.S. is up to it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06410682651072046347 TwisterB

    It's funny because in he UK, the Queen is the head of state AND the head of the church. There is NO constitutional separation of church and state in the UK, but we have universal health care.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06410682651072046347 TwisterB

    @ Molly I could kiss you! I always say that being pro-life and anti-abortion are two totally different things, but no one gets it. THANK YOU.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06410682651072046347 TwisterB

    "Medically trained midwives" is a key phrase for me here. After lurking around some quiverfull boards I think a lot of your "midwives" are actually doulas, aka birth cheerleaders. (that's not to demean doulas, I just worry about women who put their lives in the hands of people with no medical training)

  • http://bundesbedenkentraeger.wordpress.com Bundesbedenkenträger

    Great read, especially if yo are from Germany like me, where the existence of universal healthcare is not debated bt it still is becoming unbearable, becase the big pharma companies take advantage of it and drain the money from it. But this has to do with unable government and lobbying, nothing the next vote couldn't change…
    It is horrifying to read the people do not go to hospital in the USA after car accidents or after being burnt. This sounds more like a 3rd world nation to me, but not like the whealthiest nation on this earth.
    I have a message to all of you who put up this God vs government. Read Paul. He writes to obey the authorities. Read Amos who blames the authorities of his days for not taking care of the poor and weak and how God will punish them for this.
    Your authorities are the government, which is decided by from the elections. So you personally are responsible, put in place by God Himself to care for the weak and poor. Democracy got you rid of a king you can blame, it's all down to you. You are responsible and you will have to stand before God for what you do with your responsibility. God brought you in authority, like all authority comes from God. And your duty is, according to Amos, to lead the country so that the poor and weak are provided for. Don't try to sneak out responsibility by claiming to have given alms at times. Your responsibility is greater than alms. If you do not stand up to your responsibilities, God will take the power from you, like He did with many other kings in the bible, and those in authority (=you) will be punished for their egoisms. You can read it all in the bible: What happened to Israel, what happened to Judah? It is all there, you just have to open your eyes and read. There is no freedom without responsibility, unless you sin. Don't bring up God to protect your purse, it won't work in the long run.

    God bless

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    It's pretty sad that many american citizens with some heart diseases like valve problems had to come here to Spain and provoke themselves a cardiovascular incident at the risk of dying because here if they detect you a valve problem, they operate on you for free even if you are a foreigner. It is simply too common and it makes very sad.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15801713192072641607 The Acid Queen

    I beg your pardon, but religious freedom does NOT mean "I get to bully others into abiding by the strictures of my religion, and do so with impunity".

    Religious freedom means "I get to practice my belief system as I see fit, and others get to practice their belief systems (or not have a belief system) as they see fit, and government doesn't get involved in either".

    In other words, crying "religious freedom" when you're told that you can't be the schoolyard bully and deny others something because YOUR belief system says it's wrong only makes you look uneducated.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15801713192072641607 The Acid Queen

    Not everyone adheres to your belief system or worships your god, Anonymous.

    Also, kindly read the article.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11007198447347972219 Kevin Dietrich

    I grew up in Canada but now have lived in the US for about 12 years. When we first moved down here, I was bewildered by the amount of information I needed to know just to _have_ insurance. I'm still baffled by the number of bills I get for various services, from each and every practitioner who might have been involved in a procedure. And does anyone know the magic that goes into calculating how a deductible is applied?

    After our first son was born, my wife had a still-born son followed a year later by a daughter with HLHS (malformed heart). We found about the latter child's condition well before she was born because of regular ultrasound visits. It gave us a chance to investigate the possible outcomes. At the time, there was only one successful procedure called the Norwood Procedure, and it was only just being applied in Canada. However, we soon came upon a number of Americans with children with the same condition. Several whose children survived the procedure had already gone bankrupt between the original and follow-up procedures–one told us that she and her husband had medical bills of over $100,000! Sadly, our daughter didn't make it past 10 days, but her surgery was quite long and she spent her whole time in ICU. I dread to think how much that would have cost us had we had her while in the US. btw, we now have another daughter who is, I'm happy to say, very healthy.

    I agree that the ACA is not perfect but I'm hoping that getting it implemented will allow future governments to improve on it. That's another thing that I think Canada does pretty well: after a program is implemented, successive governments tweak it as the need arises.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, it sounds great getting free care, except that it frequently means you can't get care at all. I'm Canadian, but living in the USA now, and I'd much rather be here. I don't know where in Canada you're living, but in my home region (Southern Ontario), the system is collapsing under its own weight. My mother is shocked whenever she hears I can get my son in to see a doctor, even a specialist, when I need one – in the Canadian system she'd be waiting months for that. Or she wouldn't be able to get a referral at all. She always says in disbelief, "You got an appointment?" Already?"

    Many members of my family have waited several months for necessary and even urgent surgeries; this is standard. Family members have also had to wait two or three months for tests for serious and even potentially fatal conditions that require immediate treatment (e.g., diabetes, Wegeman's granulomatosis).

    And sometimes it's not just a matter of waiting, but absolute availability. When my seriously ill grandmother moved in with us, we had to keep driving her back to see her doctor an hour away, because not one single doctor in our city of 150,000 people was accepting new patients.

    And then there's the substandard care that results from an impossibly overburdened and undercompensated system: unairconditioned hospitals, delayed adoption of treatments considered standard elsewhere, hospitals and emergency rooms that actually spread disease because triage waits are so long (e.g., the SARS epidemic, which pretty much spread from an emergency room). Or my dad's colleague who lost his 18 month-old grandaughter to a simple flu because an overstrained emergency room sent her home without noticing she was already in an advanced state of dehydration.

    Sure, these are anecdotes, but any Canadian can tell you four or five similar stories about their immediate family alone. Most still support the system, but mainly because they have a false picture of what things are like elsewhere – they picture people dying untreated on the hospital doorstep here in the wicked old USA, and they figure Canada's single-payer system is the only alternative.

    • Kodaly

      You raise good points about problems with our health care system, problems which should be dealt with quickly, even they should not have occurred at all. But I do not see how you have dealt with the issue presented in this article. One of the main points I gather is not about not receiving treatment, but about the payment for such treatment, people who go into poverty due to medical bills (I’m taking that info directly from US commenters on this blog), people who put off treatment for all kinds of ailments because they find they can not afford it, and people who are denied treatment due to not having enough money whether that be through insurance or actual cash. Of course there are other places to look as examples to learn from. I have heard Taiwan has quite a good system, and of course Norway has a great system as they seem to excel at everything, so no surprise there. But as I have said before the US can do what it wants; they can deny their own citizens health care, and a good life and security I have no problem with that, in fact I encourage it. Canada, on the other hand, must set and hold its own ideas and live according to our own value system. We can learn better ways from other nations and turn our minds towards the world.

    • stace

      this sound like someone picking up chosen media bites – i live in a town of 110, 000 people. thunder bay on. NORTHERN ONTARIO, you know, the place southern ontario pretends doesn’t exist and won’t give money to? yet we have the best cancer gig in ontario, new hospital, etc etc, NONE of what you’ve mention’d except a need for more long term bedding for older people. hospitals without air conditioning? LOL!!!

      no canadian in their right mind “has no problem with and infact encourages” kicking their own out to die. i just don’t buy it, and this wouldn’t be the first time we’ve busted an american trying to make our system look like crap. keep trying buddy, keep trying. it’s in the living, and you just can’t fake it.

    • Andrew Jennings

      That is total and complete BS. Nobody who has a potentially lethal condition is going to be made to wait months for treatment. That is a patently absurd and offensive to even suggest such a thing about my country.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06179824763689136334 Dana Bennett

    Excellent post, well-written and organized. I appreciated your honesty about your change in political philosophies. Obamacare is a step in the right direction. Now if we can make it easier for people to get full coverage when they're very sick and will be for a long time (I'm waiting for a liver transplant) and not have to live at the poverty level. I feel ashamed that that's how I have to live, and I shouldn't feel that way. It's hard enough and stressful enough to deal with illness and the isolation it creates, but then to add the layer of "do I have enough money to buy groceries and eat healthy" shouldn't even enter the equation. A ridiculous system here in the US. I'd like to move but I think I'm too old now to be accepted by Canada or a European country. I hate how people in the US are made to suffer both physically and emotionally because of our very messed-up healthcare system. Keep writing!!! Thank you!

  • Anonymous

    Excellent article. Just a quibble: your parental leave chart is a bit off: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parental_leave

    As for anonymous who would rather live in the USA: your situation only works if you have one of the "gold plated" work/wealth related health care plans. But hey, if the USA works better for you, go for it and stay there. For every story you come up with, I know a Canadian who came back from the USA for medical care because their insurance company in the USA screwed them over, or an American who can't get much-needed care because they don't HAVE any coverage. So enjoy your wealth in the USA – I'll stay in Canada and spend my wealth on something other than health care.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01918040650111394203 Lori Makes Quilts

    No one is being forced to violate their conscience. The catholic church was not under the original plan and is not under the compromise required to pay for birth control. They are compensating their employees by paying part or all of their insurance premium. They are not buying insurance, ergo not buying birth control, abortions, surgeries, blood tests or any other service covered by the insurance. They are paying their employees for the work they do.

    They are unconstitutionally trying to impose their religion on their employees and should be grateful they were offered a compromise when none was necessary. The catholic church continues to act in an unethical as it has since it's very inception and it's indefensible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01918040650111394203 Lori Makes Quilts

    It generally works because a single payer, i.e., the gov, isn't in it to make a profit. The health insurance industry as well as for-profit hospitals and clinics are responsible for the high cost of health care in this country.

    There is no massive influx of illegal immigrants — that population has been relatively steady for at least the last six years. And they constitute a very small portion of the population of the country. Given the opportunity to be legal residents and pay taxes, I'm sure most would be happy to do so.

    (http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/statistics/publications/ois_ill_pe_2011.pdf)

    Unemployment, welfare, etc., are all related to the general ill-health of our social systems. When people aren't forced to give up their homes because they can't pay their medical bills and their mortgage/rent, welfare rolls will be reduced. Unemployment rates are a direct result of conservative legislation that allows corporations to take large numbers of jobs out of the country. Fix that and unemployment won't be an issue. Then more people will be paying taxes and the overall cost per person will go down. As long as we allow corporations to own our politicians these problems will be will us because they are only interested in their profits, not in the health and welfare of the citizens of this country.

  • Anonymous

    Good point.

  • Anonymous

    I think if you are in a congested population it makes it worse. We lived in AB for 5.5 years and my FIL from BC was visiting he had a heart issue and got treatment immediately. In all my time in AB, or in BC we have not had any issues, with anybody I know. sorry you have had some bad times.

  • Anonymous

    Great reply. It seems the ones for the system in the USA have not been burnt by it or affected adversely. I used to go on blogs,which had heavy debates and the ones crying it was wonderful had all the right coverage in the world and the money to pay for it. The ones who did not were the average, family.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08377283634642066846 Ally

    The people that fought for and won universal health care in Canada were Christians, many of them ministers. In fact Tommy Douglas, the premier of Saskatchewan who was the first to institute universal coverage, was a Baptist minister before he went into politics. He did not worship government, he changed government to conform more with Christian principles – love your neighbor, etc. See Matthew 34-40. Implementing universal health care is the Christian thing to do if you honor the teachings of Jesus!

  • Anonymous

    Actually, I've spent most of my time here with rock-bottom, bare-minimum student insurance. So I've paid a large percentage out-of-pocket. But I'd still rather be able to see a specialist I need than not be able to for love or money.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04848458622058432379 Arachne

    The emergency rooms here are just as likely to be overstrained, because many many more people go for emergency care when they don't have money or insurance for preventative care. We even have people going to the ER for Dental problems:

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/02/28/147587896/dental-visits-to-ers-are-on-the-rise?ft=1&f;=1001

    That story of the 18 mo is tragic, but there are few guarantees that it would have been different with those same doctors or nurses in the US system.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    My sister just completed her doula training and I couldn't be more proud of her. There is a lot more to it than "birth cheerleading." Multiple studies have shown (I hate that phrase but unfortunately can't cite anything off the top of my head, although I'm sure my sister could) that doula-assisted births progress faster and result in lower rates of birth injury. A responsible doula does not try to pass hirself off as a replacement for a medically trained midwife, but instead works with the midwife as a team. They each perform different functions. And, from what I read about the fundamentalist Christian homebirth subculture, I doubt that a lot of those so-called midwives even have proper training as doulas.

    I know you said that you don't want to demean doulas, but referring to them as "birth cheerleaders" does sound very demeaning.

  • Anonymous

    And of course a hospital can't even have a conscience. People have consciences. Not institutions and companies. A doctor being required to perform an abortion is one thing. But no one's rights are violated when a hospital employs someone who willingly performs an abortion.

    Likewise, no one is forced to to anything when they are merely required to provide insurance. And employers can't violate their employee's rights whenever they feel like it.

  • Anonymous

    You are already paying for other people's healthcare. Even in the US, people are entitled to emergency room treatment. So many people without insurance let preventable conditions deteriorate so out of control that that's where they end up. Ultimately costing far more money than routine checkups.

    The US spends far more on health care per capita than any other country. That's where your precious taxes go. At the same time it doesn't even cover everyone with insurance. That's nothing but embarrassing.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    And how fortunate for you that your children don't have cancer, or type 1 diabetes, or celiac disease, or … well, the list could go on indefinitely.

    Idiot.

  • http://faithandfood.morizot.net/ Scott Morizot

    And clearly you're living in a privileged area in the US. I live in Austin, TX, currently the 13th largest metropolitan area. I have what used to be middle of the road insurance (FEHB) but has become pretty top-tier. We can easily wait months for an appointment with a specialist. It's not a matter of ability to pay. It's simply availability.

    So I guess it's worth it to you if most of the population of the US suffers as long as you can quickly get your appointment? Because that's what I hear from your comment. Care in the US is great — for a very few. For most? It's pretty much at the bottom of the industrialized world. Of course, those standing on the backs of the suffering millions don't usually want to look at the actual statistics.

    How does it feel to be an oppressor?

  • VanTransplant

    From personal experience, I know that this is not the case. Midwife is a proper term, just like nurse or doctor. If you are not trained as a midwife, you are not legally allowed to call yourself one, just like someone practicing medicine without an MD is illegal. The midwife training involves three years of intensive study and weeks of examinations at the close of each academic year. My aunt is currently a BC midwife, and she has to recertify every few years (possibly even every year, I can't recall) in order to retain her certificate. That's not something doctors or nurses have to do.

    The last question of this link succinctly explains the difference between midwives and doulas (and the rest is also worth reading):http://www.midwiferygroup.ca/faq.htm

  • Anonymous

    I think what he meant was unceritfied midwives. I have heard some horror stories on blogs such as Above Rubies, and quiverfull sites. There is a difference between being certified or not, and quite often I think it is a woman calling herself a midwife but in reality she is a doula.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10515811554518736780 Ada-Jean

    The USA government actually spends more on healthcare per capita than almost any other country, certainly more than countries with centralised public health systems. Don't ask me how, as an Australian with a public health care system it baffles me too. It's just that privatised, insurance-based healthcare is ridiculously inefficient. (Something Obamacare won't fix because it doesn't actually create public health institutions, btw.) From an outside perspective, I have never understood how any ordinary Americans can not want public healthcare – it saves lives and is cheaper. Thanks for the perspective into what people fear, it was eye opening.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10515811554518736780 Ada-Jean

    I live in Australia, and health care varies hugely by region. I am in one of the no-doctors-for-miles regions. I have severe rheumatoid arthritis. I pay privately to see a specialist, and still have to deal with very long wait times, and regular blood tests which a pre-condition of my free meds. It's far, far from perfect. BUT:
    Did I mention the free meds? I take a cocktail of medication – daily, weekly, monthly & quarterly. I don't pay a cent for that. I don't pay for my fortnightly GP visits. I pay a co-payment on my x-rays, but nothing for my fortnightly blood tests. I get around 40% of the private specialist fee back from the government for my rheumatologist bills. If I lived in the US, I'd need top-tier health insurance to cover my meds. Most people don't have it, and the drugs are crazy expensive. RA support groups online are full of people who are on disability payments, unable to work without the new medications they can't afford. I've continued working and paying taxes, and providing public services right through my illness. I have all the support I need to be productive. Public health care sure, sure ain't perfect but it almost certainly saved everything about my life I care about.

  • Anonymous

    Your article makes me sad for America. If it wasn't for the NHS in the UK, my four grandparents would have died long ago. My dad would've died, either from his chronic astma or his liver cancer, while also being in agony from his back injury. My mum would've died after her road accident. I probably would've died from the pnuemonia i got when i was 4. And i say "wouldve died" rather than "maybe died" because no way could we have afforded any of those treatments alone. My best friend may not have died….but its because of the NHS that she gets physio therapy, a state-of-the-art wheelchair, wheelchair access university accomodation and a helper, without which she probably wouldnt be able to get her degree.
    Hopefully the US will get the health coverage they deserve soon!

  • Anonymous

    Of course I'm not saying poor people's healthcare doesn't matter. I'm saying Canada's system leaves many unable to get healthcare when they need it. In point of fact, this affects the underprivileged most. I mentioned wait-times my family has experienced. But on the whole, we do much better than most people, because my parents are educated and articulate and know how to establish a relationship with the doctor and his staff, and agitate for what they need – e.g., to keep asking until they get put on the waitlist for cancellations or whatever. Less educated people don't know how to do this. And if all else fails, my parents can go over the border and pay out of pocket. The poor don't have that option.

    For instance, my young cousin whose parents are unemployed (an alcoholic and a career petty criminal) waited over a year after a serious head-injury from being hit on the head with a baseball bat to see a neurologist and get an MRI, although he was having frequent petit-mal seizures. My aunt (who was relatively sober at the time and trying her very best to get treatment for her son) is simply not the kind of person who dares or knows how to pressure a doctor's office to get what her son needs.

    So we end up with a de facto two-tiered system – but it's based more on class and education rather than straight-up ability to pay. Is that better, somehow?

    • stace

      i have to argue with this stuff again. i am isolated, even if i wasn’t, i’ve friends and family spread 1/2 way across the country – you must live in the twilight zone because nowhere else does this exist.
      you want to talk about uneducated and poor – all the natives from northern reserves are flooding my town, they navigate and manage just fine. the u.s boarder is 35 min. from here – nobody goes for treatment because it’s a waste of money.
      it baffles me, as to why you feel such a need to maximize, overdo, and blow out of proportion what goes on here…to the extent that it looks like nothing none of us (i live in a house with 9 other people) have even ever heard of before.

  • Anonymous

    When the government gets involved in forcing Catholics to pay for insurance that covers things like birth control, abortion, abortifacients, it certainly does get involved. Catholics believe these practices are immoral, not just for Catholics, but for everyone. They should not have to pay for insurance that covers practices that violate their religious beliefs. Catholics aren't denying people the ability to practice these evils, they simply refuse to allow their money to contribute to them. And they have every right to do so.

    A Catholic

  • Anonymous

    There are direct entry midwives ("on the job" training, may not have medical experience, which are illegial in many US states) and then there are CNM (Certified Nurse Midwives) who are Registered Nurses and have undergone the advanced education required to be a CNM.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08037015111554209304 Joé McKen

    Thank you for sharing this (found it via The Words on What). As a lifelong Canadian (albeit spending a few years in the U.S. when I was too young to form any detailed memories), it always astounds me to see so many people – mostly conservatives and all Americans – declare that the government providing high-quality medical coverage for little to no cost to everyone in the country is somehow a bad thing.

    Even the non-freak-out concerns (about privacy, economics, etc.) all break down at the realization that paying a couple bucks more in taxes each year is duly worth it when in return, you never have to worry about medical costs or coverage ever again, regardless of who you are. I’d think that was just priorities – the fundamentally right thing to do.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    "Catholics believe these practices are immoral, not just for Catholics, but for everyone.

    Um, well, tough. I'm not Catholic. Neither are a lot of people. We couldn't care less what the Catholic Church thinks of our personal choices.

    If the Catholic Church wants to get into the education game and healthcare game, it has to to play by the rules of the pluralistic society of which these things are part. That means it has to accept that the insurance that it offers as an employer–part of a SALARY given to employee–might possibly be used for things that it doesn't endorse. Can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Being a Catholic is not a "get out of the social contract free" card and using one's religion to bully employees into doing things your ways is an abuse of one's power as an employer. The whole world is not Catholic. The Church has got to deal with that.

    • Bob King

      Excellent article. A comment regarding the Catholic Church regarding education and health care. Both of these were started several hundred years ago by the Catholic Church long before any government ever got into it. Check out the facts before writing about something obviously very wrong.
      Also regarding the “free” Canadian Health Care System, every employee in the country has $1000.00 taken from their paycheque every year for health care costs. So it is not in fact “free” and I will take that any day compared to what is south of the border.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    But class and education have these effects everywhere. In general, people with class privilege are better equipped to get the most out of a system–whether that sytem is healthcare, public education etc. It's definitely a problem that needs to be worked on and eliminating the ability-to-pay problem doesn't solve it but that doesn't mean that it isn't a good step in the right direction, and it's one the US is not willing to make. Given the choice between a system in which people are disadvantaged by lack of education and an inability to pay and a system in which people are just disadvantaged by lack of education, I'll definitely take the latter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08875211218150475138 Rosa

    Ada-Jean, it's because we do have publicly funded healthcare, it's just not universal. Currently the government, either state or federal, covers the health care cost of the very poor (Medicaid), the elderly (Medicare), and in some states children and pregnant women who meet certain income requirements.

    That is, in the current system, the most expensive and needy patients are paid for with public dollars, and the least expensive and most profitable are under private insurance.

    A privately insured patient who becomes very expensive (such as by having a serious and long-lasting illness) will hit their lifetime insurance cap from their private insurer, exhaust their own resources, and then become poor enough for Medicaid or old enough for Medicare.

    For instance, I had a coworker who had to work through bout after bout of chemotherapy for cancer, because if she stopped working for too long she would lose our employer-supplied insurance company. That would leave her with the legal right to pay for that same insurance, but at a higher rate, for about 2 years, if she could scrape together the money, and then she would have to go through enough of her assets to qualify for Medicaid to pay for her treatment. Probably her doctor/hospital would continue to offer care in that time, and take the loss when she couldn't pay, but if not they would send her to the publicly-subsidized county hospital. If she could navigate all that, she would get care despite not being able to pay.

  • Anonymous

    While you as an individual may not get the bill for your medical procedures, it's unquestionably true that the money to pay for your 'free' medical care was taken by force through taxation from someone else.

    Things were much better medical care wise 50-60 years ago when health insurance was called 'hospital insurance', and was inexpensive protection against catastrophic events. Routine medical care was paid out of pocket, doctors made house calls, no one was turned away from an emergency room and there was much, much less government involvement. Doctors, hospitals and other organizations privately and voluntarily worked to make medical care available for those who were unable to pay.

    Medical care in the US is badly flawed, but turning more of it over to the government is not likely to improve matters much. Find a MD who works on a cash-only basis. You will be shocked at how inexpensive good routine medical care is.

    Large government bureaucracies are not the only solution to every problem.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17929419706844211906 plch

    dear anonymous, 50-60 years ago most of today expensive treatments and equipment did not exist, you cannot compare then and now without taking this into account.
    >>as the above noter wrote, it's a question of priorities: in fact nothing is free, everyone 'forcibily' pays and everyone is sure of receiving treatment if needed. I know, you do not care if anyone pays less than what they pay in the US for they insurance coverage, it's the 'forcibily' that you care about, it's the principle, the 'freedom' >> for somebody the freedom to die if they don't have money enough. (BTW: are you against taxes in general?). I think principles are important but people are more important: if beacause of my principles people suffer avoidable ills, I start to think that maybe something is wrong with them (but that's just me).

  • victoria

    @ Anonymous 12:52

    Would you object to Scientologists buying or running mental health emergency rooms? Or Jehovah's Witnesses running trauma centers/major insurers and not allowing blood transfusions?

    Keep in mind that people don't always have a choice as to where they receive their medical care, especially in emergencies or in remote areas. Would you be OK if you were barred from medical care you had no moral objection to in the name of someone else's religion?

  • Anonymous

    You Americans are obsessed with really weird demented ideologies of freedom, rights, taxes,and government interventions. You are convinced, you have the greatest country because everyone else in the world can't stop hearing you all spout that off every 2 seconds.

    * In education standings The United States is currently 18th among the 36 industrialized nations.

    *•According to the OECD, the U.S. poverty rate is the highest in the developed world. http://www.povertyprogram.com/usa.php

    *Despite the wide gaps, higher spending on health care does not necessarily prolong lives. In 2000, theUnited States spent more on health care than any other country in the world: an average of $ 4,500 per person. Switzerland was second highest, at $3,300 or 71% of the US. Nevertheless, average US life expectancy ranks 27th in the world, at 77 years. Many countries achieve higher life expectancy rates with significantly lower spending.

    http://ucatlas.ucsc.edu/spend.php

    Your freedom to bear arms propaganda has landed you fourth on the list for murders with firearms, 2002. http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_mur_wit_fir-crime-murders-with-firearms

    What am I saying in all of this? I am tired of all your goofy freedom rhetoric, your awesome, best country in the world bullshit. As your neighbor to the north, I have spent 45 years listening to all this crap, through media etc. Most of you know nothing, about the world around you, are indoctrinated from birth, that your country is the mightiest and the best. The world has a completely different view of you all, some good , some bad.

    All I am saying is the USA is not all cracked up to be the way you think it is, and I am tired of my TV, Radio, music, entertainment, sports etc, saying it is.
    It is nauseating.
    Even with your statistics falling all around you, you still believe you have the best country in the world. WAKE UP. No country, has the best model, mine included but there are some really high quality countries out there and they are not running around boasting about how great they are.

  • Anonymous

    Petticoat, you're awesome

  • Anonymous

    Right, class and education have those effects everywhere, but in a system with a severe undersupply problem, they have a disproportionate and far more dire effect. And Canada's healthcare system, since it has chosen to forgo any kind of incentive to limit demand, has had to cope by suppressing supply. Doctors and other healthcare workers in Canada are so poorly compensated that huge numbers leave the country to practice in the US within a few years of completing their training. Any single-payer system has to ration; we in Canada ration through undersupply and insane wait-times that weed out those who don't persist. A secondary system of optional, private healthcare would help with this problem, by the way, since could relieve some strain on the system.

    • stace

      dr’s do not run off to the states within a few years – there is a shortage because there are only so many slots in medical school that open every year – there’s a push in government to open it up more, or allow immigrants that were dr’s to do a quick knowledge course to carry on being doctors here.
      jesus man – know what you’re talking about before you speak it.
      since when did doctors in canada start caring about money? all the doctors i know got in it to help people. it’s different here than in the states. here, dr’s don’t mind 1/2 a million dollars as a starting wage…

  • Anonymous

    Dear Anonymous: Read "A Surgeon's World" by Dr William Nolen. He
    describes how a patient of his (IIRC in the 1960's) had some health
    issues. He was uninsurable (back then) due to a minor heart murmur. He had a heart attack. He lived, but was HUGELY in debt – even though most of his doctors wrote off their bills for him – and had to work hard for the rest of his life rather than retiring and enjoying life with his wife.

    Better 50-60 years ago? No.

    MI Dawn

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07675616312730595194 Unknown

    Hey now, we're not bad at everything. Don't underestimate us, we're in good company in the top 5 along with China, Iran and North Korea. Not only are we #1 in military spending, but we spend more than the rest of the planet combined. We're #1 in health care spending per capita (34th infant mortality, 38th life expectancy), #1 in obesity, #1 energy consumption, #2 CO2 emissions, #1 in incarceration per capita, #1 external debt, #1 guns per capita, #4 income inequality and #5 inequality of wealth distribution (but #1 in number of billionaires).

    Please don't lump all of us together with "you Americans are…", only about half of us are "conservatives" ie bigots and morons.

  • Anonymous

    It is really disheartening to see so many of these commenters resort to name-calling when the minority in this case posts a different opinion. This could be an informative, interesting dialogue. And yet I'm instead disgusted by the assumptions and disrespect. I didn't know that disagreeing with the majority meant I was a wealthy, oppressor rather than a pediatric nurse practitioner who works with children with special needs. A lot of these assumptions people are making, particularly about children's care in the US are quite misinformed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07675616312730595194 Unknown

    Oops, that 2nd line should read "we're in good company in the top 5 for executions per capita along with China, Iran and North Korea".

  • Anonymous

    Dear plch: Agreed that there are many more expensive treatments available today. If I could freely decide how to spend the money that is taken from me each year to pay for others medical care, I can guarantee you two things: 1) more people would get more medical care paid for than under the present system and 2) I would have more money to spend in whatever way I see fit. I know of no example where a large government bureaucracy is more efficient in delivering services than the private alternative, and I am positive that this is true with medical care in particular. I also think it's a serious error to presume that under Obamacare, no one will die due to lack of access to medical treatment.

    Dear MI Dawn:
    Dr. Nolen's books look interesting. Thanks for the tip. Regardless of whether we're discussing free market medicine, fully socialized medicine or the in-between mostly socialized mess we have in the US, the anecdotes of people who slip between the cracks are heartbreaking. The question to consider: which system has the smallest cracks?

  • Anonymous

    Omg I thought this was hilarious, and yes I am sorry I was so harsh..I guess I was in a pissy mood. This was not a response I would have expected.

    The more I get to hear and see, I just shake my head. My friend just came back from Chigago with some dandy stories….

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10617839823006683440 Unknown

    "forgo any kind of incentive to limit demand"

    There are very, very, few people who want healthcare they don't need. There is, of course, the 'problem' that people live longer, and that new treatments and drugs are being developed. This increases demand.

    But there is no way to limit demand for healthcare without denying healthcare. Luckily demand limits itself for the reason above – no-one wants to have treatment when they're not ill.

    And there's certainly a system of optional private healthcare in the UK. Isn't there one in Canada? Or do Canadians who want it just visit the US?

    The US healthcare 'system' is simply barbaric.

  • Anonymous

    Well, there could be token copays for doctors' visits, for instance. And yes, there are people who want healthcare they don't need – e.g., parents who think their kids should get antibiotics whenever they get a cold (or that they themselves need antibiotics whenever they get a cold), etc.

    About private options, until a couple of years ago, private healthcare was illegal in Canada (the only other country where this is true is Cuba, by the way!). So there were bizarre phenomena like a Toronto hospital that was only allowed to run the catscan machine one day per week and be paid by the gov't insurance, and instead of letting it sit there going to waste, they let pet-owners pay to use it. Letting people pay was illegal. When a newspaper got hold of this story, the hospital stopped letting pets use the machine. (But they didn't start running it for people any more often.)

    Recently, the ban on private healthcare was successfully challenged in the courts, but I believe it hasn't yet become clear what that will mean, practically speaking.

  • Anonymous

    Chicago…late at night responses.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00184616275088281652 Chantal

    The only thing I think might improve the Canadian health system is a very minimun 5$ fee for some doctors check-up to avoid abusing the system. The waiting time is long at times because people abuse the system, or make an appointment and don't show up, ect. This fee could be waived for low-income or more than 3 appointments (mom and 2 kids. ect) or special needs. There is talk about privatizing some services, which i don't think would be bad either.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, most hormonal birth control methods, are in fact, NOT abortifacants. Please check your facts.

  • Anonymous

    I can't understand the commenters talking about how the problem with socialized systems is the wait time, or the government taking away choices, or what have you. I'm in the U.S. and my family has what anybody would consider good insurance. After I was diagnosed with cancer, I had insurance reps calling to harass me because they somehow thought I had secondary insurance that could cover me instead. No. I did not. They called the week of my surgery to tell me that they wouldn't cover any treatment I'd had up until that point and that I therefore owed $15,000 – and that the subsequent surgery, ICU stay, and hospitalization would not be covered. I almost cancelled my cancer surgery in weeping terror that I was about to bankrupt my family. My husband insisted on moving forward with it regardless and took over straightening out the insurance mess. And I won't even go into how the insurance company interfered with my oncologist's decisions about procedures and length of stay. Later, my general practitioner warned me that the insurance company had been calling with questions, and that he felt they were trying to determine whether I'd had a preexisting condition that I'd hidden. Endless stress. And who sees specialists whenever they want? I wait months sometimes. I have a toddler with medical issues. We wait months for her specialists, too. And we have good insurance! Seriously, count your blessings if by luck, some quirk of geography, or because you have a golden insurance plan you have been buffered from the sharp edges of the U.S. system. An awful lot of the rest of us are licking our wounds.

    • Jill

      I understand completely! I have one doctor who, if I want to make an appointment, I’m making it at least six months out. I have another doctor who told me when I checked out to make a follow up for three months. The receptionist told me he had no appointments at that time! Luckily he had a partner, but that meant having to see a new specialist. I’ve waited with both routine, specialist, and emergent care situations. My God, I’ve gone to urgent care because my own primary care doctor couldn’t see me in the next two days when I needed to be seen. And that copay- that’s the same as the ER on my insureance, which makes no sense. An urgent care visit that results in a “you have excema, here’s an RX for the cream” should not cost me the same amount as 14 stitches and xrays in the ER. NO WAY the urgent care cost the insurance company as much as the ER did, so why did I have to pay the same? Stupid. It doesn’t keep anyone from going to the ER, which is the point or Urgent Care. Also, copays for surgeries, insurance companies who put my parents through hell getting my glasses paid for becuase it doesnt list the relationship I have to the policy owner ON THE RECIEPT. But yes, they’d like to say US healthcare is amazing.

  • Anonymous

    OP clearly did not read the post. And I doubt they'll read much of anything that's not on Fox news, which, by the way isn't shown in Canada due to a lack of rigor in fact-checking.

    • John Murphy

      Totally false. Faux Gnus definitely available in Canada, it just is not on Basic Cable. It is a premium channel (i.e. unless you pay extra for it or for a channel bundle it’s in, you don’t get it). I can turn on channel 152 right now and see Faux Gnus (not that I got it specifically – I never watch it – but it is in a channel bundle with channels I do watch all the time).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15345028608886465799 Erik Reppen

    It's kind of hard to take Republicans seriously after 8 years of Bush.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15345028608886465799 Erik Reppen

    What dialogue is to be had with willful ignorance? I'm sorry but the entire civilized planet groks the practical implications of universal health care while conservative Americans are happy to bury their heads in the sand to the delight of the US health care industry. After 8 years of Bush and now 4 more of a clearly corporate-owned Obama, I'm done. I'm not for socializing everything but it's asinine to let the insurance industry run the show. There's no more dialog to be had. The only thing left to do with the US "conservative" opinion on this matter is mock you and shame you in front of your children and hope that in spite of declining education standards they get it. What we are doing is monstrously stupid.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    The host of this blog, as well as most of the commenters here are in favor of some form of more progressive, universal healthcare–many of us here have clearly articulated a desire for a single-payer system like yours and have expressed many critiques of American culture and politics. So I think it odd that you chose this place to vent what is apparently your hatred of every single American everywhere.

    If you're annoyed by American, conservative, jingoistic BS, imagine how the many, many AMERICANS who hate it just as much AND are directly affected by it feel? Your generalizing screed is really the last thing we need.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00587972587105038758 Persephone

    Anonymous at July 12, 2012 11:18 pm:

    Medicare manages to run at one-tenth the cost of private insurance. Overhead is 2 to 3%, compared to 20% or more for private insurance. The other advantage of government management is that it is not necessary to make a profit, nor are there shareholders expecting ROI every quarter.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00587972587105038758 Persephone

    Anonymous @ July 12 11:18 pm:

    There are a large number of ways that government agencies are more efficient, and one of those is money. Medicare overhead is between 2 and 3% of the amount paid out each year. Private insurance overhead is 20% or more. Government agencies do not have to make a profit, nor do they have shareholders requiring regular ROI.

    If you'd ever had to fight with an insurance company, you would find out how inefficient they can be. Recently, a doctor I used did not accept my insurance and would not bill it for me. I had to mail in the bills and forms myself. I mailed the latest statement, which included two visits for which I had already paid cash ($250), on May 22. I contacted the company on June 26, as nothing had posted about the claim. I was then informed that the company required 30 days from receipt of the claim before I could expect a response. They said the date they received it was June 4. I can guarantee that it did not take 13 days for the bill to arrive. Then they screwed up and put the claim under my husband's name instead of mine. As of now, I still have not been paid.

    Yes, I've dealt with government agencies that dragged their feet and held things up (my neighbor has still not received his veteran's retirement, but he will receive it and it will be retroactive to his eligibility date), but I've found just as many problems with companies. And it can be even harder to force a company to respond.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00587972587105038758 Persephone

    There was an episode a few years ago on The Fairly Oddparents (seriously funny, especially the first few years) where the fairy godparents keep saying that Canada is the greatest country in the world. I wanted to disagree, but well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00587972587105038758 Persephone

    I'm so sorry you've gone through that. I've had insurance company issues, but nothing that extreme.

    The people who aren't getting it, are people who haven't had a serious or chronic health issue.

    Over half the bankruptcies filed in the U.S. are the result of medical bills. That right there should be a clear and simple reason to change the system.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17929419706844211906 plch

    Dear anonymous, to point 1): and many wouldn't get any medical care whatsover. To point 2) care to show some data, because it seems to me that the opposite is often true, especially for medical care, where profit shouldn't be as or more important than health. Nobody presume that Obamacare (a flawed solution IMO) would be perfect, just that those cases would be less numerous.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I'm not an economist but I'm a medical student who has done a little health economics at university! The American system is very, very expensive. There are a lot of reasons for this. The economists will tell you that health systems are examples of "market failure"- where the free market fails to produce the most efficient possible solution. The insurance companies get a lot of your money. The drug companies get a lot of your money- you pay vastly more for your medicines than we do because the government drug purchasing agency Pharmac negotiates down our prices. Doctors and hospitals can't look at you as patients- you're customers and they need to sell you the most expensive service they can. Not necessarily the best… just the most expensive.

    In fact Americans already pay more per head for socialized medicine than we do here- because medicare and medicaid patients are being cared for within the same profit-driven system. There's also some strange redistribution of money within the system- http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/medical_examiner/2012/01/american_health_care_is_already_socialized_.html

    The New Zealand system isn't perfect. But as much as the politicians bicker and people complain about it, no-one wants to get rid of it altogether.

  • CarrieK

    Megan, you said what I've been thinking for a long time. The U.S. will only become a moral country again as it rises from the ashes of the next holocaust or civil war. The sad part is that the people who advocate "morality" don't really know what it means. And the people who know what it means are too wimpy to fight.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Well, regardless of the possible issues with chiropractic care, the insurance would also cover x-rays, physiotherapy, or even surgery if nessacary to help with a back injury. So chiropractic care certainly is not one's only option.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you. It's been a few years, but thinking about it still upsets me. The funny thing is, I didn't really have any illusions about our healthcare system to start with, yet I was still shocked. Where I grew up it seemed like people were always having spaghetti dinner fundraisers to pay for some child's leukemia treatment, and there was always a homemade change jar with a picture of a little kid taped to it sitting on the gas station counter or grocery checkout lane. When people are holding little, church basement fundraisers to keep their kids alive, you know there's a problem. How people overlook that to complain about the alleged lack of choice in a single payer system, I don't know. Maybe they've never known any working-class people. Do parents in those other countries have to choose between their child's actual life and the financial ruin of their family? Yeah, that's some real freedom of choice we've got going on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16381434866099596466 e-Patient Dave

    (I thought I already posted this but I can't find it – pardon if it's a duplicate.)

    Melissa, you are extraordinary. This post is lucid, heartfelt, well written (I found it on Twitter). I just posted about it on my site http://epatientdave.com/2012/07/16/a-young-moms-musings-blog-how-i-lost-my-fear-of-universal-health-care/.

    Personally, I was even more moved by the rest of this site. I honor the honest work you're doing to better know yourself. Keep it up.

    Best,
    Dave

  • Beth

    I agree with you anonymous. I have worked in a hospital in the US for over 20 yrs. I would like to see a dialogue that is more open minded. I'm hesitant to enter the lion's den.

  • Anonymous

    Dear plch: I was referring to my own spending choices if I was allowed to make them instead of having the government make them for me. I'm confident I could provide medical care for many, many more people than the government does for the same amount.

    Dear Persephone: I'm sorry you have had some trouble with your insurance company. Have you ever asked them how much of their paperwork is due to government rules and regulations?
    Also, you may want to examine the details around the claim that Medicare has a 10x lower overhead than private insurance. For instance, the 3% overhead calculation does not account for fraud and abuse, a cost that is much higher under Medicare. It also ignores the fact that Medicare primarily serves an elderly population, which requires much more and costly care, so the admin costs appear lower as a percentage of total costs. Medicare also does not have to pay the 2-4% state tax that is included in the private insurance overhead.
    When you consider Medicare vs private insurance admin costs on a per-person basis, Medicare comes out about 25% higher than private insurance.
    Sources: http://www.qando.net/?p=3362, http://blogs.abcnews.com/johnstossel/2009/06/medicares-efficiency-.html, http://timerealclearpolitics.files.wordpress.com/2009/06/admincosts1.gif

  • Beth

    Yesterday I worked with 2 patients who have probably had one million dollars worth of care handed to them in the US in the last 10yrs. 90% of that is due to their own ongoing poor choices and lack of responsibility. I see people all the time on US gov't funded insurance. They do get preventative care. I rarely see anyone take responsiblity for health problems caused by their choices. That includes smoking, drinking, drugs, obesity etc. Yes, I do work in a hospital so of course I see only sick people not the ones who take good care of themselves but the people I see are part of the group of 20% that use 80% of the health care resouces in the US. And yes some people are sick thru no fault of their own. I also believe their always has to be mercy and grace when dealing with people who make poor choices.

    Billions of dollars in health care costs are almost entirely preventable with lifestyle changes. That includes type II diabetes, obesity, some types of cancers and smoking related illnesses. Preventable chronic illness is currently crushing the US health care system.

    I have no doubt that Canada has similiar problems and a diabetes epidemic of its own that they know they can not pay for in the future. The numbers of people with type II diabetes (alone) keeps growing and there is no system that can sustain or provide the resources necessary to deal with this. (Type II diabetes is often preventable, Type I diabetes is not) Diabetes that is not well controlled can cause blindness, kidney damage (dialysis), amputations etc

    In the hospital I work in free care is handed out like water. You can be a 2 pack a day smoker and not saved a penny and walk in and get free open heart surgery even if you adamantly refuse all free smoking cessation resources. This of course is not sustainable. People who are not on gov't funded insurance who can't pay get free care. They are never asked to take responsiblity for their health. It is the people that work hard and have high deductibles that are getting screwed. It is the people who have saved money and have been frugal who will lose everything they worked for while the patient next to them gets it all for free. (and walks out the door and continues their $300 per month habit..)

    I have a great deal of compassion and I know that health issues for some have other issues tied to them as well such as mental illness. I understand the many issues tied into obesity. It is just that in my small corner of the world in America I see the individuals who are using most of the health care resources not taking responsiblity for their health. They also do not have any understanding of the cost of their health care because they are not paying for it directly. Even if someone has insurance the insurance company is the middle man and we do not actually see what the costs are.

    The trouble I see with health care systems that remove the direct cost from an individual is that the individuals have a much less investment in avoiding or reducing costs. I've been working in a hospital for 20 years. I'm not sure where you are all from but poor people in my state get better insurance than others that I know and it is often little to no cost to them. I rarely hear about the cost of preventable illnesses and the need for personal responsibility in health care debates.

    I wanted to add a different point in this whole debate. I don't see that Canada's system has addressed this any better than the US. Google "Canada and diabetes epidemic" and you will see they that are also worried about how this will be supported. Do less people smoke in Cananda? Surely they have all the smoking related costs as well.

    Would people with preventable illnesses be more motivated if they were more a part of the cost of their care? Does Canada address this better?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16656569539140359204 ElleC

    Amazing post. Thank you for making me grateful to live in Canada. I once was interested in moving to the US, but the insanity of the health care there deterred me. I have to thank everyone who commented, I learned much from all of you as well.

    With one exception, I am more confused that ever. I still don't understand why Universal Health Care is a political issue. Isn't it a Human Rights issue?

  • Beth

    Melissa,

    I may have missed it when I read the article. But in your transition in moving to the states have you been able to get insurance for yourself, your partner and your kids thru the US government? Does it cover preventative care? Has government assistance been available to you as you get settled and plan for the future? If you have no insurance have you checked the resources of the local hospital and their policy for uncompensated care? Our local hospital offers free maternity care during pregnancy and pays for the birth.

    From what I see people in need have access to food stamps, government assistance and disability. All this is supplemented by local charities who give generously without asking any questions. (Granted this can vary depending on the areas you live in) The people I see have access to all these resources and in addition they can even get money for transportation to and from appointments. (Do I live in some kind of fairy tale land?) Does anyone else commenting work inside of health care or other human service organizations in America? Do you have a different experience?

    You mentioned your parents did not have insurance and that once your brother was burned and they would not go to the ER. (I can't find this so I hope I am not mixing up the comments) Your parents made a choice not to have insurance. They saved thousands and thousands of dollars by not having it. They should have kept a fund for emergencies. Yes ER care is expensive but if you are not paying for insurance I would think you would set aside money for emergencies.

    Can someone tell me that the tax rate is in Canada? And also what country is considered to be the leader in medical technology or care? Do people in Canada have access to the resources of places like Boston, MA? Is Canada on the leading edge? Do people come to the US or other countries when they want the best care for a rare for of cancer or childhood genetic illness?

    Also, re: people with special needs. Again, the states bordering mine have programs for those with special needs. I see them in the community all the time. I previously have done respite for a friend who did adult foster care. My step-niece has special needs and her schooling is provided for free with transportation to and from. When she turns 22 there are adults programs that care for her in addition to money from social security which is given to parents of children with disabilities in the US. I see a great deal of support in my community for parents with children with special needs.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Obviously Canada has more motivation to promote health of their citizens than the USA does. Since they government is paying for the healthcare with the taxes, they have taken extra steps, such as banning hormones in food, limiting genetically modified foods, banning the use of High fructose corn syrup by food companies (its not in cereal or even pop up there). I also heard and saw a lot of information on health and excercise programs open to the public to teach people how to eat healthy and stay active even in the long winters. Like I pointed out, preventative care helps reduce many expenses since health issues can be caught early. Also, the government taxes ciggarettes to help make up for the potential extra cost of health care for smokers. Ciggarettes were 11$ a pack in the province I lived in, and each pack had a mandatory photographic warning label on it.

  • Anonymous

    I live in rural south-central Ontario, an area that is very underservices, and it always baffles me to hear the 'wait-time issue'. My dad had a triple bypass within a week of having a problem detected (problem detected by a sleep specialist on a Tuesday, appt with his cardiologist during his cardiologists lunch hour that day, angiogramo on Thursday… admission to hospital Sunday, surgery Monday). Yes, there are occasionally long-ish (and that depends on your definition of long!) wait times, but more often then not, they are for non-essential surgeries (i.e. knee replacements), and I'm pretty okay with that. Right now my dad needs to see another specialist, and he has to wait three weeks– because it's summer, and the doctor's on holidays. There are other doctors that are available to see him before that, but it's not really an emergency, so my dad said he'd wait the three weeks– the other speicalist was willing to see him by the end of the week, but it's a bit further of a drive, so he decided just to wait for the closer specialist. There's always choices!

  • http://fitandfed.net/ Mary@ Fit and Fed

    Hi Melissa, discovered your blog yesterday though a friend's link to this post and read through your story about your experience with 'courtship' and all you have gone through with your spouse. I'm amazed at all the positive change you have gone through in so little time. You are obviously very analytical, smart and capable, and I enjoy your writing. Best of luck with your family and career. I hope your writing stays a part of it all!

  • Stacey

    Taxation rates vary by province– you can find them here: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/tx/ndvdls/fq/txrts-eng.html .

    Sure, Canadians have access to resources of places like Boston. It's very rare we don't have the resources/technology to perform what needs to be done, but when we don't, our government pays to send people where they need to go. Infact, if a patient in Canada needed care in a place like Boston, it may be easier for us to access (moneywise) then someone living in Boston. Also, there is currenlty research to suggest that medical innovation in the US is slipping as technology companies are prefering to do their clinical trials outside the US, usually in another Tier 1 country (Australia, Canada, an EU country, etc)

    Generally, people don't need to leave Canada to treat their cancer or childhood genetic illness. SickKids Hospital in Toronto is one of the largest hospital-based research facilities in the world, and their scientists dicovered disease-causing genes, such as those for cystic fibrosis, Duchenne muscular dystrophy and Tay-Sachs disease, plus many more. So we're pretty content to just hang out here when we need something done.

  • Beth

    Here it says that Canada has the same rate of smokers in the US and that it is not doing so well with obesity. I've read articles that suggest that Canada is as gravely concerned about the rate of type II diabetes and associated costs;

    "While Canada has lower smoking rates than most OECD countries, rates of obesity and overweight are among the highest.

    Having made remarkable progress in the prevalence of smoking, Canada is one of only five OECD countries that decreased its smoking rate by more than 30% since 1999. It is virtually tied with the U.S. for the lowest rate of adult smokers among G7 countries (16.2% for Canada and 16.1% for the U.S.)."

    Found at:

    http://www.cihi.ca/CIHI-ext-portal/internet/en/Document/health+system+performance/quality+of+care+and+outcomes/RELEASE_23NOV11

    I'd be interested in articles that say otherwise or have stats that prove the prevention is working or is better than the US in areas like type II diabetes. I also want to say again that the government health care in the US includes preventative care. I see people regularly with access to preventative care that do not make changes to their lifestyle. You can have preventative care such as statins for high cholesterol or high blood pressure meds but if the lifestlye changes do not occur it is not much prevention. I guess you could say I am really discouraged by the people I see who do have access to health care and abuse it. I see it as the PEOPLE need to be willing to buy into prevention. The gov't can do all it wants but if people don't want to make choices then it does not work. The people who use health care should be the ones to be motivated by cost and that is the problem in the US–people are not motivated (at least not the ones using most of the resources)because the government pays for it. When something is given to someone for free they do not understand the value of it.

    Kudos to Canada for addressing the food industry issues. Americans feel it is their right to eat whatever they want. The food industry is very powerful here and really does not care one bit about the health of the country. The food industry and the government also have very unhealthy ties. It is a very complex problem and one that adds to the health care crisis.

  • Beth

    Thanks for the info Stacey.

    My MIL is a Canadian who lives in the US and she could not care for her mother in old age because she could not get care for her in the US. Her brother also hesitates to travel because of fear of not having health care in the US as a canadian citizen. Good to hear they use what they need to.

    Her brother also had to wait FOREVER to get a stent which for some can be life threatening. If someone needs a stent in the US they get it and where I live it does not matter if they have insurance or not. As a matter of fact I have treated canadians who were here on vacation and needed a stent. They got free care. Not sure why Canada would not cover them but it was certainly needed in a timely manner. If you have a heart attack due to a blockage it needs to be fixed ASAP.

    If I did not have money and I was traveling in Canada and had a heart attack and needed a stent would they give me free care?

  • Terry

    I am a Canadian and I agree with almost all that is written above, except a few small things:

    Chiropractic, massage etc therapies are not covered by Medicare. But an extended private health policy would give you a limited number of dollars' worth per year.

    Some of the 'orphan' diseases and conditions are not always covered. The same is true for certain drugs, new drugs, xpensive or not proven ones often are not covered.

    Our national debt is likely lower per capita because we do not have a mega military budget like the States.

  • Terry

    Elle, it's a perspective difference. We in Canada see it as a human right. In America it is not viewed as such. At least not yet.

  • Terry

    Interesting comments here. I often feel bad (too sensitive?) when I hear Canadians and Canada being put down and made fun of on TV and in popular American culture. There seems to be a correlation between what is 'for the good of all' ex. Medicare, and 'socialism, aka Communism'. I would have thought that old value/fear would have disappeared in a progressive society.

    Progression does not mean Communism. Freedom to choose need not mean freedom to be ill without help, freedom to die. We Canadians do not feel in the least controlled by government. Laws for the good of all help all of us. Ex. helmet laws for motorcycles, no smoking laws etc..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00587972587105038758 Persephone

    Anonymous, you should be aware that John Stossel is just a spokesperson for the extreme conservatives. He often makes statements and falsely twists data to fit his opinion.

    What state tax are you talking about for insurance companies? Taxes on their profits? If you're a private business, yes, you have to pay taxes. If we were to convert to a single payer system then we wouldn't have to worry about any of that.

    Also, fraud and abuse is investigated and the abusers are answerable to the federal government, which often means that the doctor or hospital will not only pay fines, but can lose their Medicare privileges, and even be turned over to the medical board in their state for review. Criminal charges may also be brought by the DOJ. Private insurance has suffered fraud, but they have only civil ways to pursue. They can refer insurance fraud for criminal prosecution, but they have no control over that.

    I'm afraid your referring to RW sock puppets does not strengthen your argument.

    I don't know what spending choices you think you would lose. Right now you are limited to what you can afford to do and limits set by the insurance company you may have. You will find your choices limited to these contracts. If you have an accident in another state, you could very well be only partially covered, and have to make up the difference.

    Insurance companies contract with specific doctors, hospitals, drug companies and pharmacies to accept low, sometimes below cost payments from the insurance companies. The hospital then has to bill patients who don't have insurance and patients who have limited insurance for the difference and the hospitals can put these bad debts toward their taxes.

    If you have insurance through your employer, you are probably paying 50% or less of the actual insurance premium. Your employer picks up the rest. That cost is passed on to customers and reduces the taxes they pay.

    Governments, state and federal, are losing tax money to people not being insured AND to insurance company limiting what they will pay. People are being driven into bankruptcy (over 50%) over medical bills.

    Your freedom is illusory. Your income, your insurance provider, your health all limit your health choices.

  • Anonymous

    I'd love to know what state you're from where poor people get better care than others at little to no cost to themselves. And I bet you aren't going to tell me and give my fingers the opportunity to stroll through google and fact check. States are cutting Medicaid rolls all over. And do you have any idea how poor you have to be to get Medicaid? And poor people get preventative care? From who? Because the poor people I know just go to the emergency room when they're sick. That's not actually preventative care. Your posts are weirdly unreal to me. And for someone who repeatedly talks about compassion, you are really focused on judging, shaming and punishing the people you just know caused their own problems.
    The U.S. spends more per capita on healthcare for poorer outcomes than any other industrialized nation. That's not because of individual bad health decisions – our population isn't that radically different from other countries'. It's a structural problem, and you don't solve structural problems by targeting individuals.
    Man, and your other post? Seriously? Child hunger is a huge and growing problem in this country. Programs providing assistance and aid to special needs children and adults are being slashed everywhere. It's like your posts are from some alternate timeline America where the social safety net isn't a cruel joke.

  • Anonymous

    Nearly two thirds of all bankruptcies are caused by medical bills.
    The study from The American Journal of Medicine is here.
    New York Times article summarizing the study here.
    From the article: Among families who were bankrupted by illness, those with private insurance reported average medical bills of $17,749 compared to those who were uninsured, who faced an average of $26,971 in medical costs. Those who had health insurance but lost it in the course of their illness reported average medical bills of $22,568.

    Where is it you're from again where everybody gets all the free healthcare they need? You haven't mentioned.

  • Beth

    I'd be happy to tell you if you post your email. I'd rather not post my home town online.

    But the reality is if you have saved money or have any assets you would not qualify for free health care. If you have been irresponsible and never saved money you would qualify. Once you have been bankrupted you would qualify. So it benefits those who have not made wise choices but those who have been wise suffer. A hospitalization would cost me thousands of dollars. and we could lose everything we have worked hard for

  • Beth

    anonymous,

    I'm not sure why you are so angry at me.

    Please post your email and I will send it to you or give it to Melissa and I will send it to her. But you are being so hostile I am not sure I want to interact with you or let you know where I live.

    For infants 0 to 1 yr you can have an income up to $6753 per month for a family of 5, for kids ages 0-18 you can have an income up to $4165 per month. It covers preventative care with $10 co-pays. This is the state medicaid program. There are also buy in options where you can pay $32 per month per child with an income up to $5628/month. (I am quoting numbers for a family of 5) Since we lived most of our married live on an income less than this I think it is very generous. What are the income guidelines for your state for children's medicaid programs? Are these more generous or out of the norm?

    It is probable that a hospital that offers free care to those who are underinsured is not the norm. Like I said I wonder if this is fairy tale land. However, it is offered and people use it and many abuse it, unfortunately. Resources are limited and they will not be here if people keep abusing them.

    The problems with the health care in the US are complex and MANY. I am not addressing all of them. There are problems with individuals and with the whole system. I work with individuals and I see their problems. They are given resources and choices and some choose to make poor choices. I have no control over the entire structure. I never mentioned child hunger which is a whole other issue. I am only sharing my own experience with special needs children and adults. You can have a radically different experience. I'm sorry this is such a painful issue for you. I have lived at radically below the poverty level without health insurance so I understand how hard that can be.

    However, it is true that billions of dollars in health care are preventable with lifestlye choices. Canada is facing the same problem with the diabetes epidemic and it will not have the funds to cover the expenses for blindness, amputation, dialysis etc in the future either.

  • Beth

    Again, anonymous if you have financial resources you have to use them before you get free health care. So yes if you have saved anything you will lose it. I anticipate I will be in that position with a major medical crisis. I would NOT be denied care I would just have the bills and the bankruptcy.

  • Beth

    Anonymous,

    I wanted to add that I am really sorry you can not get the care you need (or that you need for your family) It is especially sad to me because I see people that have access to care and resources and some of them waste resources in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Something IS wrong with this system. Apparently the people around here have it really good and they don't realize it.

  • Anonymous

    Persephone: Of course my medical care choices are limited. That's the point of the entire discussion. You would like the government to make more medical care choices for you, and I would prefer to make them myself.
    Calling my sources 'RW sock puppets', while not even disclosing your LW sock puppet sources does not strengthen your argument.
    I would love to see a source that shows that medical care fraud and abuse is greater in the private sector.
    BTW, I do not get medical insurance through my employer, so I am paying 100% of the premium.
    Agreed that income and health will always influence medical care options. But we'd have much more interesting insurance options if not for the existing government involvement in that market.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02268538874011317892 Yasmin Sadeghi

    Tbank you for sharing this Melissa. As a Canadian I cannot for the life of me understand the republican ideology, they vote against themselves and their fellow citizens, just to help the rich. Our system not only helps everyone, but also helps the economy, because middle class families don't have to go bankrupt paying for healthcare.
    If you don't mind me asking, what political party do you identify yourself with now in Canada?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Yasmin- We no longer live in Canada. The job we were there for ended and we were not citizens, so it was time to move back to the USA. I can say that we are no longer republicans though. :)

  • Dina

    I love this article! I have been wishing and hoping for a UHC system in the US for years and everyone thought I was crazy! I come from a very conservative republican family and they are so anti-obamacare.
    The points that make obamacare different from a UHC are this- obamacare makes businesses 'pay' (by reimbursing the employee) for the coverage and a UHC is paid by the citizen directly through taxes. The problem with obamacare is that businesses dont want to be forced to do anything but the government officials are still trying to play ball with them and the insurance companies (and other health related BUSINESSES). They are doing this in an effort to APPEAR they have the peoples best interest in mind, but in reality it does more for their personal future by keeping their campaigns fully funded.
    The religious angle drives me insane. Everyone is so worked up about abortions being covered and birth control being handed out like candy to impressionable children and whores! Everyone is claiming their religious freedoms and choices are going to be violated and that's a load of crap. The catholic church may feel that birth control and abortion is unacceptable- but do they speak for the health choices of every catholic? I'm sure many catholics agree with those choices but should that stop the few who feel a little differently? Does it make them any less catholic? The world is a tricky place- it is most certainly a very different world then when Christ walked among us.
    Because of this drastically different world people are going to make different choices, and that's their right to, but no one person's religious views should dictate another. This everyone agrees on until they realize that means they cant force other people to live the way they do. They dont get that its not about what the church agrees with or what you agree with, its about how the person in question feels about their own religious beliefs and bodies.
    Birth control and abortions are highly personal decisions. I know people who have had abortions and for some it was like getting a teeth cleaning and for others it was a monumental life altering choice. I have no place telling anyone else what choices they can and can not make no matter how much I disagree with them.
    The conservatives make it a point to falsely state that employers of religious institutions would be forced to this and that and our religious views would be violated. The fact is they are more concerned with the huge change this would create in how our medical care is wrapped up in our economy. The true concern is not being able to charge your life savings over a cold but religious 'freedom' is the hot button topic that people will get behind and follow blindly.
    I find it very discouraging that the general public cant look past the religious curtain and see whats really going on and what is really in their best interest.

  • Dina

    In the US we like the idea of everyone receiving equal medical coverage but its a money issue for our government officials- their campaigns are funded by health related companies and therefore must take their views into consideration. A UHC would stop these companies profits.
    At this point religious and political views are used to muck up the waters and make it about something else. It's a slight of hand kind of trick.

  • Anonymous

    Dear Dina: What makes you so sure that obamacare is in my best interest? Isn't that just another way of telling me what health care choices I can and cannot make?
    It's not just birth control and abortions; all medical care is a highly personal decision. It's your body after all. And any way you slice it, the UHC you've been waiting for will reduce the personal part of your medical care decisions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12239831198823067426 linnyqat

    I'm pleased that the vast majority of anedotal experiences related here are positive. I was actually surprised, having slogged through 2/3 of the 133 comments (as of right now), that there weren't any stories of wait times and such. I think the original poster on this comment thread overstates the case when s/he says "any Canadian can tell you four or five similar stories about their immediate family alone". That's not my experience. My GP is very busy and I sometimes have to book a month or two in advance for my yearly physical, but if I need to get in to see her for something that's just come up, I'm usually able to get an appointment within the week.

    Last month I had to make a trip to emergency for the first time in 20 years (I am blessed with good health, as well as a good health care system! AND, I don't mind at all paying into a system I haven't needed to use as much as others) — I waited about 15 minutes to get checked in through triage; then waited about 15 mins to be assigned someone to see me. This was at around 11:00 in the morning on a Friday, in busy downtown Toronto. (Mind you when I was leaving at around 2:30, the waiting room was swimming with patients… I had lucky timing that day.)

    I am truly sorry for the bad experiences relayed by the OP, but I don't think that's the norm here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12239831198823067426 linnyqat

    I agree with Petticoat Philosopher – most of the commenters here, not to mention the blogger herself, have had constructive criticism or downright rejection of the American model. I understand the feeling of being financially, culturally, economically overshadowed by our neighbours to the south, and how frustrating it can be. But to paint all with one brush is just as jingoistic and does nothing to further the dialogue or foster appreciation for different ways of being.

    To Terry: I agree with most of what you say, and certainly I appreciate laws that are put in place to protect the greater good, but I feel like I have to point out that there's a large number of people (witness the majority government of extreme right Harper et al) who resent so called "nanny state" laws. Here in Ontario, they sneeringly refer to Dalton McGuinty as "Premier Dad" when he's introduced legislation in the past meant to protect the well-being of all at the expense of personal choices. Much as we like to think "we're better than them", Canada has a growing number of citizens that align with the right wing values of our American cousins.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12239831198823067426 linnyqat

    I also thought the comment about you being an oppressor was WAY harsh and over the line. I disagree with your stance, but I respect your comments.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15178529811098623102 steveh46

    Finland's schools are considered the best in the world.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15178529811098623102 steveh46

    "I guess low debt, good health care, very good education, good employment prospects, are all things you get when you vote for people who invest in kids instead of bombs."

    How can I convince most of the US that you're right? They just don't seem to get it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15178529811098623102 steveh46

    "And Canada's healthcare system, since it has chosen to forgo any kind of incentive to limit demand, has had to cope by suppressing supply."

    Canada and the US have exactly the same number of doctors per capita. (2.4 physicians per 1,000 people according to OECD data.) The US has far more specialists though so, for those with beaucoup bucks or really good insurance, it's easy to see a specialist. For everyone else the US system is a mixed bag or not good. What's ironic is that areas with more specialist don't have people with better health. Areas with fewer specialists and more Primary Care Providers do the best and those areas have lower health care costs as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15178529811098623102 steveh46

    Anonymous wrote: "Things were much better medical care wise 50-60 years ago when health insurance was called 'hospital insurance', and was inexpensive protection against catastrophic events. Routine medical care was paid out of pocket, doctors made house calls, no one was turned away from an emergency room and there was much, much less government involvement."

    My goodness, you're viewing the past through rose-colored glasses. Life expectancy at birth 60 years ago was 68.2 years. Today it's 78.7. Medical care for a heart attack 60 years ago was to put you to bed and hope you don't die. Do you have any idea of how much things have changed in 60 years in medical science? Apparently not.

    As for not being turned away from an ER? "It was called a "wallet biopsy." Or "dumping." Very simply, prior to the implementation of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1986, a patient coming into a hospital emergency department often had no right to treatment or even evaluation, no matter how dire his or her condition. If patients could not prove that they had the resources to pay for care, they could be turned away or sent elsewhere—sometimes in a taxi, sometimes on foot. They often suffered adverse health consequences as a result of delayed care. And sometimes they died."
    http://www.hhnmag.com/hhnmag/HHNDaily/HHNDailyDisplay.dhtml?id=4770007463

    Take off your blinders. Everything wasn't better before the gov't got involved.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15178529811098623102 steveh46

    Dina, I'm afraid that there are quite a lot of people in the US who don't agree that everyone should have "equal medical coverage." Some people believe that only those who deserve it should get medical coverage and if you don't have it, too bad. It's disappointing to see, but it's real.

  • Anonymous

    As a Canadian, some of the comments, which appear to be based on fear…of something…I am not sure what…blow my mind! How could two similar countries whose people originated, mostly, from the same Europe, be so very different in their world view??? I don't get it. Universal Health Care takes away your right to free choice??? Hilarious…in what way? Every step along the way YOU make your own choice…you will be told alternatives and then you choose..or not choose…it's just THAT democratic. Don't agree with abortion? Don't have one. Don't like birth control? Don't use it..do you think we tie you down and force these things on you? Our doctors might not discuss religion with you…but they won't make you sell your home in order to save your or your child's life.

    Canada has longer life expectancy and a much lower mother/infant death rate than the USA..what's so scary about that?

    Maybe you just think it is ok for poor people to die if they don't have medical coverage. Here..we think it's NOT ok…and I have to ask…is it Christian to deny health care to babies and old folks and pregnant moms??

  • Anonymous

    and by the way…none of my personal health care decisions are compromised…I decide.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06410682651072046347 TwisterB

    My statement, to clarify, was specifically about quiverfull/patriarchal women giving birth in the company of women with little to no medical training who call themselves midwives without having been through the rigorous training that VanTransplant's aunt goes through.

    A doula is very useful in the context of a team of trained professionals taking care of the physical and emotional well being of mother and baby, but is less useful when she is the sole health care provider present at the birth of a baby who likely has had little pre-natal care.

    My mom volunteers at a childbirth charity that helps provide pre-natal classes and doulas to women, or refer them to midwives, but that is within the context of a free health care system, where those women are all getting proper pre-natal care from a doctor.

  • Beth

    " That's not because of individual bad health decisions – our population isn't that radically different from other countries'"

    I wonder if other countries would offer free chemotherapy/radiation to someone who has lung cancer who is still smoking 2 packs per day and then again pay for all their care a year later when the cancer has returned and they are doing chemo again. Medicaid even gives them money to pay for gas to get to their chemotherapy because although they can afford $300 per month for smokes they can not afford gas to get to chemo. I see lung cancer patients in this position often enough. I also know that they refuse to consider stopping smoking. It is unjust when someone else can not get care because someone else is not taking responsiblity and using up tens of thousands of dollars in resources.

    I also see people who have type II diabetes. This is often a preventable disease or one whose consequences can be minimized by taking medication, reasonable diet and exercise. I see people on medicaid getting the care they need but not doing their part. The US pays for dialysis for alot of people. Do other countries? (I am sincerely asking as I do not know the limits of treatment for cancer/dialysis in other countries.)

    Do other countries spend millions a dollars to save the life of one premature baby or do not they not have the technology? Health care expenses are also increased because we have the technology to do things we were not able to do before.

    Do other countries you are referring to have the same rate of organ transplants?

    I wonder if the population of our country is not radically different is the approach/medical care offered different in some way?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Wow Beth, you are not even making sense anymore. You are basically saying that anyone who could potentially be responsible for their illness/injury does not deserve to receive medical care. If one person getting care that costs thousands of dollars requires rejecting another person's care, that is a problem with the system, not the injured/ill people.

  • http://david.monniaux.free.fr/dotclear/ DM

    Just a little remark, from my own experience in the US and Europe (France):

    The negative about the US: I had little choice.

    In France, I can choose my physician.

    In the US, my health care provider was selected by my internship host, or my spouse's employer. I had no choice. That provider assigned to us a clinic or hospital. In one case, the hospital was not close from where we lived (we had to drive some distance on a freeway, which I would prefer not to do if really sick).

    The negative about France:

    My wife's coverage was very good, so I experienced none of the waiting times mentioned.

    In contrast, in France, for certain specialists (eyes, dentist, etc.) for non-urgent issues, you typically have to wait 2-3 months. This can be circumvented by using physicians that charge more than the "social security" prices, but then you pay the difference out of your own pocket.

    Also, in France, it is commonplace for surgeons to charge more than "social security" prices.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01167866562475100344 Brent Hagany

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Anonymous

    And that seems like a good system to you? One in which a major medical crisis pushes even middle class families into financial ruin and bankruptcy? That's a better system then every other Western nation where a major medical crisis isn't a threat to your entire family's economic future and where you'd be free to focus on your health?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01167866562475100344 Brent Hagany

    Anonymous wrote: "But we'd have much more interesting insurance options if not for the existing government involvement in that market."

    Perhaps you would. I cannot buy insurance at any price; I can't even get a quote. And you wouldn't be able to either, if you got ill enough, especially in a more market-based system than we currently have. I'm sure your plan sounds great to people who think they will never be seriously sick.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody needs your home town. What state you live in would be entirely sufficient. Arizona, for instance, is planning on throwing about 250,000 people off of Medicaid. I believe the income eligibility is something less than $11,000 per year for an individual. No yummy free healthcare for those impoverished adults. And the kids? They had something like 80,000 on the waiting list last I read. So, no free preventative care for them. As awful as things are all over, I can't help but be curious what state it is where the outlook is so rosy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01167866562475100344 Brent Hagany

    UHC will not take away any choices you want to make about your health care. You are either lying or misinformed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15296586156534132891 Marta Maria Casetti

    I've been following you for some time now (thank you for the blog and all), and now at last I am writing a comment…

    I am Italian (we used to have the 3rd best healthcare in the world – mostly universal) and now I live in the UK (also not-so-terrible healthcare – and universal, again). I have had and I have a myriad of "health conditions": I live without spleen since I was 14, two different cancers, a rare (potentially deadly, now cured) malformation of the digestive tract, a light form of bipolar disorder and some other nice things.

    I live a quite normal life (except for being a PhD student in mathematics at a very good university), with medications and some therapy. I pay a grand total of £104.00 for my medications in a year. That's all.

    I know I will never be able to live in a country where there is no universal health care: whenever I go to the United States, my medical insurance costs me almost as much as my flight – and I have to find someone who insures me, which is a challenge of its own.

    And, given the "PhD in mathematics at a very good university", maybe that's also a bit of a loss for the potential country without said universal health care…

  • Anonymous

    Must be nice to just pay cash for your healthcare. I do not have insurance, cannot afford insurance, and have several on-going health concerns that need medical attention. I have no hope of seeing a doctor or affording a doctor's visit anytime soon (it will be over $400 just for the office visit and labs needed to check on my health condition, and heaven forbid I need medication or further treatment). I just hope my health conditions don't further deterioriate before Obamacare kicks in because that's the best hope I have of ever getting to see a doctor again.

  • A “Good” Catholic

    I am Catholic, and I have no problem with ANY employer being required to provide heathcare plans that include birth control and abortions.

    I also deeply disagree with – and indeed resent – your blanket statement that "Catholics believe these practices are immoral…for everyone". I assure you, and fellow readers, that is NOT the case with many, many Catholics. I believe a woman has the right to choose whether or not to get pregnant or terminate a pregnancy. I know an entire group of nuns who believe a moral CHOICE is still a choice, and should not be mandated by the Pope or the government. It is highly offensive to be lumped into your religious beliefs, and to be told we are not "good Catholics" if we disagree with your view of morality.

    Several families sat at a local coffee bar after Mass last weekend, and we ALL were disgusted with the Church's manipulation of the ACA for its own agenda. We ALL support not only the new law, but agreed that universal care is, indeed, the only "moral" thing for our country.

    So, please, keep your religious view to yourself. Don't want an abortion? Don't want to responsibly PLAN a family (as 90% of Catholics all over the world, including the US, do) – then DON't have an abortion. Just don't force your limited religious view on the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Another proof that die-hard conservative = idiot.

    Glad you evolved.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    About your question about if dialysis, cancer treatment or transplants are covered in other countries. Yes, they are in countries with universal healthcare. Spain for example has one of the highest rates of transplants (our donation system is awesome) and everything is completely free from going to the doctor to all the stay and treatments at the hospital. Also we are technologically advanced (maybe a bit behind that in the US) and we have a great preventive system like for example all babies and toddlers have to go to the consult for the healthy baby program (free too) to check they are growing adequately and developing their motor and cognitive skills okay (this is monthly when they are little and more spaced when they are older).

    I really hate when people make blind accusations… but I'm not going to rant at 3:23 AM because it probably wouldn't be very coherent anyway…

  • Anonymous

    Molly and Rae, you may also want to think about the fact that Obamacare's limited "improvements" are because of the many concessions it had to make to appease the GOP.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I've already said in this same comment thread that US citizens come to Spain for free cardiac surgeries because they can't afford them in the US so your arguments seem kinda disingenuous Beth. Also it has been said once and again in the posts that in countries with UHC you get the services whether you are poor or rich so if you are complaining about very poor people who made bad financial decisions receiving good care while people who made good decisions but are middle class so they can't afford much being screwed over, your complaint only applies to the US system in that case and not to Canada so it's pretty bad argument and you should drop and concentrate on another of your arguments (not that I personally find any of them very convincing or realistic). I'm going to fall asleep on the keyboard so good night.

  • Anonymous

    The answer AWOL is that the US can't afford not to do it. For every $1 spent on preventative medicine you can save $10 on critical medicine. Currently the US is offering only the classic ambulance at the bottom of the cliff model, and it is only to the profit of insurance companies.

    This infographic shows the incredible amount of money the US spends on health per capita compared to the rest of the world.It is off the scale.

    http://www.vizworld.com/2010/01/natgeo-shows-health-care-spending-life-expectancy/

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11043005602676549904 KaJo

    Last but not least, those of us who are grateful Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act) was voted into law and was upheld by the Supreme Court KNOW it's not the be-all/end-all of "health insurance coverage for all".

    It's got a lot of flaws, most of them caused by some Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress who have accepted campaign contributions from Big Pharma, medical device manufacturers and the for-profit health insurance industry, and who forced the Obama Administration's task force to accept compromises in exchange for their vote.

    And, of course, one party which also has Senators and Representatives in the U.S. Congress who have accepted campaign contributions from Big Pharma, medical device manufacturers and the for-profit health insurance industry voted in a unified bloc AGAINST the Affordable Care Act, only because it was up for a vote in a Democratic Presidential administration.

  • http://www.krismom.com Kris

    Thank you, I have been waiting for another Canadian to point this out! lol

    I didn't want everyone reading this to automatically make this assumption that "omg EVERYTHING is free!". There was a comment in there about having things like "therapy, medicines, a caregiver, a wheelchair, or repeated surgeries" being covered by the system and unfortunately that's not the case for all those things.

    In general though, great article and I was happy to read that your mind was changed when you got here and realized how the health care actually panned out for the citizens of the country. :)

    On that one nit-picky issue, I'd recommend anyone get the current facts from each province, but in a very general sense, things like doctor's visits, tests and scans, emergency room visits are free to all. Things like prescription drugs, therapies like physio and massage, as well as dental eye, and eye care (plus eyeglasses, etc.) are NOT usually covered by the country.

    But even with what's not covered with our Universal Health Care, I do agree with the positive comments that have stated is it without a doubt, a *much* better way to do it than the current system the U.S. has going on.

    For example, you might pay $40 for the ambulance to the hospital, and then you can get a free ward room or pay to upgrade to a semi-private room for your surgery (or having a baby!). Then your actual surgery would be $0, and you would pay for your medications at the pharmacy. This is hundreds compared to thousands!

    Yes, our taxes pay for it, but it's the safe bet. That previous poster who just "pays cash" for his/her 4 children's medical appointments with no insurance is really gambling when you think about – their children's lives could be in the bet pile one day.

    I also feel so sad and shocked when I hear the other side of things: parents talking about having to decide whether or not they can *afford* their sick children to the doctor or hospital. For me, as a Canadian mom, the money part is removed from the equation. If they are sick, I can take them!

  • Wild Rumpus

    One minor correction… It's called "Parental Leave" and it applies to fathers as well. I know because my wife is giving birth in two weeks and I'm taking a month off!

  • Eve

    How refreshing to read such a personal and enlightening perspective on this topic. While the comments are not all in agreement, they are intelligent and informative. My husband is British and is amazed at the negativity spouted regarding the healthcare system he grew up with. With one of those 'pre-existing conditions' , I have been unable to get individual healthcare at ANY cost in the US. I have a file of rejection letters. When Senator McCain suggested a $5,000 payout and I could choose my own coverage, I felt a combination of disgust and anger. "Let them eat cake" from those who have no worries about coverage for themselves or their families. Big talk over the years about possible solutions and then it goes on the back burner while we focus our attention on bombing somebody. Meanwhile, I've been working for 40 years and I'm sure my taxes have paid for medical costs for others. Coverage I cannot qualify for myself. Thank you for your time, research and energy in the creation of this article. One of the best I've read – - – including the comments that follow.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09058598849716342352 Frank Subtle Ly

    States you also wait…and still have to pay out the butt for it.

    Say what you will about "Obamacare" but it is a STEP in the direction of the civilized world.

    Thank you SO much for sharing, we immediately shared on FB!

    x
    ~Frank et al

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00963751592350237030 Sarcasm (Un)Lmtd.

    I agree. I'm in the US- I've been saying the same thing for years (although not as elegantly phrased, I admit), so if you think of a way to convince people, let me know.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00963751592350237030 Sarcasm (Un)Lmtd.

    As an American, I find this whole debate pretty embarrassing. It has become such a hot button issue, people only have to say a few key words before everyone loses their heads and stops listening to reason. We need to collectively stick our heads in a metaphorical bucket of ice water.

    I do find your experience very interesting… To me, it's a pretty clear example of two groups with similar beliefs taking them in completely different directions. Maybe it means we can change, after all.

  • Anonymous

    Being from Europe as I am (and a 90% Catholic country at that), I was so sure this post was a joke, aiming to discredit the position of opposing UHC by rendering it absurd.

    Um, it's really the type of rhetoric someone would use? O_O I mean, it would sound absurd even to the religious right around here. Paying taxes and insurance does not make one worship government, and Jesus never said you're supposed to depend on God's protection instead of doing things ourselves.

    However, by analogy, an interesting point could be perhaps made about worshipping guns instead of believing God will protect you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16415744162644559478 Unknown

    Ironically, it should actually be the other way around: there should be a $5 bonus for going to a doctor's office.

    GP visits are cheap, relatively speaking. Emergeny room visits are expensive. And cost of delayed is astronomically more expensive.

    There's also universal consencus among health care professionals in Canada that preventive medecine is dramatically cheaper than reactive medecine, although there's been considerable difficulty coming up with ways to improve delivery of preventive care. A $5 bonus might just be what's needed.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15065782851995490502 Romulus

    Insurance by its very definition is the act of taking from some to give to others.

    That is precisely how insurance works.

    If you object to your money going to pay for someone else's needs, then you don't want insurance at all.

    You also don't want to live in a civilized society.

    That having been said, there's nothing about "Obamacare" that involves taking from some and giving to others any more than every insurance company already does.

    The only difference is that prior to this year, a disgustingly disturbingly large amount of your money didn't go to other customers needing medical care, but to the pockets of executives.

    Some people think that should continue. I can't comprehend those people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15065782851995490502 Romulus

    You have 4 children and pay cash for all their healthcare. Well, I am happy for you that you are filthy stinking rich. We're not. I know you don't really care about us, though, but thankfully, we don't leave such decisions up to people who don't care about others. The Western world tried that about 500 years ago, and it didn't work out. Then this little country called America came along and decided that autocratic rule by the self-interested made for a poor society, and they would have none of it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15065782851995490502 Romulus

    I fear that by "social problems" you don't mean "people should be secure in their health care coverage" or "people should care about one another", but "women don't stay married to abusive baby daddies" and "women want to have careers instead of being baby machines". Yeah, so much for individual freedom huh?

  • Anonymous

    Agreed that income and health will always influence medical care options.

    I live in Europe and they don't influence most of my medical care options. My insurance premium depends on my earnings, not on my health, and the only difference more money makes is that if I were rich, I may skip public health care and go private = shorter waiting period. And my insurance is in no way changed according to my health. I'm relatively healthy and I pay more for my health care than I get back in services, but I'm happy to contribute to the health care of people less lucky than me, such as cancer patients. That's just basic human decency and social contract.

  • Anonymous

    As a Canadian male in my mid-50s, I've had my fair share of hospital visits. And, in all those encounters, the ONLY issue on the table was medical. Not once has the issue of money or insurance been raised. It's impossible to imagine myself talking to a doctor about my income level, religious beliefs or anything remotely tied to politics or ideology. Any interaction with the medical system is based solely on health, not money. The notion of hesitating to see a doctor or calling 911 due to money is completely alien to most Canadians and a concept many of us consider cruel and odious. When an ambulance pulls up to a hospital, the LAST thing on the doctor's mind is affordability.

    The foundation of our system is simple – it's about paying a portion of our taxes to look after our neighbours, just as he/she looks after us. Everyone chips in for the benefit of all. Unfortunately, the concept or 'socialized' medical care scares the bejesus out of many Americans because they see it as a slippery slope to some USSR-type society where we all work on collective farms. Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of the staunchest conservatives in Canada would never link 'socialized' medicine with Communist-style Socialism. While some Americans see this collective health umbrella as a weakness, I consider basic compassion to be a strength and wouldn't want it any other way.

    Yes, our system has its problems. We have too many people clogging up ERs with minor ailments, and we have lengthy waits for some procedures like knee or hip replacements. But when it comes to major medical issues, such as my two heart attacks, there is absolutely no waiting, nor any delays in follow-up appointments with a cardiologist.

    Yes, we pay out-of-pocket for medication, dental care, etc., but it's extremely rare to see someone unable to get that money back through an insurance plan at work (which kicks in with no questions asked). For the destitute, their needs are covered by that big health care account we contribute to, and I'm fine with that. Should I become destitute, I'm comforted in knowing medical bills would be the very least of my concerns.

    So much of this debate is cultural. In Canada, it's about community and looking out for each other. In the United States, it seems to be about the frontier mentality – I'll take care of myself and no one can tell me what to do. I'll never understand why the concept of caring for one another is such a distasteful concept to many Americans. In Canada, we have absolute freedom to visit any hospital or doctor we choose, for any condition The idea that an insurance company might dictate such a thing is a foreign concept.

    In my opinion, health care should not be profit-based, and that proper health care is a basic need, like policing or firefighting. In the U.S., the debate appears is so heavily weighed down by ideology and how to make a buck. Someone here wrote with disgust at the bureaucracy required to operate a universal system. Not sound sarcastic, but I'd rather have a portion of my taxes helping that little girl down the street with cancer than purchasing yet another aircraft carrier.

    Another person wrote about medical care in Canada being 'free' because the money to pay for it was taken by "force through taxation from someone else." Well, taxes are 'forced' on everyone – it's just a matter of where you chose to have those taxes applied. I have no problem with some of my money caring for that little girl with cancer and am damn proud that a portion of my taxes are used in such a manner. Having to choose between saving her life and financial ruin is a terribly sad personal choice to make – a choice I'm glad I'll never have to make.

  • Anonymous

    Re Anonymous commment "Abortion here is handled very differently than in the states. You can get an abortion whenever you can find a Dr who will perform one. You just won't find one who will do a late term abortion, partial birth abortion, any of those incredible atrocities. You will find it simple to find a place to legally have an abortion if you are still in your first trimester. After that fewer and fewer places will perform the procedure.
    You will not find it stigma free, except in the case of rape. The general view here is that you have the right to do it, but why? If you are an adult and don't want to keep the baby, have it, give it up, have your paid 12 weeks to recover and go on with your life.
    I would define myself as sort of pro-choice. I will not force my will on you, but don't expect me to be approving or supportive."

    Sorry, have to insert here that this is NOT universal across Canada, although I do not dispute this may be this particular Canadian's experience. You do not have to 'seek to find a doctor who will perform a termination (we don't use the word "abortion" in Canada) – anyone's family doctor can do this, but they may choose to refer you to an ob/gyn to do the procedure. There is no "stigma", as all medical information is CONFIDENTIAL, so I have no idea where anonymous dreamed this up. No one knows. And there is no 'attitude' described as "you have the right, but why do it?" No one, other than an opinionated doctor, might say that to a patient. And they would be committing a breach that you (the patient) could report them to the College of Physicians and Surgeons about. One's family doctor is not meant to give a patient 'sermons', i.e.

    I suspect this person (anonymous) may have personal views on 'termination' that they are characterizing as universal or general to all Canadians – in MY experience, a woman's right to choose is a FUNDAMENTAL right in Canada, and is NOT toyed with or opined about or EVER subjected to possible revocation – NEVER!

    That is all; I just could not leave that screed standing without calling it into question, as in my 61 yr old experience the views described by anonymous regarding termination or pregnancy are NOT at ALL the norm. Perhaps they are Catholic and live in Quebec and are very religious, but again, that is a smaller portion of citizens than any others, so the 'norm' in that faction would be smaller than the (large) majority.

    Thank you. AND OF COURSE America should have universal health care; The Affordable Care Act is the first step toward hopefully that result for Americans. As one who was raised in Canada but spent most of my adult life living in several different American states, and having spent over a decade with UK National Health, I can tell you that America needs NOT to have to worry endlessly about physical or mental health issues, but needs to join the rest of modern societies and stop being idiotic about 'socialism'. MANY things in America are already socialistic anyway, so it is just GOP nonsense to do so. And of course, the fact that our wonderful President came up with the ACA makes it inconceivable to Republicans that it could be a good idea, but then they've been like that for 3.5 years, so what's new? Obstruction and "no" are the only things one party knows in the US, and sadly, this doesn't hurt them, but only their constituents.

    All the best.

  • Anonymous

    Lot's of interesting and valid points shared. I would like to add my opinion that an abortion is not an emergency service like a blood transfusion. If you want an abortion and the hospital nearest you doesn't offer them, you would reasonably have time to travel to another clinic. Also, it seems very self serving to state that abortion is a tool that responsible parents use to plan a family. Abstinence and birth control are tools for those who desire to responsibly plan a family. Granting yourself the right to extinguish human life for your convenience seems anything but responsible.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06441687986668803207 Synthetic Zero

    Canada's wait times aren't great, but neither are ours. And France, the Netherlands, Switzerland, all with universal care, have much shorter wait times than we do here in the US. Not to mention the fact that despite tens of millions without health insurance, we spend nearly twice as much per capita as the average industrialized nation. After spending all that money (which shows up as huge insurance premiums), we still have pretty bad wait times, mediocre care, and so on.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11334814800125695032 Nathan Fairbairn

    Beth, your comments about health care in the States and refusal to post what state you live in is making it harder and harder to credit anything you write. In your Bizarro world, Canadians don't get heart stents when they need them and Americans get them free of charge regardless of whether they're insured or not. In the Canada I come from, my MIL went into the ER last Halloween with chest pains and within two hours was in surgery getting two stents put in to remove her blockage. (But maybe according to your previously stated philosophy, she should have been left to die or been driven into bankruptcy because, after all, she brought it on herself by being twenty pounds overweight?)

  • mdlake

    Thank you for this post, and thank you for having the bravery to re-examine your beliefs in the face of evidence. That is rarer than it should be.

    I would very much like to read a follow-up elaborating on this line:

    > I started to wonder why I had been so opposed to government
    > mandated Universal Health care.

    An excellent question–not in the rhetorical and snarky "well, duh!" sense, but really: why HAD you been so opposed?

    If you now feel you were misinformed, where did you get the misinformation? Why were you so committed to it? How did you select your sources, why did you trust them, and do you still trust them on other politically-charged subjects? And above all, how might people who share your former opinion also come to apply a little healthy skepticism to that belief, apart from joining you in Canada?

    An answer in the same tone as this post would surely be enlightening.

  • Anonymous

    Megan, then do it. Leave. Do a bit of research, choose a place, find yourself a network of resources for when you move, and move! Don't stay at a place or in a country you hate, if you want to travel and experience something else, do it.

  • Anonymous

    @Molly – how can you possibly call Birth Control "abortifacants?" Birth control PREVENTS pregnancy, not ends it. If I take birth control pills and don't get pregnant, how is that "aborting" a child?

  • Anonymous

    I do not appreciate your failing to insert my comment. the person who said termination (we do not use the word abortion in Canada) was 'if you could find a doctor to do it' in Canada is wrong – all doctors perform any procedure rquired for the patient's health. There is no 'stigma' surrounding terminating a pregnancy (unlike what same person said) as patient affairs are entirely confidential between a doctor and the patient. the views expressed in the rest of that commenter's remark about some perceived 'why do it?" general Canadian attitude are also bogus. I do not understand why you chose not to post my remark, but that's your entitlement as it's your blog. Just leave the religiosity out of Canadian healthcare; it is not appropriate and is NOT a factor that affects HEALTH in Canada; we keep FAITH in churches and do not burden doctors with guilt tripping and attacks on them for performing medical procedures, and women's RIGHT TO CHOOSE is foremost in Canada and not under threat of being removed by a political party – EVER! The ACA is the best thing that ever happened to America, and so is President Obama. Second try anyway at making a comment; who knows what your moderation is for or against.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16886124993171547304 Laurie Mann

    While I'm glad this woman came around, millions of us have been making these points for nearly 30 years. Universal Health Care is the way any rational, developed nation handles its health care. People in countries with Universal Health Care have longer life expectancies, fewer infant deaths, fewer maternal deaths and fewer abortions. The only medical statistic where America is #1 is in medical cost. And why is that? Corporate profits of medical companies are more important than the health of the American people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18274762504599416104 Candice

    IF we could instantly put this program into place that would be fine, but it will never happen due to the huge differences in
    educational costs, doctors debts, litigation nonsense, and malpractice insurance. There are so many reasons that Universal Health works in other countries but would not work here. I hate how the health care here has changed to the worse since I was a child. But I am on a local indigent care program and it is horrible. I wait weeks or months to be seen for an acute problem, unless I go to the E.R. which is very costly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18274762504599416104 Candice

    I wish it were so easy.
    it is not.
    I am conservative, but that does not make me an idiot.
    I have been on indigent care in a local hospital. Very similar to universal health care, but based on income there are some reasonable co pays.
    No insurance monthly bills.
    It is horrible, care is way below most standards, waiting for appointments, and drugs is a nightmare, even for acute problems.
    I can of course go to the ER but the copay is much higher, and I am unable to afford it.
    I personally feel it cannot happen here.

  • Anonymous

    Great post! I live in Scotland and could not imagine life without the NHS. I have a number of health complaints and right now I have to see the doctor every 3 weeks for check ups for one condition and will require specialist attention for a further complaint. I will have to wait a few weeks to see the specialist, but have no trouble getting a GP appointment. I know in an emergency I would get immediate care. The flat I rent is quite pricey (I live in St Andrews) and I'm a postgraduate – if I had to pay for all the healthcare I receive I couldn't afford my rent. My father has numerous chronic conditions including diabetes and without free healthcare I know he wouldn't be with me today as he wouldn't be able to afford the medication and doctors visits that he requires. A few years ago I saw a news article asking the opinions of some Americans on the NHS and one guy said "it's a really bad thing – have you seen British people's teeth?!" well I have to break it to you, there is nothing wrong with dentistry here. We have private dentists for those who don't want to wait and the people with bad teeth tend to be either alcoholics, junkies, people with over/under-eating disorders and those who just don't bother seeing a dentist or caring for their teeth – same as in any country. It's the problems of individuals, not the system. I am aware that it isn't strictly free as taxes go towards the NHS and some procedures require payment, but don't US citizens have to pay taxes anyway? I seriously cannot see the problem. You have the freedom to choose how you want to be treated. If you didn't like your doctor, you can get the next available appointment with another doctor without worrying about costs. If you have religious beliefs, you have every right to choose suitable healthcare. I'm not going to go into the whole abortion/birth control thing, but those are not forced. It's refreshing to see an American who was originally against universal healthcare seeing the benefits. Those who criticise fear the unknown, so it's something they'll need to experience to realise the benefits.

    Ps. Apologise for any spelling/grammar errors, I sent this via phone and my proof reading skills suck on a phone lol! Also my anonymity is not out of fear of being criticised, I just don't have a suitable account hehe!

  • Anonymous

    Americans can be such a HUGE morons on the issue(s) of universal healthcare (and religion…)

    Problem is, healthcare is a HUGE business, and you are exporting your particular brand of moronism to other countries that did have a universal healthcare to be proud of, and are currently loosing it (privatizing for the interest of the right wing neoliberal associated interest groups)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16256148588887525854 stellans

    to Anonymous 9:30 AM:

    Try telling any grieving relative of a woman dead in childbirth, or a woman forced to bear a dead fetus that an abortion isn't an emergency service. If you don't choose to avail yourself of a legal medical service, fine. Quit trying to deny that right to the rest of us.

  • Anonymous

    Uh, Anonymous, um, wtf are you talking about?

  • Anonymous

    Illegal immigrants cannot receive Medicare or Medicaid benefits in the US except in a llife/death situation. Their children can.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    I'm not sure what comment you are refering too. I moderate comments, and while I have deleted a few comments meant for this thread(comments asking for personal information or using excessive profanity as an example) so far, your's was not one of them. I happen to completely agree with church and state (and there for healthcare) completely seperate, but even if I did not, I would have published the comment. Perhaps it got lost somehow?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    I will consider writing another post clarifying some of those questions.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Correction, it was just waiting to be published, it is a few comments above this. Sorry your low patience was triggered by having to wait for it to be published.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01367979764147060739 Markus Sommerbauer

    Maybe you didn't realize: Your Government is real, God is only fiction.

  • Ironica

    Right now, if you're Catholic and you pay for health insurance, you're helping to provide birth control for people. You may be helping to pay for abortions for people. If you have United Healthcare insurance, you paid into the same pool my birth control and my husband's vasectomy came from.

    The only difference– the ONLY difference– between now and the Obama mandate is that everyone will be able to get *the same* health insurance, no matter who they work for. There's a minimum standard of care. That standard of care, in recognition of the needs and desires of the overwhelming majority of the US population, includes coverage for contraception. It does *not* include coverage for elective abortion; public health care (Medicaid) doesn't cover that… but much private health insurance does. If you have private health insurance, you may be subsidizing abortions, even if your employer's coverage plan doesn't include them.

    So if you are opposed to paying for other people's birth control, you need to bow out of the health insurance market entirely. You need to self-cover all your costs. Because as long as you are using an insurance provider, you're engaging in the socialization of health care.

  • http://mattconlon.com Matt Conlon

    I grew up catholic, and frankly the official catholic stance on most things is askew with how most Catholics live.

    I find it interesting the reasons people get up in arms about paying into universal health care, especially when they're paying into the church that teaches and preaches stuff most of them don't believe completely.

    They get all up in arms because now they have to pay into this system that covers things against their religious beliefs, but when the church openly opposes things they don't, like gay marriage, premarital sex, or birth control, they don't get all up in arms that they pay into the church that doesn't represent their beliefs.

    To each his (or her) own. I'll gladly pay into something that supports someone else's beliefs, as long as mine are just as accommodated.

  • Anonymous

    Pro-lifers would be more credible if they supported children also AFTER they are born.
    They don't care about life and they don't care about actually reducing abortions.

    Further, it's ironic how the US is spending insane amount of money for the military to 'protect the citizens' but unwilling to invest a fraction of that in actually keeping said citizens alive and healthy.

    US citizens live too sheltered lives, they should be encouraged to put their feet in other countries, possibly not with weapons, just to see how life is there.

    Pro-lifers: how many lives could you save at home with health care for the price of the next useless war?

  • Anonymous

    So some right-wing evangelical christian republican finds out she's been wrong all along about healthcare! So what do you want us to do? Applaud?
    Because of you and your ilk millions of people are being denied the most basic of access to healthcare, while millions of dollars are squirrelled away by the huge corporations.
    What other revelations will you come to? That having millions of guns might be a bad thing?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09680687232989598778 Lisa

    Thanks this was truly encouraging ! thought it took me an hour to read, Your viewpoint on the topic is very outright and convincing.Postnatal Care

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13875557024790982777 Rocky Mountain Fine Art by RL Huff

    Just one question: did you not hear about the bill that passed in one of the Canadian provinces that states that if you are over a certain age (seventy something), and you need a life saving procedure done, that a panel will decide if you get it or not? just sayin!

    it would be LOVELY to have paid maternity leave…. making more money staying at home, than working sounds very appealing. plus, that mean you CAN stay home. there are some benefits. Ihave heard of people having to wait incredible amounts of time in order to be seen for some medical things though…

    • Alison Cowan

      What province? What bill?

      I’m Canadian and I didn’t hear about it; more to the point, I’m Albertan and I didn’t hear about it. Alberta is the most “republican” province in Canada and always has been. Alberta’s even beginning to introduce for-profit health care, for example. If ANYONE in this country were imposing political hoops on health care coverage, it would either BE Alberta (most likely) or be major news here (at least!). Being an Edmontonian (living in what was for decades the only non-conservative federal riding in the province – equivalent to having the only non-republican representative in the state for more than an entire generation), there is simply no way this wouldn’t make local headlines (honestly, it would be front-page news for days in every paper in the country). This is just yet another piece of American propaganda. (Read: b******t.)

      Seriously. Learn how to learn.

      In fact, learn how to read. The article clearly states that maternity leave benefits are 55% of regular pay – NOT “making more money staying at home than working.”

      And as for wait times, there is never going to be any medical system that a) uses state of the art diagnostic capabilities, b) provides all services on demand, without waiting and c) doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Pick two, for the best the real world has to offer. What we chose was “a” and “c.” What you chose was “a” and “b” – except that anybody who can’t pay an arm and a leg doesn’t get anything at all.

      Personally, I’d rather have to wait for procedures for non-life-threatening conditions knowing that I will get mine in turn (no queue jumping by the rich), than to know that others have to wait until a problem BECOMES life-threatening before they receive any care at all. How do you people sleep at night, knowing that your neighbours – even your middle-class neighbours – can’t go to the doctor when they need to?

      And one last, just because I’m in a foul mood – a “bill that passed” would be what is called a “law.” It’s only _until_ they pass that they are called bills.

  • Anonymous

    Melissa great post, you say that your taxes were slightly higher in Canada than in the USA, but how much money do you save with UFC, you should consider that in your equation, plus you live longer, healthier in Canada. Plus infantile depth rates in Canada are way less than in the USA.

  • Anonymous

    I'm all for people having their own beliefs, but it bothers me how often this woman bashes our government's stance on abortion. It's like she's forcing her beliefs into the article, that abortion IS wrong. Bloggers need to be aware of the way they word things in my opinion.

  • Anonymous

    Excuse me but my doctor is my provider – not the government.

  • Anonymous

    Do we have a "massive influx of illegal immigrants?" I mean, I know politicians love to harp on it, but I'd have to see what the numbers actually look like compared to other countries with a similar border situation.

    Keep in mind the US technically does have universal health care — but only in the situation where you're a life or death emergency. If you're on the brink of death the hospital has to help you. This is by far the most expensive time to treat a problem, which is part of the reason the US has the worst health care costs in the world.

  • Anonymous

    Can you explain why? At the very least it would mean you're not trapped into whichever providers your insurance happens to cover. I don't see how that 'reduces' your choices.

  • Anonymous

    Christian love is caring for each other, in my humble opinion. I can't wrap my head around how a program that cares for everyone could be anything else than deeply Christian. It's sharing and caring, nothing else.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for posting this. Michael Moore's documentary "Sicko" spends quite a bit of time discussing the advantages of the Canadian universal healthcare system, but there's a lot of people who won't watch a documentary (or that for some reason don't like Michael Moore) who might listen to folks like you who've had actual experience. I hope your post goes viral.

    One thing I might add about the for-profit healthcare system in the United States is that for many of us it destroys the trust between doctor and client (I refuse to use the word "patient"; I think that's a demeaning term that should have been thrown out long ago). If my doctor suggests that I need to take a particular prescription drug, my first thought is that I probably don't really need it, or that maybe there's a lower-cost prescription available that he's not telling me about. Maybe he's only pushing that drug because his favorite pharmaceutical company rep has been giving him kickbacks or other inducements for pushing that drug.

    At this point in my life I simply don't trust my doctor (and yes, he probably considers me the "patient from hell" because I start giving him the death glare if he even dares suggest I take another pill) so I simply avoid going for checkups altogether — I can't afford any more prescriptions anyway. Sure, I might die a few years younger, but at least the drug companies and hospitals (hopefully) won't get every dime I have before I go. I've already decided that if nothing changes with regard to health care and I develop some life-threatening condition, I want to be given painkillers only and left to go naturally and quickly. I definitely would NOT feel that way if we had a Canadian-style health care system here. Besides, the younger I die, the sooner that maybe I can be reincarnated as a Canadian, or a citizen of one of the Scandinavian countries, or anyplace where people are happy and don't think their government is run by a bunch of unfeeling, uncaring, and just plain evil sociopaths!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01041041752309633788 Nonoche

    Stop using religion as a cop out. Jesus himself addressed this very issue :

    And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words. 14And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a penny, that I may see it. 16And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar's. 17And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.

    This controversy is ridiculous and baseless.

  • http://www.empowernetwork.com/ana7733/ Ana-Maria

    I like your post very much! In Croatia (small Central European Country) we have very similar if not the same health care system as Canadians. And, we are small, poor country, went out from the horrible war only 15 years ago, while still fighting with remains of communism already highly affected with global and European financial recession and depression. But in-spite all of that our health care system allow us to LIVE!!!
    We find American health care system extremely INHUMAN !!!

    We can't even comprehend that such country, as USA is, who likes to act and present itself as The Biggest World Power (looking from this angle), in fact, it turns out to be The BIGGEST World POWERLESS, failing and lacking to protect and support it's OWN people and their base human right TO BE ALIVE by being healthy!!!

  • Anonymous

    That you are Catholic, Buddhist, Protestant, Jewish etc.. has nothing to do with how money is spent by the Government. That's why the separation of Church and State is so important. Saying that because you're Catholic and don't approve of where the money goes because its against your religion is ignorant. Tell me does your Catholic faith approve the torture of prisoners? Yup your money hard at work. Does it allow the killing of innocents due to the numerous wars the USA has inflicted on other nations? (ps You have been at war or in a some freakin' conflict non stop since WWII.) Yup your money goes there? Spying on nations and your own people? Yup your money goes there.
    Anonymous: get real. "Extinguishing human life", your nation has no problems with that. Pre-existing medical condition..sorry you die. No money, no coverage, sorry you die. Not to mention the freakin' wars again. So important to protect a bunch of cell in a woman's body but once its out, NOT MY PROBLEM..sorry you die. And the list goes on and on.

    You used to be able to affect change, but your political system and your politicians are owned by major corporations. Doesn't matter who you put in power, they get money from the same players. For God sakes you've allowed Corporations to be people!!!!

    The author made a valid point: "You have more abortions because you have no universal health care". All you Christian pro-lifers Republicans miss that point? Stop blindly following doctrines and dogma and for the love of God wake-up and think for yourselves and not just about yourselves. I have never seen such a selfish nation. It's me me me fuck the rest.

    The land of the free is a joke. Don't beleive me? Homeland Security ring a bell (geez it sound like something from the iron curtain) You the land of the indebted, the land of corruption. The land (TM) brought to you by Major Corp Inc.

    right wing nut christian lifers…your not the solution, your the problem!

  • NitzerEbb

    Republican party always brainwashing the U.S. population in that matter, "public health care is a violation of my freedom." Hahaha really?? In Europe we can choose if we want to use the public or the private health care system, or even is usual that many people used both. In the USA people can't choose.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02244709420430539093 Marco

    Just a couple of minor considerations on Italy.
    First, on how Italian healthcare system works differently in each "region"; it's a fact that the northern hospitals – with some exceptions – have the best personal and technological resources, and the quality is not so good in the center or south of the country.
    Second, the maternity paid weeks stands just as you have a full-time long-term contract job, which – needless to say – it's quite a rarity nowadays. I'm in my 30s and though I have many friends just a couple of them have such jobs, in large companies (which are the 10% of the italian businesses) or in the public sector. Most of us are independent "freelance" workers with extremely low salaries and the highest tax expense of all Europe, so pregnancy is quite not an option if you still want to pay mortage and bills (you would be shocked to know how many people still live in their parent's house because their 700 €/month job is just not enough to pay a 400 €/month house rent).

  • NitzerEbb

    Btw, here you can read the experience with the public health care system of an American woman living in Spain
    http://www.orangepolkadot.com/my_weblog/2010/03/healthcare-in-spain.html

  • Anonymous

    Well written! Would be interesting to put Sweden into the comparison mix since we are considered to be very extreme with most beeing atheists and gets 480 paid days of paternaty leave. The equality between the genders are also considered to be the highest in the world. We think that our neighbours Norway and Finland have way too narrow terms, even if we are similar in many ways.

    Will follow your blog, very interesting to read about (in my swedish eyes) the extreme ways of usa.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous you can't be serious. If it were true about the government then why is it every other "civilized" nation has universal health care and the cost to them is about 1/2 of what you are paying right now?

  • http://www.thefightfordemocracy.com Tara F

    This was a great read and I was happy to read your perspective from the American and Canadian experiences you've encountered. I'm a Canadian Citizen and my American Husband lives here with me in Canada and has had experiences on both sides of the border with both systems as well. There can be wait times here yes, but as my Husband has said many times, "I'd rather wait 2-3 months for a procedure in Canada than never get the procedure in the US because I can't afford it." It doesn't matter how amazing a healthcare system is, because if you can't afford it, it's not working for you. I would like to mention as well that in Aug 2010 I was experiencing odd symptoms and went to my Dr, within 9 weeks I had gone through several EEG's, CTs and MRIs to determine I had a brain tumour and my symptoms were seizures, and also had a Craniotomy to remove the tumour. Aug 26 was the first day I went to my Dr with symptoms and Oct 21 is when I had my surgery. I was given the choice of surgeons in 2 world renowned hospitals in Ontario with one coming with a great recommendation from my Dr. Guess which one I picked? :) I am currently cancer free and still receiving MRI's and visits with my Oncology team and have never once during this whole experience had to worry about how I was going to pay for any of it as it's all been covered. Is the system perfect? No, but no system is. Does it work? Absolutely and I'm thankful for it every day.

  • Anonymous

    Hello,
    health care in Canada costs about 10% of GDP and everyone is covered.
    In the U.S. it costs 16% of GDP and millions are left on their own. So the U.S. system costs 60% more! Why is this? Could it be that the Corporations that the Conservatives seem to love to the exclusion of the people's and I might add America's welfare are ripping you off? Republicans/Conservatives are in my mind very evil self centered people.

  • Anonymous

    Beth according to what you are saying the people using it already don't pay into the system and are covered why are you scared of everyone being covered then? at least according to what you are saying they already are… It's the healthy people who would be paying into the system and helping support the costs more evenly and still not using the system because they are healthy. Your logic doesn't make any sense.

  • Anonymous

    I'm an Aussie and can't believe this ridiculous debate over healthcare. 3 kids all born in wonderful hospitals.. Wonderful care. Cost – Nothing! 3 kids always sick.. Pop down the the wonderful local doctors. Cost – nothing. Husband recently had appendix burst – Cost – nothing. Grandmother with cancer . Had the utmost of wonderful care and again nothing. Wake Up America. The rest of the world regards you as a joke at the moment..,, and don't even get me started on gun control! Obamacare may not be where we are at.., but please give the guy a chance to start moving in the right direction

  • Anonymous

    I can talk to any doctor I want and go to any hospital I want anytime I want and the decisions I make are my own not the doctors. Can you say the same about your system? I know I have lived in both places as well you can't see any doctor you want because they need to be a part of your plan or you get no coverage at all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08129940821864143948 Flip

    Please do try to convince your fellow Republicans because they (like you before) Will never believe Antoine else!

  • Dave

    As a former resident of the UK and now France, both have UHS. The decisions made by the medical professionals are based on need and not cost. Peoples religous beliefs are respected in this process. It should be every human being's dream that society can provide healthcare to everyone who needs it based on need and not their financial status. I respect everyones freedom of religion, but to deny the possibilty of provisi on of care to those who are suffering surely goes against every christian teaching? As someone who was brought a Catholic while I loved the feeling of belonging I could no
    t square the anti-birth control message while watching people in 3rd world countries suffer. Please do the most loving act and set aside these objections for the good of those who need it.

  • Anonymous

    Have you considered moving to a free country like Canada, instead of one where you are a slave to the health insurance companies?

  • Anonymous

    The article, the comments for or against, have nothing to do with AHCA (Obamacare). To compare Canada's health system or any government (single payer)system to what we were given is like comparing apples to oranges. Under this program we all have different coverages, pay different amounts. This program has already increased my premiums, co pays, and lowered my benefits. I am so thankful my government threw me and other seniors under the bus. I live it, don't try to con me or tell me how wonderful my coverage is.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08312760352116849244 Family Way Doula

    Not only is birth control covered by private insurance through Catholic employers, but when I attended a Catholic-run, independent study high school, we had access to FREE condoms every day by popping into the counselors office. On Fridays, she would approach virtually every student (it was a small school of about 60 teenagers and adults) and ask if they needed/wanted condoms, for themselves or for friends. When I had my son while still a student at that school, I was welcome, and even encouraged to bring him with me to the school on the two days a week I went to pick up and drop off my independent work and get one on one tutoring from my teachers if needed. I never heard ONE word of judgement or condemnation from any student or staff member at that school (including from the rather elderly nun who was my advisor).

    –Stef

  • Colleen/redeem147

    It's not the same thing. I'm Canadian and I get care when I need it. I've had fine care in hospital. I go to the ER when necessary. I get tests right away. Don't apples and oranges this.

  • Colleen/redeem147

    I go to the doctor I want to go to (unlike my American friends). How is this lack of freedom?

  • Lisa

    Overall, an excellent article. However, Canada's parental leave is not as universal as you indicate. The first half is maternal leave only, meaning it is given only to women who have given birth. The second half is parental leave and may be taken by the father or the mother. This means adoptive parents only get the parental leave portion. Still better than what is available in the US, but far from a full year. Also, the benefits come from employment insurance and there are certain criteria you have to meet in order to be eligible; on being that you have to have paid in for a certain number of weeks prior to taking leave. Theoretically, self-employed individuals can choose to pay into the insurance plan in order to collect parental leave benefits; however, in practice, this doesn't work because if you leave your business for a full year, there will be no business to come back to. Also, the cap of $40,000 for insurance means that a single-income self-employed family would be unlikely to be able to make ends meet with leave benefits, even if someone could be found to run the business in the owner's absence. I am a self-employed Canadian, have adopted twice and given birth twice. Never have I had ANY parental leave.

  • Colleen/redeem147

    My husband is diabetic and he gets quick care, whether to see a doctor or for counseling through hospitals. Because my doctor is excellent and has a practice on her own, it does sometimes take a few days for an appointment, though she has been known to squeeze me in. It took me too long to see a dermatologist after a skin outbreak (it had cleared up) but he gave me his number and told me if it happened again to call and he'd see me right away. My doctor is across town but I have the option of going to the walk-in up the street if I choose – which is where my husband found his GP.

  • Colleen/redeem147

    I wonder if you've ever been a smoker (I haven't but know people who are) or had a problem with overeating (that I'll admit to) and know how very hard it is to stop. And that it's easier for some people than others. I had a friend who was smoking while he was on oxygen. I wish he was still with us.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11207431513338161915 sarahbear

    Every single thriving society pays taxes. It is not stealing from anyone to ask that they all contribute to the betterment of their communities, states and nation.

    Is it forced charity for you to pay taxes when someone else needs a police officer to come to their aid or when you use the roads that were paid for by tax dollars to drive to the grocery store?

  • CK Australia

    Canadian system sounds similar to the Australian Medicare system – yes it is true that all western nations other than the USA have universal healthcare. The thing I find really hard to fathom is the USA actually spends more per capita in the health area than other western nations but for really poor health outcomes for the majority – most US health funds must go on beauracracy – maybe debt collection. In Australia we have private health funds too (for glasses and dental and stuff like that), but everyone is guaranteed hospital care if they have a car accident, get cancer etc. We see US movies where middle class families are depicted selling the house to pay for their child's cancer care and have trouble believing that US people think that's normal.

  • Anonymous

    Not to mention appease the insurance companies that are the problem.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11954904831205748961 Jaime Chavarri

    I really think that Finland outstands in Social Mobility (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_mobility), meaning that there is little correlation between parents and childrens' social class. That's very important, since it means that by studying and working hard you'll be able to outstand and get further.

    For me, happiness in a country is based in 3 points:
    - The richest 5% makes arount 10 times more money than the poorest 5%.
    - The social mobility rate is as high as possible.
    - Education, health care and homes will never cost more than 25% of the minimum income.

  • Clarke

    I'm sorry, but I find the OP's views to be greatly exaggerated. I also live in Southern Ontario, and while our system is not perfect, it's far better than most in the world.

    Yes, wait times can vary, depending on the situation and urgency. My father had a heart attached last year – it was then discovered that he would need bypass surgery. He was able to not only request the specialist that he preferred to see, but he was scheduled for the surgery within days. He has since received excellent follow-up care.

    I myself have had to go through our healthcare system for cancer treatment, and received nothing but timely, professional and proactive care. It was because of a regular check-up that we were able to detect it early and treat it before it became aggressive, and in turn lessened the need for more costly treatment in the long run.

    On the flip side, of course there is room for improvement. There are great doctors, and there are mediocre doctors. The same applies to medical facilities. But, as a Canadian citizen I have the right to research, request and get the care that I want for myself. Sometimes you have to be your own advocate, but at least we're given that option without having to worry about the financial viability, e.g., medical treatment vs. mortgage payment.

  • Jon Bakken

    Watch "Idiocrasy", one of the best portrayals of where the US will end up if continuing on current path… Truly a cruel betrayal of your founding fathers vision for the country they where willing to risk their life for to make a reality.
    Being born and raised in one of the best countries in the world (litterally, not the 'we have the greatest education in the world' while actually being ranked #38 kind of 'great country'), one of the terrible socialist 'regimes' in Europe (Norway), it is truly both sad and frightened to witness the similarities in the cultural, educational and critical thinking deterioration between the current US and great nations of the past, "the past" being the crucial key words here. Your narrow minded views, unsupported by anything valid or knowledgebased, is the key ingredients for a failing nation… You are truly one of the undeniable best indications of there being no God, as he would truly not stand for such stupidity…

    • Ocer

      Ouch. No God? Our politicians and corporate leaders do not represent the majority of the U.S. Most americans want us out of all wars, jobs to return to the U.S., and healthcare that benefits everyone except our greedy corporations that control our politicians. Our system is definitely messed up. However, you are implying that we americans are all evil. I guess the U.S. media coverage you see must be pretty horrible.

  • Anonymous

    You know that the USA couldn't feed itself without the illegal migrant workers right?

  • Anonymous

    ^^Nathan, you're my hero.

  • Clarke

    Aren't you more limited when it's an *insurance company* making those decisions for you? I'm Canadian, and I have never, ever been limited in my decision-making as it pertains to my medical care. Not once. If I'm unhappy with my care, I have the CHOICE to change doctors or facilities, which I have done in the past. And it has never cost me to do so. I can ensure that I get the care that benefits ME, not the care that benefits a corporation.

    • Ocer

      It depends. Some plans are very restrictive and don’t give you any options. I am fortunate to have one of the best plans available in the entire U.S. My plan has different coverage levels (100%, 90%, 70%) depending on who you choose.

  • Anonymous

    Hear, hear.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10238870291486811312 Margie

    @ anonymous: I am surprised to hear that there are health care police as part of Obamacare! I haven't had anyone show up at my door and demand that I get a physical every year. In fact, as far as I can tell, I can even keep my vastly overpriced and limited health insurance if I want to do so and so not have the more extensive coverages provided by the "affordable health care act". Even my grocery store still carries homeopathic remedies, vitamins of all kinds, etc.

  • Anonymous

    I have never understood the opposition to universal health care in the States. You have written a wonderful blog. Something that every USA citizen should read. And something everyone in the USA government should read. Maybe you should send it to every one of them.
    We in Canada know how essential universal health care is, how it saves lives, how it keeps people from going bankrupt in order to care for themselves or their families.
    Being a Canadian citizen I wonder why there is such opposition. I can only suspect that the underlying reason has to do profits for someone, more about lining someone's or some companies' pockets thnt what is best for EVERY citizen of the USA not just those well to do who can afford it.

  • Anonymous

    I couldn't believe my eyes while reading this post.Fight for your rights american friends, health and scholarship must be affordable to every human being.

  • Stephanie

    Laurie…Thank you for reading my thoughts on this….Im a retired mental health therapist who's been saying the exact same things the blogger has here for the past 2 decades…It makes me wonder that if a conservative suddenly gets it because life forces them to live with change, then somehow thats more "credible"?..Shakes head…We cant wait for all conservatives to get it with their slow learning curve…People are dying because we dont have universal healthcare..And Americans dont have any more "choice" with managed care because all insurance companies do the same bait and switch marketing tactics to make one think she is getting a better deal than the other plan…They arent and it sickens me to see millions of people suckered and fooled by that….The glaring reality is that govt. sponsored healthcare is monitored and can be voted out by the people if it doesnt perform well and efficiently…Not so with private health insurance companies…They squander and steal huge amounts of money with no monitoring them at all…And lastly, how is allowing an unlicensed, uncredentialed paperpusher decide your care "fiscally conservative"?.,,,Able to override the decisions of licensed healthcare providers…..I thought that was called fraud…As a healthcare provider, I received no paid vacation, no paid sick leave, no paid personal time off…I was only paid when clients showed up to appoitments, so if 4 out of 8 people scheduled showed up, 4 hours was what I was paid…When my father died, my mother had to pay my rent that month so I could attend his funeral, otherwise, I would have been unable to cover rent that month….How is this morally right?…How was I supposed to help my patients when I could even get help and time off to take care of myself and my life??…Im still asking those questions…Thank you again, Laurie, for pointing out what is so obvious to millions of us working in the trenches.

  • http://mefoley.wordpress.com/ mefoley

    Sounds a lot like the British system, which–after growing up in the US–feels like Paradise. AND we have the option of paying for private care if we want.

    I have never, in 13 years of living here, not gotten in to see a doctor, at *no* charge, on *the same day I asked to be seen* for an urgent problem. And I even get my prescriptions free, because people with certain conditions (low thyroid, diabetes, I don't know what all) — get free prescriptions; that's in addition to the free prescriptions for the under 16s (or under 21, I believe, if you're a full-time student) and over 60s. (Copayment for each prescription for the bulk of the population is about US$10.00)

    I wrote about my experiences using the UK's National Health Service in detail at http://viehebdomadaires.wordpress.com/tag/nhs/ (though my own blog about life in the UK generally is at http://mefoley.wordpress.com) C'mon over and see how good life can be!

  • Anonymous

    When you go to the ER, the hospital is required to cover you, due to a law Reagan signed. The hospital pays most of that bill itself, and the cost gets reflected in what it charges everyone else. So even though we don't have universal care, we're all paying for yours.

  • Anonymous

    I truly wish you would have fully answered this "I started to wonder why I had been so opposed to government mandated Universal Health care."

    Why were you so opposed to government mandated Universal Health care? Just unthinking adherence to Republican tribal politics? Or what?

  • http://mefoley.wordpress.com/ mefoley

    Looks like my attempt to comment didn't work — trying again –

    The Canadian system sounds a lot like the British system that seems like heaven after having grown up with American medical care.

    In 13 years here I've never failed to get a GP appointment on the same day I asked for it if the problem was even semi-urgent. And prescriptions are free if you're under 16 or over 60 (or under 21 or 25 or something if you're in full-time education), or if you have certain systemic conditions like low-thyroid or diabetes.

    I've written about the UK system at http://viehebdomadaires.wordpress.com/tag/nhs/ and blog about life in the UK generally at http://mefoley.wordpress.com

    Last Tuesday I phoned the doctor's office at 5:15, and by 5:20 I had an appointment for 5:40. By 6:00 I had a prescription and by 6:10 I had my pills — and every, single, bit of it was FREE.

    Now tell me again *why* Americans won't vote for tax-funded government-administered health care?

  • Comrade Rutherford

    "many BC are in fact abortifacants"

    That is a lie told by religious conservatives to rise money from their easily deluded flock.

  • Comrade Rutherford

    Of course, in reality, chiropractic is NOT 'quackery'.

    I have had major back pain instantly relieved by chiropractic, something no other medical practice could do. I was told I would have to have surgery, not work for at least 6 weeks, and they couldn't guarantee that I wouldn't still be in pain.

    I went to a chiropractor and was fixed in one crack.

  • Anonymous

    "Americans can be such a HUGE morons on the issue(s) of universal healthcare (and religion…)"

    False. You forgot the adjective "RIGHT WING" in front of "Americans". It so happens that this minority (maybe 30% at most) is most useful to the power elites who are controlling our corrupt political system. Beware, Canadians: the same oligarchs are coming after you!

  • Comrade Rutherford

    In the 1990s my dad was in France hiking in the Alps. He twisted his ankle really bad. He was flown off the mountain and the hospital staff was rolling out the red carpet – until they learned he was an American. The hospital staff put everything away, apologizing profusely. They asked for his Visa card and told him they'd make it as inexpensive as possible.

    Had my father come from a civilized country, not America, he would have had top-notch treatment and the bill would have gone to the patient's home nation. But because my dad was from the land of barbarians, America, where we don't have health care, the hospital had no one to bill but the patient.

  • Kat

    An additional note to the graphic about maternity leaves: new Danish mothers have the right to 14 weeks of maternity, which they can start as early as 4 weeks before their due date. During those 14 weeks, the father have the right to 2 weeks of paternity leave. After those 14 weeks, the parents have 32 weeks to share between them as they see fit. Better explanation

  • Anonymous

    Melissa, I gladly and joyously welcome you as a prodigal daughter. I am humbled and impressed by your ability to see through years of conditioning to see the facts around you and change your long held views. Not many among us have the inner strength to do what you did.

    That being said, I think it is important that you go beyond saying that you used be against healthcare "because" you were a conservative Christian. To do so is to "blame Jesus" for what is, bluntly, a misguided ideological position that improperly uses Christianity as moral cover.

    Understanding why all of us humans are frequently so willing to believe outright lies, while naming it virtue, may be the core moral issue of our time. You are in a unique position to speak to that. I wish you would.

    God bless you and your family.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12280353094701244809 mtailor

    Beth, it looks like your income cutoffs for Medicaid are the annual income limits, not monthly. I think that changes the picture dramatically.

  • Anonymous

    Seems like a gross simplification of abortion statistics, at the very least.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18261170940228025796 sally lansdale

    Wonderful wonderful! Did you have any idea how far this post would spread? Thank you and Congratulations! <3

  • Anonymous

    The comments on this blog are beyond idiotic. Enjoy yourselves in your socialist utopia while the US protects you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06338761214938263819 Joyce Lansky

    Wonderful article. Thanks for posting.

    http://joycelansky.blogspot.com

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16278412130674178615 Felicity

    Great post! I live in Australia and we've also had universal healthcare for decades. We shake our heads at the level of misinformation and hysteria going in in the US over UHC. Amazing.

  • Anonymous

    To anti-Obamacarians and ilk: just think of it as Romneycare, it's the same thing.
    You're welcome!
    - Dave the grateful Torontonian

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11799883448443407438 Brigid_Fitch

    @Candice: It can't happen here as long as there are still people who, like the OP originally did, believe that the idea of Universal Healthcare is somehow evil or makes them socialists or something. We came close with single-payer but the GOP and Blue Dogs shot that notion down. What we ended up with was a good step forward but look at the reaction: GOP & right-wing idiots took it all the way to the Supreme Court.

    Universal Healthcare, the healthcare that exists in pretty much every Western country, is the exact OPPOSITE of what you experienced in indigent care: Everyone gets the same care. There's no reason we can't have that in the US. The reason we DON'T lies squarely on the shoulders of people who think like this woman thought: Having access to good healthcare is somehow a violation of our freedom.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11799883448443407438 Brigid_Fitch

    It's great that you posted this, Melissa. So glad you finally came to your senses and stopped believing everything your right-wing propaganda generators were telling you.

  • Anonymous

    To all of those from other countries who have commented here I would like to say: Thank You! Your input is very much appreciated. So many of the opponents to universal healthcare in the US use the propaganda of anecdotal fears and ignorance while muddying the waters with misinformation, disinformation, or no information. Hopefully your input will bring more enlightenment to the conversations. Unfortunately, many of the far right wing ideologues will only listen to the voices they want to hear.

    PS: I've always considered myself an intellectual conservative, but now I'm defined as a moderate by the Republicans since their transformation by the far right wing element into the cult like status and the allegiances they must adhere to.

  • Anonymous

    Last sentence of Romulus' post. Hilarious! AHAHAHAHAAHAAAAAAA!!!

  • Anonymous

    "In my mind, freedom was being violated, my rights were being decided for me by the evils of Universal Health Care."

    "When I mentioned to Canadians that I had been in a car accident as a teen and hadn’t gone into the hospital, they were shocked! Here, you always went to the hospital, just in case."

    Wow lady you were (are?) a nut job. I'm glad you came to your senses and now live in a country that doesn't force parents to join the army just to pay medical bills. That's insane.

  • Anonymous

    Personally, I don't believe in the Catholic church, nor any other organized religious associations. In fact, I object to them strongly on moral and ethical grounds. I don't want them near my home, in my community, preying on the sensibilities of my children. But you know what? My tax payer dollars are being used to subsidize and support these organizations that I have such very strong moral objections to, and I have no say in the matter. None whatsoever. All of us pay, and none of us have any say!!

    My tax dollars are used to provide roads so that church goers can get to their places of worship safely and in comfort. My tax dollars are used to provide sanitation to these buildings. My tax dollars are used to provide access to the electricity and heating fuel these building consume. My tax dollars are used to provide Fire, Police and other safety services to these buildings, and the people who use them. All of them without my say-so, to support an organization that offends my moral and ethical sensibilities on a daily basis.

    And you know what? That's exactly how it should be. It's called society, and without all of us pitching in to support the freedoms of those around us, we none of us will ever have any.

    So I say this to all religious organizations who object to their insurance dollars being used to pay for other people's private, personal health decisions:

    WHENEVER YOU'RE READY TO START PAYING TAXES AGAIN, then come and talk to me.

    But until that day comes… STFU.

  • http://ludicrousity.wordpress.com/ ludicrousity

    Excellent musings!

  • Anonymous

    It comes down to trust and culture.

    The nations where universal health care works the best are those with a tradition of honest, competent, cost-effective government.

    To say the US falls short on all three points is something of an understatement. Think of the noblest health-care cause you can imagine – let's say, a fund or budget line-item to provide pre- and post-natal care for pregnant rape victims who are against abortion and are carrying their fetuses to term in spite of the horrifying circumstances of conception.

    In Canada, it would be administered with thoughtfulness and compassion.

    In the US, the politician holding the purse-strings would figure out a way to skim 20 percent off the top for his beach house in the Hamptons.

    In other words, you could import Canada's health-care system to the US and it would be every bit the wreck the current system is…unless maybe you put some Canadians in charge of it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14227812700895939006 Triangle Dimes

    "The government becomes your provider, not God. You become dependent on the government and worship it instead of God." That is insane.

  • Anonymous

    Sooo…once something directly affects you it becomes acceptable. Maybe it's time to start an inventory of what other ridiculous and regressive ideas you have meekly accepted from your authority figure of choice and attempt to apply some critical thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Please do not paint Americans with a broad brush. It should be the "ultraconservative right-wing" Americans. Because half of Americans are just as fed up with these close minded types that have become obstructionists to reason. Unfortunately, it's the loud, obnoxious, and the outrageous types that draw attention to America's growing dysfunction.

  • Anonymous

    We live in southwestern Virginia. We just recently had our annual visit from Remote Area Medical (RAM), an organization that treats anyone who shows up for medical, dental, vision and women's heath issues. We arrived at midnight the night before after driving more than 2 hours. My number was 504 THEN. By the time the clinic started at 8am, there were more than 2000 people in line, and more kept coming.

    We slept in the car, waited 7 hours to be treated, but at least we were seen. We don't have health insurance, and because of pre-existing conditions, can't buy any. We're in our 50s, and don't have kids, so we're SOL when it comes to any kind of public assistance. fyi, we're both employed.

    If I had any money, it would definitely go to these folks. RAM was set up to send medical assistance to Third World countries. Just look at how many clinics are held in the US now.

    http://www.ramusa.org/expeditions/schedule.htm

  • Anonymous

    Economically and medically, liberals tend to have the attitude of 'an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure'. This is why we support Universal Health Care and better education.

    I wish more conservatives would consider that position BEFORE they need emergency services, rather than afterwards.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00399752598469523027 Alejandro Nuñez

    How come only people WITHOUT univ health care system complain about it? They must know better than us, poor ignorants. Sorry, your balance is over, hope you enjoyed your life and see you soon :)

    Nobody else feels like if they don't want it they don't even deserve it? And if they want theirs guns they deserve them too. Keep your freedom for yourselves, we will keep ours for us. Just don't fuck with other countries.

  • Anonymous

    Petticoat,
    All due respect if this country is so ridiculous get a one way ticket to Canuckistan.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11348859986524096460 The Randyman

    Bravo Melissa. A well written and thought provoking entry.

  • Anonymous

    In the debate about the contraception mandate it is important to point out that health insurance is, by definition, part of your compensation for the work you perform. The Church giving insurance that covers birth control no more violates its beliefs than giving money as salary that someone uses to hire a prostitute or buy drugs. Your employer doesn't pay for your health insurance, YOU do, by working. And you employer certainly doesn't get to decide what you do with your salary.

    If the Church wants to tell Catholics not to purchase birth control, that is religious freedom. But the Church cannot dictate how its employees use their earned compensation.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14051373688311508531 shanen

    What was the point of that comment from "Candice"? Just to show how broken the American system is?

    Anyway, I'll just add a short comment on the medical system in Japan, where I've lived for some years. Actually, the Japanese system is an insurance-based system quite similar to what President Obama finally got out of Congress, whereas Canada is single-payer, much more like the VA that my father used as a disabled veteran. (I have less knowledge of Medicare, though some of my old friends are one it and seem satisfied.) My own belief is that the insurance-based system is not as good as single-payer, though far better than what I personally had in America. I'm not complaining that the insurance companies are still focused on profits, but I feel that focus on money infects the system, certainly for most hospitals but even for some physicians. The main observable nuisance is that they don't like to share medical records. I think that's because they want to keep your business. (FWiW, I wondered if the unavailability of medical records contributed to the death of Whitney Houston…)

    The surprise to me in the article was the idea that you would have to leave Canada to get premium care. I bet the rich people in Canada still have ways of getting priority treatment, just as there are loopholes in the Japanese system.

  • Anonymous

    As a citizen of a country with UHC I have to say that the system has a lot of prevention programs to avoid taking care of those health problems… for example there are programs encouraging people to exercise or having a healthy diet…

    Furthermore a lot of risky or unhealthy activities are taxed or not covered by the system (but the treatment is always guaranteed).

    For example, a lot of taxes from alcohol and tobbaco go to the health system… there are even "petrol taxes" that go to the health system to compensate the medical costs of pollution.

    If you have a car accident, it's not covered by the system (but you get the treatment as if it were on the system), the insurance company of the "guilty" pays for the medical expenses (that insurance is compulsory if you drive a car).

    If you have an accident in any mode of transport, it's covered by the insurance of the airline o railway/bus company.

    If you usually practice a risky sport (such as karate or ski) you have to be registered in an association and the expenses are paid by the insurance of the association (for example, I used to practice karate and it was like 10€/year, the accidents while training where covered by the insurance of the gym so you don't even need to register if you don't want to compete).

    My experience is that here, doctors and patients don't care about the expenses needed to get fully recovered… neither they care about "overtreat" somebody just because they don't earn anything doing it… and as I stated before, the government tries to raise awareness about healthly living as it's better for everybody (it's cheaper and better for the people).

    I've family in the US… and a relative of mine had a foot problem… she tried to solve it in the US and as her insurance was coverning the expenses, the doctors were sending here to other doctors or ordering expensive tests for months… she came to visit us for xmas and the problem wasn't solved… after a free 5 min visit to the doctor, he told her what was the problem, the possible cause and suggested a (free) treatment…

  • Anony98

    The separation of church and state does not mean that everyone everywhere who believes anything must have ALL of the beliefs validated and upheld in every financial and social situation. Constitutionally, it means that the government may not pass laws that provide selective favoritism to one or some religious groups.

    Everyone pays into their insurance program in the US, either out of pocket or as part of their salary. You don't pay for YOUR services, you pay into a system. Scientologists can complain their money is paying for mental health services, Jehovah's Witnesses can complain blood transfusion is used, Catholics can complain birth control is covered, Jews could even complain that a ham sandwich is included in someone else's hospital food. As long as there is no law favoring any one of those groups, the constitutional framing of separation of church and state is upheld. This has been ruled time and time again by the Supreme Court for over 200 years.

  • Anonymous

    Canadians talking about having to wait to see a doctor. Are ridiculous. The longest I have ever waited to see a doctor in an emergency room was 8 hours for a broken leg. Yes, you have to wait up to 8 hours to see a doctor sometimes if they're busy saving lives. If you go to the McDonald's near the Stadium after a football game you might wait up to 20 Minutes to be served as well. It's a horrible world we live in.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02297700181135047053 Catlin Marie

    I had to wait six months for voluntary surgery on my hand, when I had carpel tunnel. The specialist was simply busy, as was his surgery center. I had to schedule my "emergency" hysterectomy for a month after the problem was diagnosed.

    Moving to the US doesn't get rid of crazy wait times, they happen in any congested city.

    I am thanking all the little gods right now that our small town just built its own hospital this past year so we no longer have to go into the neighboring big city for emergency care, where we waited on average eight hours or more for care for everything from broken bones to pnemonia.

  • Anonymous

    I'm guessing that the OP is in Texas, because that seems to be one of the very few states that provides gas cards to Medicaid recipients. I'm in California and nothing like that is offered to Medi-Cal patients.

    Never assume that a Medicaid benefit that patients receive in your state is something that everyone gets nationwide. States get to set their own rules for a lot of things, so there's a lot of variation between states.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05165623938954657142 Erin

    I am so glad you're discussing this! I feel like Health Care has become a soundbite in America and voters are not understanding that there are real people directly impacted with policies.

    I've written a book about my own experience as a young adult with cancer navigating the American health care system and fighting with insurance companies in order to receive the care I needed to survive.

    If you're passionate about this issue and want to hear more please come support and share this very important project http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1139799717/the-malformation-of-health-care

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00804208578308991182 project citizen

    I enjoyed reading your blog post. As a Canadian, it was nice to read a view of our health care system from an American writer.

    I do often wonder why Americans are so afraid of the idea of socialism, and against the idea of taxes. Socialism is not evil, yet the very mention of it in the United States makes people fearful. Your police departments, fire departments, public schools, and libraries are all institutions paid for through your taxes, but nobody calls them socialist. And all of them are.

    An interesting point: if a US soldier is wounded in battle, how much are his or her hospital bills? Zero. That's right, if you are a soldier and are sick or injured, there is no cost for medical procedures to get them better. How about a prisoner at Gitmo…how much are their medical bills? Zero. That's right, a prisoner of war can get any medical procedure they require at no cost, something an average American citizen would have to go into debt in order to receive.

    As far as taxes are concerned, I was once told that the citizens of the United States pay the second lowest taxes in the Western world (Luxembourg had the lowest in that story). I'm not sure that is still the case, but just raising taxes by 1% would bring in a lot of money that could be used to help fund a health care program, or build roads, or build schools. But you've been told taxes are evil, just like you've been told socialism is evil.

    I believe differently.

    I think telling someone their surgery isn't covered is evil.
    I think telling someone that they will lose their home is evil.
    I think pushing your ideological agenda on someone else is evil.
    I think not taking your children for a check up is evil.
    I think profits over people is evil.
    I think Americans are not evil, and I hope they realize this soon and fix the problems with their system.

    Thank you for your post. I have shared it on Facebook.

  • Anonymous

    Come to Germany. Best choice I have ever made. I got sick and tired of the hateful crap spewing out of conservatives and liberals mouths back in NC. America and it`s citizens need to grow up, compramise, and help each other and then she will be great again. Get rid of your cancers, America.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13971890629927800267 Ravan Asteris

    I'm not Megan, but I have looked into emigrating to a more civilized place. Problem is, I'm too old and too poor – the civilized world doesn't want me. So I'm stuck in a wannabe feudal theocracy.

  • Anonymous

    You can stay in your mindset, as you have not experienced financial tragedy "YET" with 'your' children and their physical/mental bodies. When YOU do, you will know the Universial Healthcare is the key.

  • Jara

    I now understand how Americans think… I felt scared when I realised what people do for their health care when they have no enough money… It's terrible!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18108694861191833007 BitFarmer

    99% of it also apply to most european countries, and i will ad something about Spain:

    Organ transplants are also a non-private thing, you can't buy or shell a heart, or pay to be first of others, and so you are very confident on donating them for others and donations here are very very common (85% of families say "yes" to donate the body after a family memeber dies).

    I had the need to transplat a cornea some years ago, 100% free, best doctors on the world (they do it more oftenly than in any other country) and the only reason you could go first on the queue was a medical reason, and doctors will not earn 1 cent on this, so it is really based on the needings.

    In some weeks I had my new eye waitting, but i was expect to travel this week, so they give it to the second-in-list and booked me another for next month… that easy.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09309880834848029381 Evangelinne

    I'm nurse and user of the spanish healthcare system
    And i really thank you for this post.
    You dont know how hard it's make someone to understand the importance of a public healthcare. People here who prefers private HC and look down the public one dont know the real cost of everything. Here private HC it's really really unexpensive if we compare to the USA. Here health insurances arent expensive and almost everyone can afford them.
    Also private HC providers can be really cheeky, sometimes they tell you to make your Xrays, blood test or whatever using the public system to get the results and then charge you the whole thing like was them who did it. Or gives competences to someone who has not. I've seen for a whole month how nurses aiders assisted surgeries as a theatre nurse.
    The only good thing you get from private it's the time.
    The public HC system has its issues too, mostly could be removed if people were more responsible.
    You changed from a private system to a public system. You saw what's good and bad in each system.

    And the abortion part, i dont fully support abortions, there's like hundreds of information and ways to prevent get pregnant nowadays. When i was 11 i started to recieve information about STDs, protected sex, pregnancy and lots of blabla at school.As a 11 years old child it didnt mean anything to me. It isn't relevant for a child, but it is when they grow up.
    Education it's really important.

    P.D: Sorry if it's confusing, im not very good expressing myself in english

  • Anonymous

    Me Too:))

  • Anonymous

    The vocal minority of American "obsessed with demented ideologies" embarrass the rest of us. Please don't think we're all morons watching Fox News.

  • Anonymous

    It's sad that I've experienced the same treatment just getting my annual pap/exam. My insurance harassed me for my non-existent secondary coverage. Then they refused to cover any lab work (the whole point of an annual pap).
    Additionallly, my GYN order some vitamin
    level lab work because she is the only physician I see annually (since it is prohibitively expensive to see a GP for a check up) and she was concerned about my weight gain since my last visit. Turns out I was fine and just getting fat from the stress of law school. But I ended up spending $1000 out of pocket.
    Lesson learned, next time I saw a doctor I asked for only the very basic tests and only generic pharmaceuticals. These insurance companies shouldn't dictate my medical care. I am a healthy young person but who knows if I will stay that way since I'm going without check up and preventive medicine.

  • Anonymous

    I am a teacher and I was able to afford to have my boys in January and take the rest of the school year off. Bliss! Their birthdays are three days apart (and two years.) Where there is a will there is a way.

    Can you even believe I had to plan and pull off something like that just to have a few months home with my babies? How absurd.

  • Anonymous

    But do it now. Because most countries have an age cap on emigration. I am too old for most other nations at 42, I know, I've done the research. Also, wouldn't hurt to become a doctor or scientist or math teacher.

  • Anonymous

    When medical care became all about the money and less and less about caring for human beings…we as a society all lose….I have worked all my life…saved money…had health coverage…then one day I am called into an office and told this is your last day with us..given 4 weeks severance and told "your medical coverage ends effective today..you last day of employment"… my prescriptions out of pocket were costing me $700/month…to pick up the insurance plan I had was $1200/month..suddenly my entire family is left with no medical coverage…..trust me..I never thought universal health care was a good thing…till the day I could no longer had medical insurance and couldn't afford to buy it..I got a rude awakening..when I finally did get another job 18 months later I was told I w
    ould have to wait a year before my new insurance carrier would pay for my high blood pressure prescription as it was a "pre-existing condition"…look..I have paid taxes,social security..am college educated and a Republican…and universal healthcare helps everyone!! not just a chosen or lucky priveleged few….time we really decide as a country are we willing to watch our neighbors, our children, our friends and relatives suffer rather than do what is right…by the way I have worked for a medical device and pharma company for over 20 years…profits over people….every time…

  • Anonymous

    I am an American man who is a veteran and has the VA as my sole health provider.
    When I go to them, they NEVER ask how much, what I believe or whatever I am/am not in favor of.
    Yes, I KNOW I am fortunate.

    I had been one of those who had actually believed that the USA was "the greatest country in the world".
    Well, I do NOT believe this anymore.

    Yes, there are certain things about my country that I love and respect however, there are also many aspects of it that disgust me.
    The major one of these is the political system under which we suffer.
    The worst of this is from the Gettysburg Address which has been abused and abandoned is the paragraph which includes, "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth".

    The absolute truth of it all is that it is a them vs. us system of government.

    I applaud those of you women who choose to not be oppressed and violated by this government and, especially the author of this blog who has had her eyes and conscience opened through direct experience and a willingness to learn truths.
    She is obviously one of those who did not choose to rigidly accede to having her thinking done by controlling, closed minds of the religiomatic conservatives of which there is an overwhelming infestation of here in the U.S.

  • Anonymous

    I found this through the Michael Moore website.

    I'm Canadian and I found this an interesting read. It really opened my eyes to how things could be (ie worse) if we chose a different approach than the approach we currently have. What a nightmare to have to stay with a certain job just to have health care coverage.

    I would like to point out that I don't see our system as one in which the government provides health care. Health care workers (doctors, nurses, administrators) are NOT government employees and are often at odds with the government single-payer agency and they have input into how things are done. Naturally, all citizens ultimately have a voice in the shape of the healthcare system — this is a democracy, after all. That is the same as in the USA, of course. Sadly, you have democratically chosen a rather shoddy system. I believe that will change, eventually.

    By the way, there are pros and cons to everything. One of the surprising "pros" to having "government run" healthcare is that government gets "saddled" with a HUGE (and important) responsibility about which they will make policy decisions (of course). This means there is a huge range of criteria on which politicians are then judged at the ballot box. This means that the public debates around elections can often be largely shaped by healthcare issues. These issues matter much more personally to many individual voters and as a result, politicians much pay careful attention to what their voters are saying on these issues. Basically, by giving healthcare responsibility to politicians, both politicians and voters are distracted from the rest of the issues that might otherwise occupy an election campaign … and this is a GOOD thing. Think it over… you actually WANT politicians and voters to be engaged on healthcare issues on an ON GOING basis. We get tired of hearing about it all the time here in Canada, but it's a good thing for democracy in general.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07514723070924105478 ibai

    Great article. I'm from Spain and we have WS. The best thing of WS is that allow poor people no leave this situation giving them health assurance and free education. (university is partly financed, cost 1500-2000 dollars, 1000-1500 euros)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07819223883148717661 Emma

    It can be implemented, all you have to do is do it.
    Britain did it after WWII and they were 27Billion Pounds in debt at the time.

    Canada did it in in 1968, and that was after all the Doctors in the country went on strike to protest AGAINST it!
    You can do it, vote for the people that believe in it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17521114406249893947 o

    The "best" argument I heard against Obamacare was, "I believe in God and not the man (doctors)" therefore I place my trust in God

  • Deb

    Thank you for writing this Melissa. I do hope you follow up with another post. I plan on posting this one on my FB page.

    I too was Republican, raised as a Southern Baptist. It was how I was raised. I remember my mind set back then. I wouldn't listen or read Democratic view points because I had been told over and over again that they just want to tax you to give money to degenerates, minorities and welfare queens. I was told they would lie and twist the truth. I was taught to view anything branded "liberal" with contempt.

    Honestly, I was afraid that reading or hearing their viewpoints would confuse me.

    The Bush Administration helped cure me. I hesitated voting for Bush in 2000 because I had to admit, Clinton gave us a balanced budget, and had put us on a plan to pay off the deficit by 2014. I had read that Bush ran every business he started right into the ground. But I had always voted Republican, so I went ahead and voted for him. I honestly don't understand how anyone could continue to vote Republican after that fiasco.

    I have learned a lot since then. I am a nurse that absolutely supports ACA. I hope at some point we will get the single payer option. In a sense, I was raised with socialized medicine. My father was in the military. When I was ten, I fell out of a tree, broke my arm and dislocated my shoulder. I was in the hospital for five days after they popped my shoulder back in place. That was to give the tendons and ligaments time to heal. I can't imagine what the cost would be to do that now.

    Here is a link to another convert. Wendall Potter, he was a senior executive at CIGNA health insurance. He became a whistle blower after he retired. He said his conscience wouldn't let him continue to be silent about the underhanded tactics the health insurance does to increase it's profits and to keep from paying the medical bills for people with insurance. He said that he actually came up with some of the talking points that Republican politicians have used to oppose the ACA.

    http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/07102009/potter_testimony.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09260073771363022463 thesnowleopard

    Great article! This kind of first-hand testimonial can go a long way towards convincing other die-hard anti-universal healthcare fanatics that universal healthcare is not just a stepping stone to 'evil' socialism.

    One thing though, I suggest you proofread this article more thoroughly; I noticed several typos that could potentially detract from how people perceive this blog post's legitimacy.

  • Anonymous

    Candice, I feel like maybe it's the area where you live and not the 'indigent care'? I had a baby and was on Medicaid at the time and while it took a week or so to find a doctor that would accept me as a patient, once I got in I wasn't treated any differently than someone who way paying for normal insurance. I am still with the same OB/GYN practice now and pay for Aetna insurance, and I still have to wait about 4-5 weeks for an office visit. Same as when I was on Medicaid. I think you're maybe assuming the general awfulness of health care in this country was caused by your (lack of) insurance when I can tell you in the Metro Atlanta area anyway, it has nothing to do with how you pay and everything to do with the fact that there just aren't enough doctors to go around.
    The other thing I take away from this article is that you can't say Canada is fine with paying for everything and still has a balanced budget and that it would work out like that in the USA. Canada isn't spending trillions of dollars to poke at the hornet's nest of the Middle East.

  • Anonymous

    Dear, la zurdos mas asquerosos y faciles de comprar de la argentina te muestran como ejemplo de reconversion del imperio.
    Sos la nueva esperanza zurda.
    Es fantastica tu vision, si todos puedieran atenderse en el sistema medico canadiense.
    Te invito a que vivas tu experiencia en los hospìtales publicos argentinos.
    Saludos

  • Kevin Finnestad

    I would like to see posts made regarding Universal Healthcare "Family Friendly" stance when rationing of care sets in and beaurocrats make health care decisions for us. I would also like to see who exactly is going to pay for this care? How will it be run? I have never seen a government program yet which runs efficiently and stays within budget. And explain to me please why 83% of doctors may retire if Obamacare is fully implemented if it will be such a joy for families? And for the liberal who posted "anonymous" above…the wars you talk about are from stopping guys like Saddam Hussein from torturing and killing his own people with mustard gas while ending up in mass graveyards….stopping a Taliban who brutalizes women and children..or a regime hell bent on getting nukes to hit America with. Not all pro-lifers are for war…but it is necessary sometimes. So the next time you liberal "mush for brains" try to explain something…ask for advice before you embarrass yourselves further. Our healthcare was the best in the world and needed adjustments for sure….not a social medicine cure that will give a leader complete "control" over citizens way of living. Tax and spend liberal policies at their best at work here….it's not healthcare solutions at stake at all…it's power and control liberal democrats want..plain and simple.

  • Anonymous

    What struck me was how remarkably ill-informed she was about socialized medicine before she experienced it.

    Americans need to realize that there is a great big world out there and in many places (Canada, Australia, Scandanavia) they do many things (including but not limited to health care) a heck of a lot better than in the US.

    Other than family visits, not much reason the head back to the US, really.

  • Anonymous

    This piece reminds me of Barney Frank's comment that "Republicans believe that life begins at conception and ends at birth."

  • nana

    As a european my jaws are just dropping.
    It's pretty late here will drop a comment tomorrow.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05722304052321553692 Rositta

    Your looking at the health care system through your experience as a pregnant woman and that's fine, but there is more to the system than that. I happen to believe that the German system is far superior to what we have here in Ontario. It is a mix of private and public and works well. There are no wait lists, everyone has access to a Primary Care Physician and the co pay is a small 10 Euro per quarter. If you can't afford it you don't pay. My friend had a hip replacement within 3 months, I waited 2.5 years for the first one and 2 years for the second. Cataract surgery took another 18 months but worst of all was a 6 month wait for a retinal surgeon that could have saved my sight had I had surgery sooner. I am currently waiting for foot surgery as I can't walk. It took 2.5 years to get an appointment with a foot surgeon and it's a 1.5 year wait for surgery. At this point I have roughly 300 days more to wait. Most importantly, it's not FREE. We all pay through our taxes quite steeply I might add, except of course the people who don't work…ciao

  • http://kimchalister.livejournal.com/ kimchalister

    Also, the requirement to provide full-service insurance was NOT for church employees, it was for employees of other, for profit, businesses owned by the Catholic Church, which arguably shouldn't exist anyway.

  • Anonymous

    It's a shame you have four children. You are contributing to the problem.

  • Anonymous

    what a list of excuses – and sadly you are paying the price for your ignorance and "conservastism"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03567549830059823566 Christine

    As much as I agree that healthcare is pretty basic, your province was doing it right. Ontario had issues with a government that decided to cut taxes to the bone, and then a government which said they'd restore services, and not raise taxes. Physiotherapy? Only after surgery. I would feel very insecure without private insurance on top of OHIP. (That being said, it's a lot easier to get, and a lot cheaper because it doesn't need to cover as much).

    And I'm not sure what province you were in, but the catch with abortion in Ontario is that the Catholic hospital here lost the maternity ward after abortion was legalized and they refused to do the procedure…

  • Anonymous

    I would also like to know what state Beth is in I am in Mississippi and that is not the case for care around here I know a young man who is totally disabled with seizures – he took a nasty fall at age 11 and a trip for an X-ray was too expensive Years of headaches were ignored by the few doctors he did see By the time he was so sick he couldn't work and began fighting the medical system full-time for help the scar tissue build up leaves him not likely to see age 30 – he can not even drive anymore As for care for people who don't care for themselves – look at the Japanese system – if you are obese you have one year to take off the weight or you are dropped from the national health care Too many big US corporation make Billions $ marketing garbage food

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01628343194640247814 Di Linh

    I'm not sure what state you live in Beth, but where I live, those numbers are not even close to receiving govt assistance. We make less than $4165 as a family of 5 and don't even qualify for WIC which has a more generous range than Medicaid. The only time we had any assistance was when my husband was laid off (we only have the one income) and my children qualified for state funded healthcare temporarily, but my husband and I were still left uninsured.

  • Anonymous

    I have to disagree with your comment about the attitude re: abortion. Frankly, the most common attitude of Canadians re:abortion is actually "Well, I wouldn't do it, and I don't think other people should, BUT I also don't think I have the right to tell others how to live" and NOT "abortion is an unalienable right". Try asking anyone from any part of the country that isn't downtown Toronto, and you'll soon discover this. That's if the answerer doesn't simply evade the question in the name of trying to stay away from a contentious topic, which is of course another wonderful Canadian tradition very assiduously practiced.

    Canadians are always willing to recognize their own rights to butt the heck out of other people's lives. Another thing that we don't hold in common with the US.

  • p.cakes

    "Catholics aren't denying people the ability to practice these evils, they simply refuse to allow their money to contribute to them. And they have every right to do so."

    No, they don't. As an atheist, I find capital punishment evil and immoral, yet I don't think it is unconstitutional for my tax money to be spent on it. I also think that smoking pot is fine, yet I don't think it is unconstitutional for my tax money to be spent on imprisoning pot smokers. I may not like that this is how my money is being spent, but I accept that one of the negatives of living in a society (or having a government) is that sometimes you've gotta help out others, even if you don't like what they are doing.

    Just about everything that government spends/doesn't spent money on is immoral to someone. This does not give you the right to refuse to contribute.

  • http://astrumporta.wordpress.com/ astrumporta

    I really respect you for changing your views. I've never understood the fear/hatred of UHC here in the US. I still don't understand it, but your post reinforces that it's really based on misconceptions and misinformation. I hope millions read this!

  • Anonymous

    I'm sorry – I have to ask. You said you are in the top 20%… that means you make over $100k? Or approximately?

    Please explain to me why a bill of $1250 means you won't pay your mortgage this month… you have zero savings? Are you living paycheck to paycheck because you spent top dollar on your home? Or what?

    We are also in the top 20% – after all of our bills are paid, this includes $900 a month for Montessori tuition, $1750 mortgage payment, about $400 in student loan payments, $500 for our health insurance – and all of our other bills, we still have $3000 left for food and anything else we want to spend it on or however much of it we want to put away..

    While I absolutely support Universal healthcare 100%, I think it's disingenuous for you to claim your inability to not live at the border of your means is a story that proves the need for it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09476917264141923909 Patapom

    I guess people in the US still have to make the difference between socialism and communism.

    (none of which being fundamentally evil BTW)

  • Anonymous

    "Ally July 10, 2012 1:41 PM

    The people that fought for and won universal health care in Canada were Christians, many of them ministers. In fact Tommy Douglas, the premier of Saskatchewan who was the first to institute universal coverage, was a Baptist minister before he went into politics. He did not worship government, he changed government to conform more with Christian principles – love your neighbor, etc. See Matthew 34-40. Implementing universal health care is the Christian thing to do if you honor the teachings of Jesus!"

    And with that I give you Mouseland
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqpFm7zAK90

  • Anonymous

    @Anonymous, hormonal birth control pills is considered an abortifacant because they do not prevent the fertilization of the egg (considered the "moment of conception"), just its implantation to the uterine lining. If this "moment of conception" is considered the beginning of life than a fertilized egg not allowed to implant is an abortion.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17094464231368380135 oddduck

    I live in Southwestern Ontario and don't personally fine the wait times all that bad. I'm current on the wait list to see a gastro specialist, but it isn't urgent. My husband went to urgent care with suspected kidney stones, and had a cat scan in less then 24hrs, and the results the same day. Longest wait we've had would have been with my daughters tubes for her ears which was 3.5 months.

    My FIL had a brain tumor, no issues with care. Tried multiple treatment options over 10 years before he did home hospice care. Lots of MRI's, many with short notice. They really did the best they could. At the end of his life, Drs treated him at home, nurses came in and gave him pain relief, etc. It was more then I would have expected. They truly impressed me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07682916285066559296 Charlotte Almås Christiansen

    You have a lot of choices with UHC. you can choose the treatment you want, but the doctors will not be thinking about how much money you have. You will get the best treatment there is no matter what. If you get cancer, get in an accident, or even worse; your kids get sick, you don´t have to pay all your lifesavings on medical treatment.

    I am from Norway, we pay taxes, but in return we get roads, paid parental leave for a year, free healthcare whenever we want (Even if we just have a flu), free college and much more.
    I am a student and have a part time job on the side where i make 1642,54$ a month, i paid totally 1700$ last year in taxes. That is perfectly fine to pay about 100-150$ a month when i know that if i get pregnant, have to quit my job, get sick, want to get more education, I get taken care of by our system here in norway.

    Last year I had to go to the hospital to get an x-ray, gastroscopy, antibiotics, and some more treatment. My brother got Crohn's disease for 4 years ago. We didn´t pay one dollar, I can only imagine what the cost would be in the US.

    To you anonymous, watch the movie "Sicko" with Michael Moore, maybe you start to think that UHC isn´t all that bad. (If you aren´t one of those who think he just make propaganda movies). I can assure you, what he tells in the movie about Norway and France is 100% true, and probably Canada as well.

    All in all, with UHC a lot of concerns disappears:)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07682916285066559296 Charlotte Almås Christiansen

    Here in Norway we also have UHC.
    I am a student with a part time job, I make about 1700$ a month and I pay about 100-150$ a month in taxes. That dosn´t bother me because I know I get alot in return when we get the tax refund each june, and I gain so much from it otherwise. I get free healtcare, everyone gets scholarsships to college, we get amount of money each month when we are students, so we don´t have to work so much while we go to school, paid parental leave, new roads and much more.

    Last year I had to get an x-ray, gastroscopy, antibiotics and some more medications, because I got sick.
    My brother got Crohn's disease for 4 years ago, so he was in and out of hospitals and still have to get a shot with medicines every 3 weeks. This is very expensive medicine, but because of our health system, he is covered and we dosn´t pay one dollar for it.
    It´s about 3-4000$ a month for his medicines. We are a middleclass family here in Norway, but that amount of money a month would be over the top for the most of us.
    If me and my family lived in the US, i can only imagine what the costs and consequence would be.

    I will gladly pay taxes and know that me and my family would get the help we need if something happens.
    We have also the option to get a good education, without have to save up several thousands of dollars. If I get in an accident and get a disability so I can´t work, I get an amount of money each month, based on my salary the last years, for the rest of my lifes.

    Will I pay taxes for a safe life? Of course :)

    I know alot of people, particularly Americans thinks that Michael Moore and his movies propaganda, but i´m saying it anyway. Watch the movie "Sicko". It´s about UHC.
    What he says about Norway is 100% true. Probably Canada as well.

    Every country has it´s flaws, but sadly. The healthcare system to the US has the most. Obamacare has also flaws, but it is a good step in the right direction!

  • Anonymous

    I also do not understand how a bill like HHS that gives expands exemptions for religiously affiliated institutions (allowing them opt outs in 28 states that now forbid such opt outs) is an affront to religious liberty. Should we just let the restrictive state laws stand?

    The thing that is so silly is that for many years a lot of Catholic colleges and institutions have covered birth control in their insurance plans for employees. But now that some people want to make political hay of this, they want to right to not do it.

  • Anonymous

    I have had about half a dozen insurance plans and the wait for non emergency treatment here is usually between 3 to 6 weeks.

  • Anonymous

    I have to say, I live in a large US metropolitan area, and when I want to see my (excellent) family physician (GP) for a routine checkup, I have to book months in advance, b/c we also have a shortage of GPs in the US. Another poster mentioned how all the talent in Canada comes to the US. For most Americans, that matters not at all b/c they don't come here to be physicians in general practice and help families. They come here to become specialists that most Americans – even those with "great" insurance simply cannot afford to see without risking bankruptcy. I am a well educated engineer with a good job. When I left my large employer for a smaller firm, we had to pay for insurance out of pocket. Luckily, we were still on COBRA (what a god-awful scam that is) when my wife got pregnant, but I had to leave that job and find another employer who offered a large group plan so that our new son would not be considered a "pre-existing condition" and put us on the street after paying for prenatal / birth / postnatal ourselves. Did I mention that I am a well educated engineer in the top 15% of earners in the largest economy in the world? Universal health care would have meant I'd have had the choice to stay at my smaller employer or even go on my own without fear of losing everything – possibly my wife and child as well – b/c only on our new insurance plan did we get the care that allowed us to have that preventive C-Section…and it ended up being a high risk situation. Health care is only part of the problem: how is it that someone earning in the top 15% in the largest economy in the world can't afford to pay for whatever they need? The answer is that say about 10-12 % points above my income the graph starts to look like a cliff. Conservatives can't have their cake and eat it too – if you want to have individual freedom of choice, with limited government, you need to have better wealth distribution. Otherwise, you will destroy the middle class and everyone will become reliant on social services anyway. Or we could go back to the poor, the sick, the children, and the elderly dying in the streets. I think some Conservatives would relish that, b/c it would make them feel better about their own station. It's disgusting.

  • Anonymous

    Melissa wrote: In my mind, freedom was being violated, my rights were being decided for me by the evils of Universal Health Care.

    I find it amazing that you can write this, and yet, you insist that the reproductive rights of women should be decided by the evils of the Catholic church!

    This is a perfect (and all too common) example of hypocrisy!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13674332089949439989 Melissa

    Anonymous 12:44: I have no idea where you are getting the idea that I want women's reproductive rights to be controlled by any church. I am not catholic, no longer christian, no longer republican, and I think that everyone should be able to make their own choice regarding reproductive rights, and that people should have access to quality birth control. Are you perhaps reading from my archives from over 2 years ago?

  • Anonymous

    I'm in Southern Ontario as well I can typically get a same-day appointment with my physician. Getting in with a specialist can take longer, but that's partially because I've never needed to see a specialist about anything remotely life-threatening. If time is a critical factor for someone's illness or injury, then they get the care they need right away.
    Having to suffer with a stiff knee or something is a small price to pay to know that my family, my friends, all fellow Canadians, and I will always be taken care of when it counts.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    I also believe that the mandate that requires those religious institutions to provide that, apply only to those institutions that accept federal funds and/or other federal benefits. So if they don't want to provide that coverage to their employees, the solution is quite simple: they can just stop accepting those federal benefits. Voila, problem solved. They can't have both. Obviously they don't want to do that, hence the pitching of the fit.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    Anonymous 12:39 –

    I feel the same way as Megan, and trust me, I wish I could do that. But even if I created a network of resources for once I move, the big part is the move itself. I'm a college student right now and literally have no money at all, aside from maybe a few pennies on my dresser. I would need the funds to go to that country, choose a place to stay, sign a lease agreement, come back, pack up everything, pay to have it moved to that country … there's tons of moving-related expenses that I'm not even sure I'll be able to pay once I graduate and get a job. Though, trust me, if it turns out I'll be able to afford it, I'll be out in a flying second without a glance back. But until then, I'll reserve the right to complain, as I'm sure Megan will as well.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    Just as a note … birth control is NOT an abortifacant. What BC is, in essence, is a dose of hormones. What that does is tell the body, basically, "You're already pregnant, don't ovulate." No ovulation, no egg to fertilize. Now, there are times that the body ovulates anyway … however, BC WILL NOT abort that pregnancy if it does implant (which, not all fertilized eggs implant, regardless of BC – a little known fact) the fetus will develop normally, barring any genetic problems that may come up (which, again, will come up regardless of BC). In fact, one of my childhood friends was conceived while the mother was on BC … she was perfectly normal when she was born and was healthy and well throughout childhood until I lost touch with her after moving out of state. So, even if a woman is on BC, if that .01% chance of conception happens, BC will not abort that pregnancy.

    Ah, I love being a student in the medical field. Although, this information is out there for the average person, it just takes a little digging and verifying a source for reliability.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    Also, regarding being "forced" to buy health insurance … people often forget they are already forced to buy one type of insurance: car insurance. If they are pulled over and don't have it, guess what? They get fined. And unlike the health care mandate, you don't get subsidies for having low income. And yet, the people who get all fired up about being forced to pay for health insurance don't rail against being forced to pay for car insurance …

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14427688055062938919 roscoepc1

    "but any Canadian can tell you four or five similar stories about their immediate family alone."
    Really??? What a gross exaggeration! I feel for your family, I truly do, but the line above accentuates your bias. I'm in Southern Ontario, so is almost all my family (and I have a HUGE family)…never have we come across the things you've described! Yes, there's a Dr shortage, but ERs are busting their figurative butts to provide care for everyone. My mom has had cancer twice within the past two years, both times she was seen and began treatment within a month. Various aunts, uncles, cousins etc have had serious (life threatening) illnesses and injuries and have all had care. My son was born with severe CP, he always got treatment when and how he needed it.
    If you want people to take you seriously on topics like this one, please avoid the use of such ridiculous overstatements!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    Because of my income ($0/month for this poor college student … thank god my dad pays my rent & electricity and thank god I'll graduate next March so I can get a job) and my medical problems, I should qualify for Medicaid. Should. However, in Ohio, in order to get Medicaid, you have to either have disability already (which can take up to a year or more to get with no coverage before that) OR you have to be pregnant. Yeah, that's a great attitude to have, encourage women with no insurance to just go ahead and have a child that she won't even be able to support with the help she'd get from the government. Great idea, Ohio! Don't get me wrong, it's good that if a woman gets pregnant and doesn't have insurance she'll be able to get at least something, but I think it could also encourage others to just get pregnant just to have that insurance because that's the only way.

    At least in Pennsylvania I could get Medicaid under temporary disability so I could visit doctors and obtain needed medications. Keep in mind that medical care and state help varies greatly from state to state and even from county to county within each state.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15234292971242028229 Corrine Morris

    Oral contraceptives prevent pregnancies. Condoms prevent pregnancies. The morning after pill prevents pregnancies. Are you referring to the abortion pill? That is, of course, an "abortificant", but no one is suggesting it isn't. I fear a lack of education or understanding basic medical and sex education is at play here…

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03674086813044531414 Simona

    Haha…I'm a teacher, too. I tried for April/May babies and ended up with 2 June babies! One was born on the last day of school and the other born on the 2nd to last day of school! :)

  • Anonymous

    To stellans July 21, 2012 3:44 PM:

    I agree that in some cases, abortion really is the best option for a mother's health. However, my point is that those cases are very rare.

    It is statistically true that (less than) 7 percent of abortions occur for health reasons. However, I was referring more to the 93(+) percent of abortions that are not a matter of medical necessity. I think everyone can at least acknowledge that the vast majority of abortions are not emergencies. In fact, the vast majority of abortions are not even performed to protect a mother's health, so although the health of a mother is a serious consideration, it is not the driving issue behind legal abortions. In fact, it never was, looking back to Roe vs. Wade.

    I think that every woman who decides to be a mother puts herself in a position to make sacrifices. Mothers give of their time, sleep, youth, even the shape of their bodies. We give our whole selves to be a part of creating life. I don't think that women who want to be mothers shy away from pregnancy in the face of the risks it involves. It seems to me that mothers consider those risks to be part of the deal and still choose to give life.

    In reference to your suggestion, I have spoken to a woman whose twin sister died because she chose not to abort her baby despite finding out she had cancer which could not be treated during pregnancy. The family did not wish she had received an abortion. It didn't take away the pain of loosing her twin, but an abortion would not have guaranteed that she would live. Her sacrifice did save her daughter's life though. Having the legal option to abort a child doesn't somehow negate the tragic possibilities of childbirth. So, I agree that in some cases, abortion really is the best option for a mother's health. However, my point is that those cases are very rare.

    Respectfully, I am not trying to deny anyone their rights to "a legal medical service", I am just stating my opinion about the true underlying issues involving abortion.

  • Anonymous

    "I personally feel it cannot happen here."

    That belief is irrational.

  • Anonymous

    " I do know when we start forcing people to violate their consciences we have started down a very dangerous path."

    Being a conservative means being ignorant, as Melissa was before actually experiencing universal health care. It means believing a host of things that aren't true, which conservatives then tell each other. This is because conservatives avoid novelty and change, and so they stick to the familiar, no matter how wrong it is.

  • Anonymous

    "I am not in favor of Universal Health Care on principle. it all sounds so good, but you are giving your freedom of choice completely away. The government becomes your provider, not God. You become dependent on the government and worship it instead of God. "

    This sort of thing is why liberals and nonbelievers tend to believe that all godbots are stupid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ray.southworth Ray

    Ditto!

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/36531ad2-4935-11e1-8c28-000bcdcb2996 brainburst

    "pay for insurance that covers things like birth control, abortion, abortifacients, it certainly does get involved."

    NO IT DOESN'T What an employer pays for does not belong to the employer. IT IS PART OF THE EMPLOYES COMPENSATION!!! An employer whether catholic or not should have no say over how an employee spends his compensation as long as it is legal.

  • https://openid.aol.com/opaque/36531ad2-4935-11e1-8c28-000bcdcb2996 brainburst

    Insurance premiums are not the property of the employer. They are part of an employees compensation. Employers should have no say about what an employee does with his or her compensation.

  • Anonymous

    My favorite happened a few years ago when I was in college and still on my mother's insurance (thankfully!)

    In a desperate and lonely moment I attempted to kill myself with a cocktail of pills on a Sunday night. Didn't work and the fire department and ambulance were called so I could be whisked away to the hospital. I ended up staying for 11 days, 1 day in the ER psych ward and 10 in the voluntary psych ward (whole nother story!).

    I had given my insurance card to the ER nurse so that they could properly bill the insurance company and everything. A few days after I was discharged, I received a bill from the hospital for around $22,000. I burst into tears and called my mom because I was a student! How was I supposed to pay for this?! I was making about $700 a month total. My very awesome mom called and got it straight, but it turned out that the insurance company had rejected paying anything because the hospital stay wasn't pre-authorized with my GP. My emergency hospital stay in Washington (where I went to school) wasn't authorized by my GP in Illinois (where my parents lived). How does that make sense?!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06831738881446407876 Francisco Pedrero

    Poor Americans, the last of all developped countries in almost eerything, because the 1 % has two parties and the 99 %, and Wall Street decides everything and people nothing.

  • Anonymous

    This is very informative and refreshing to read, thank you for writing it. I'm from the Philippines, and we have gov't healthcare and pension plans. My partner from Brazil, also tells that Brazil has Universal healthcare as well. We are now living in Japan where we're also covered by Universal health care.

    I never understood why Americans are so against it, when it's clearly beneficial to everyone; rich or poor. Countries that are relatively poorer than the US provide health care for their citizens, and they're not going under, they actually prosper (Brazil is 5th largest economy in world now, and the Philippines is is growing in GDP every year). Of course, public healthcare is not perfect in developing nations such as Canada, but it's there. It brings great comfort to the citizens knowing that they'll receive some kind of treatment, no matter their financial status.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18283951161455670498 yoyoda67

    I once had a mis-carriage and went to a Catholic hospital in New Hampshire and though I was hemmoraging, I was turned away at the door because I did not have insurance. They told me I could just go home and wait for it to pass or find another hospital. I was so discouraged and depressed that I just went home and cried and hemmoraghed until it stopped several days later. I was fortunate that I did not die.

  • Anonymous

    You should have mentioned that in Sweden we get a total of 68 weeks of maternity leave if you are a single parent, or the above divided if both parents are present.

  • Anonymous

    That's weird because US subsidizes Israel and its war spending.
    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/foreign_aid.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01575229311660862828 crackersoul21

    I'm an American living in Canada now. Right after I moved here I met another US immigrant who had been a staunch Republican in the states. He was very opposed to universal health care before he moved here. He told me now that he has lived under it….he'd never move back to the US.The health care ALONE was reason enough to keep him living in Canada. Health insurance for profit is an evil enterprise because the dollar comes before the people.

  • Anonymous

    And yet many of us wouldn't need the lesson. We are smart enough and compassionate enough to understand what universal health care means without ever having it. So congratulations to you on being a slow learner. Now, can you let the smart people handle things please?

  • Anonymous

    In Canada, The Universal Health Care covers what is deemed to be "essential services". Employers can then provide extended health care, as a way to entice people to choose them as an employer, as part of their employee's benefits plan. These serfvices could include private hospital rooms, chiropractic care, and dental care.

    Just thought I'd throw that in.

  • Anonymous

    The Catholic church has a nerve referring to coverage for abortion as immoral!
    What about all the pedophiles in church that got away with it?
    That's not immoral?? Give me a break!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08360135089311152581 paulstewart

    You must have had a bad experience in Ontario. I live in Toronto. I have never had a problem getting the care I need for me or my family. Or for my extended family including 5 siblings and their children and grandchildren. One of the ironies in the whole thing is that the Canadian system has at times been drained of Doctors who go – you guessed it – to the US so they can make them big bucks (really big ones). And then we have to find ways to manage the supply back. What we end up with is still an excellent system the likes of which the US if it could only get past its politics and religious insanity would be well served by. One more thing that really bothers me is the lack of insurance by some 40 millions that has gone on for decades and left so willfully by Americans. This is being remedied by Obamacare substantially, but it is still going to leave people out. A tremendous number of those not insured are children. One final point. Clearly, and God Bless You and may this continue, you have not experience the impact of serious illness in your family. You need to consider what happens when your insurance runs out – you can see all the Doctors you want until the money runs out and then you are just trash in the US, ready for the funeral home…..

  • Anonymous

    This article has been linked by Michael Moore in an article he has written for Alternet. Your fame is growing.:)

    http://www.alternet.org/rights/156465/michael_moore%3A_aurora_happened_in_america%27s_culture_of_twitchy%2C_bloodthirsty_killers/?page=entire

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12151965932109128693 Kellie

    Short story that I relate as a personal experience, although humorously told.

    A friend of mine in Atlanta, GA, an heiress though not yet come into her money…coddled by her family financially, nonetheless, however, owned 2 cats. She owned the cats for years, they were very, very old and becoming very, very decrepit. She was one lover away from still being a virgin, although in her 30's, and had no immediate plans to marry or bear children, so these cats were her "children.".

    It came to a point where she was having to infuse the cats a few times a week and weekly vet visits, for their kidney failure. She was paying 500 dollars at least biweekly to keep her old, ailing cats alive.

    I was appalled at this, not that I don't love animals, I do….but I had been struggling since my divorce at age 23 to care for my children on an LPN's salary with no assistance from their father, barely able to make the rent. I jokingly told her one day (although financially, unfortunately it probably wasn't far from the truth)…that if MY KIDS cost me 1000-1500/mo in medical care – I'd have to put them down. That's our country, boys and girls. So while "Obamacare" has plenty of flaws, until we get true universal healthcare (if ever) – I'll take'r

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12266753490017433075 Railway Bob

    Just to clarify the "freedom of choice" here in Canada. I have the freedom to choose the doctor that I want to see or the hospital where I want my surgery done. Those decisions are between me and my doctor. It does not involve the Government of Canada, the provincial government, or any other intervenor. And if I don't think my doctor is working in my best interests, I have the right to seek another doctor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08351410966396854582 Timoteo

    We have an entrenched attitude of social Darwinism here in the U.S., and that explains the difference.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12151965932109128693 Kellie

    Oh gee, apparently it just destroyed my post (so if this appears twice, shame on me).

    I lived in Atlanta for a few years and had a very near and dear friend there. She was 30-ish, one lover from still being a virgin, and no prospects in the immediate future. She did, however, have two cats, who were "her children".

    This lovely friend of mine was from a VERY wealthy family, so although she worked (in a very low paid caregiver-type, though degreed role) and probably will continue to should she ever inherit her share of the monies, she didn't want for much. That said, her cats were her kids, and she had them for years. As the cats grew older and older, and sicker and sicker she got to a point where she had to take the cats in several times a month for vet care and give them multiple infusions a month to keep them alive. She was, quite literally, spending between 500-1500 a month on her cats' healthcare.

    As a single mother since a divorce from my children's father in my 20's, I have struggled on an LPN salary; just making the rent, bills and putting food in the fridge was still quite a chore at that time in my life, although I suppose I was making (after several years experience) what would be considered middle class or lower middle class salary.

    I (jokingly) told her one day, "If my children cost me 500 or more a month in healthcare, I'd have to put them down!" (although financially it probably wouldn't have been feasible for me to provide the care and although I would not have "put them down", they probably would have died from disease progression due to inadequate medical insurance and inability to pay. I always made a lil' too much to get Medicaid, but not near enough to take my kids to the dentist and still afford groceries.

    This is our country, folks. The things I've heard about this have ranged from
    "You should have made wiser education/career choices",
    "You should not have had kids you could not afford", etc.

    So while "Obamacare" is not nearly perfect enough, it is also an extraordinary step in the right direction, as at age 43 I have been hearing about "Healthcare reform" in every political election in my memory. I certainly hope someday America makes that giant, logical, and caring step for it's citizens, but until then – it's great to not have to worry about being pre-existed or meeting my policy's limits. It's great that my children will be able to take my grand-children to the doctor without the same fear, shame and concerns that I dealt with. I WISH we had Canada's care – but in the interim "OC" will do.

  • Anonymous

    Re to "I am Catholic, and I have no problem with ANY employer being required to provide heathcare plans that include birth control and abortions."

    Your line of reasoning is much like my own. However, I was told that I was being a "menu Catholic" merely picking and choosing tenents of the religion that I chose to. I was, strictly speaking, not in adherance with dogma. For this reason, all of the child molestation scandals and other reasons I opted out of the church.
    I think it entirely un-Christian to not take care of those in need of medical care as we have under our present US system. I will only add that a lot of our current problems with resources – medical and otherwise seem to revolve around a world that is over-populated and that birth control may not be such a bad idea. Church stance on that just crazy – rhythm method okay but medically controlled not. Just insane.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14489285682882638305 Devon

    @ anonymous

    Just curious. Do you mind that the biggest chunk of your taxes goes to funding the military, where they murder innocent women and children all in the name of freedom. How about your tax dollars going to fund the death penalty in whatever states it exists. Is that acceptable murder. Even if you think it's a justifiable murder, it's murder. I'm just trying to get a clear fix on your moral compass.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14489285682882638305 Devon

    @ Matt Conlon, well said.

    @ Anonymous
    Just curious, do you take issue with the fact that the largest part of our taxes goes to fund the military. They are responsible for more deaths of innocent women and children than abortions, all in the name of protecting America. Also, where do yo stand on the death penalty. Our taxes fund this too. Is this justifiable murder (as if there is such a thing. I'm just trying to get a clear fix on your moral compass.

    I'm adamantly opposed to both war and the death penalty yet I don't get to have a say as to whether or not my tax dollars go there. I'm pro choice. That doesn't mean pro abortion it means pro choice. No is a choice and one every woman should be allowed to make. If we spent less time on abstinence-only education (and the rhythm method) two things the Catholic and other religious organizations focus solely on, and gave women (and men) ALL the information, possibly there would be a lower rate of abortion. You've been taught to believe, not to think. Give thinking a try, for a change.

  • Anonymous

    As an American living in Canada, I generally concur with the findings in this article. By the way, Canada has no issues with dual citizenship, so as an American, you could move here without fear of having to renounce your U.S. citizenship. Germany is another matter. As a general rule, that country does not permit dual citizenship.

  • Diana

    Anonymous: "I would like to add my opinion that an abortion is not an emergency service like a blood transfusion. If you want an abortion and the hospital nearest you doesn't offer them, you would reasonably have time to travel to another clinic."

    It's painfully clear you are uninformed and uneducated on this subject, and have done no first hand research or reading for yourself, which is quite typical. Clearly, you have never heard of an ectopic pregnancy. From the National Institutes of Health:
    " An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside the womb (uterus). It is a life-threatening condition to the mother. Ectopic pregnancies is a life-threatening condition. The pregnancy cannot continue to birth (term). The developing cells must be removed to save the mother's life.

    You will need emergency medical help if the area of the ectopic pregnancy breaks open (ruptures). Rupture can lead to shock, an emergency condition. Treatment for shock may include:

    Blood transfusion
    Fluids given through a vein
    Keeping warm
    Oxygen
    Raising the legs
    If there is a rupture, surgery (laparotomy) is done to stop blood loss. The most common complication is rupture with internal bleeding that leads to shock."

    Clearly, abortion is indeed an emergency in some situations. Women can and have died as a result of ruptured ectopic pregnancies. A woman with a ruptured or near ruptured ectopic pregnancy who was sent to another hospital due to unavailability of abortion services could very well die as a result of not being immediately treated.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04247173667969535809 Barto

    Don't try to convince them. Convince those who are agnostic, or only slightly sympathetic. That is how you build a movement.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10079585115981856591 AlGalMom

    I'm not sure what God you're talking about–the God I know and love and worship established a system of provision for the poor, the foreigners, the widows, the orphans, and the Levites…..that (governmental!) system of provision consisted of everyone that HAD wealth (which God had bestowed upon them) SHARING that wealth with the vulnerable in their midst. God never made charity a choice–His expectation that we will deal generously with those around us (in response to His incredible generosity towards us) rings throughout every page of the Bible.

    Wealth is not something we should clutch at or claim as an inalienable right. Every penny I have and every physical thing I posses is a gift from God–if I rage against the loss of that wealth I expose myself as a worshipper of mammon, not Jesus. "Do not build up for yourselves riches on earth, where moth and rust destroy and thieves break in and steal. Instead, build up for yourself treasures in heaven, where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."

  • Anonymous

    woah, wait a minute; you mean a sect of a Church runs hospitals?! That is madness! How can the Catholic church be best placed to deal with medical emergencies? That is horrifying!

  • Anonymous

    Wow! I knew health care was not good in the US, but it's way worse than I could ever imagine! No parental leave? At all?! Wow.

    FrenchFry

  • http://twitter.com/martinbarry Martin Barry

    The infographic is misleading about Germany, the actual leave available is over 1 year. There are 14 weeks of leave at 100% of your normal salary (capped at 1800€/month), starting from 6 weeks before the expected date of birth. Then from the date of birth the parents have 14 months to divide between them, but neither is allowed to take more than 12, at 65% of their normal salary (capped at 1800€/month).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13197152143747054968 fUn FoR aLl

    Pakistan has 30 Maternity leaves. which can be availed 3 times during tenor of emplyment and fully paid (Basic plus allowances).

  • Anonymous

    As an American, I'm horrified that we've so allowed the question of universal healthcare to become entangled with the abortion question. Conservatives demand that every pregnant woman give birth to get child, but won't support a policy providing medical care so that she and that child can have a healthy pregnancy. Why? Because they don't want 'their money' going to pay for abortions. The ridiculous thing about this argument is that once you spend a dollar – in taxes or elsewhere – you have no control over what happens to it. If you buy a roll of paper towels at Walmart, they might use the money to pay an employee who might use it to get an abortion. Ultimately, every human should have the ability to select a physician of their own choosing and obtain whatever care they and that physician deem appropriate, without regard to the cost of that care or the moral judgements their neighbors place upon that care.

  • Anonymous

    @ Molly: nothing angers me more than false information. Birth control pills keep the ovaries for releasing an egg. If there's no egg released, the sperm cannot fertilize; conception never took place.

    The states that teach abstinence-only have far greater rates of teen pregnancy than those who teach birth control.
    I'm in full support of programs to educate "unwed mothers" and also reformation of adoption laws. However, these are not an issue of healthcare reform.

    I was raised Catholic and taught in a catholic high school. My insurance paid for birth control; there was never an issue or a problem with it. The new government mandate does not force religious hospitals to perform abortions or provide birth control. It only makes it possible for all citizens to have access to birth control through their insurance, no matter who employs them.

  • Anonymous

    Oh yay. Another ignorant and selfish American who has no clue as to what the healthcare reform bill is for and tries to use religion as the false basis for the refusal to pay for healthcare.

    If you're a true person of faith and of God then you know that you are to "love thy neighbor" as yourself. That means you should be very concerned about the welfare of all Americans, especially those who cannot afford healthcare because they do not have insurance through their provider and they worry day and night on how they'll pay for basic medical care, not to mention what happens when there is a pre-existing condition (and they're denied coverage) or God forbid he or a family member needs hospitalization.

    You use the term "freedom" when in reality what you mean is irresponsibility. If you have four children and you don't have health insurance, if you or your child gets serious and you cannot afford the medical bills, guess who pays? Your fellow taxpayers because you CHOSE to ignore your basic responsibility to insure your family (because you insinuate that you can afford it otherwise). That, IMO is not Christian behavior.

    To clarify for everyone reading my post, I am pro this healthcare reform. It is a disgrace that we consider ourselves a first world nation with such third world healthcare. I take issue with those that use religion and a false understanding of our forefathers' intentions when they mention "freedom." All Americans deserve access to affordable healthcare.

  • Anonymous

    Greed beyond Avarice is the only reason Obama care won't work. In other words, IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY!!! Fear of being forever in debt due to accumulated medical expenses, leads people to waiting until a condition requires more expensive emergency room care or in some cases becomes fatal. All this is because of insurance companies practice of "Programmed Misery for Profit!"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03865504125032771391 Paul Shepley

    Hi Candice : We (Canadians) talk a lot about the reason for having a single system for everyone. The main reason is that it gets everyone involved in making sure that the care is good. If we cut corners we can expect it will eventually affect us directly. We will all be treated the same way.

  • Anonymous

    But imagine if all hospitals were forced to do business like the indigent care you are on. That would include the John Hopkins and Cedar Sinai caliber, not just a general admission hospital that may not be so interested in providing the absolute highest level of care possible. If price was not the dictating factor in the market, rather, the quality of care, we would see these hospitals that move people through like cattle lose patients (customers). These hospitals are profit-motivated, and would continue to be in universal health care. What makes them profits now are paying customers, so they treat those that require financial assistance like trash hoping you will stop using their services. If everyone accesses healthcare on the same model, the paradym shifts and they would have to make everyone who came through the doors want to come back or they will go out of business because there could be a hospital down the road that does it better. Universal care could and should run off the same principles of a market economy–that is what makes the US great, but we can't do things the way we do them now because it doesn't work right when everyone who uses the healthcare system does not start with the same advantages.

  • Anonymous

    And I also understand one of the big complaints from our congressional members is that the new law requires them to have to get their own insurance. So rather than the gold plated insurance we provide for them now just for the honor of having them "represent" us they will have to PAY for whatever coverage they deem fit. No matter, I'm sure they can work a cushy deal with big Pharma and big Insurance so they can get cut rates. After all, they should get special consideration for selling out the people who elected them, from their REAL constituents.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18227774573735486445 Stephen Booth

    Love this blog post. I'm in the UK so for me universal healthcare free at the point of delivery is as natural and obvious as air. It's just there.

    Regarding your graphic showing maternity leave, you have the UK down as 20 weeks. It's actually up to 6 months (26 weeks) at full pay followed by up to 6 months at half pay then up to a year at zero pay. If she can afford to the mother can take up to two years off and her job will still be there. During this time the employer continues to pay national insurance contributions so the mother keeps her rights to related benefits (e.g. old age pension is at two levels, to get the higher level you must have made a certain number of contributions). Many employers now call it parental leave and allow parents to split it between them.

    Very few mothers choose to take the full two years, from what I've seen, but I know quite a few who have taken the full 6 months at full pay then a couple of months at half pay before returning. A few women I know made an agreement with their employer that they would return to work initially part time after 6 months off and the hours they worked were paid on top of the half pay maternity leave, capped off at their full time rate. This phased return worked well for them.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18227774573735486445 Stephen Booth

    Love this blog post. I'm in the UK so for me universal healthcare free at the point of delivery is as natural and obvious as air. It's just there.

    Regarding your graphic showing maternity leave, you have the UK down as 20 weeks. It's actually up to 6 months (26 weeks) at full pay followed by up to 6 months at half pay then up to a year at zero pay. If she can afford to the mother can take up to two years off and her job will still be there. During this time the employer continues to pay national insurance contributions so the mother keeps her rights to related benefits (e.g. old age pension is at two levels, to get the higher level you must have made a certain number of contributions). Many employers now call it parental leave and allow parents to split it between them.

    Very few mothers choose to take the full two years, from what I've seen, but I know quite a few who have taken the full 6 months at full pay then a couple of months at half pay before returning. A few women I know made an agreement with their employer that they would return to work initially part time after 6 months off and the hours they worked were paid on top of the half pay maternity leave, capped off at their full time rate. This phased return worked well for them.

  • Anonymous

    I understand completely and agree to a high degree. I recently posted elsewhere that the gross inequities in income and standard of living in the US have been so manipulated that unless people come to their senses there is trouble ahead. Apparently the 1% is not satisfied with controlling 99% of the wealth, they want to control it all. Dragging the all male clergy of one faith into the frey was a red herring. The Right wing would do anything , say anything to prevent the masses from getting universal health care.Things must change and soon or the peasants will revolt and it will be a horror for all. The Right wing doesn't care about any freedom except the freedom to manipulate the vote and suck every possible cent from the 99%. I was "flamed"elsewhere for mentioning the French Revolution as though I had no knowledge. The simple reality is you can only push people to the wall – then thet WILL turn. As to birth control, etc something over 90% of Catholics take exception and do not follow that teaching. I hope the percentage of them who object to some of the long tradition of improper activities with children is much higher than 90%. Based on that alone the church has lost ALL moral authority and it is one reason people – INCLUDING PRIRSTS – are leaving the church. One ex clergyman told me he could neither continue with the church nor face God. We all pay directly or indirectly for something with which we disagree but in the case if health care not providing it is morally repugnant. Me brother died at 35 from lack of health care. Cardiac problems are treatable but he was poor.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08728966785725757302 Smatt

    If the US government supported universal healthcare, we could finally at the end of the day say that they were good for something.

  • Anonymous

    The people screaming loudest about abortion do not want to help in any way to provide sex education,birth control, assistance to teen moms and their unplanned babies. That would be constructive and helpful. They want the thrill and adrenalin rush of rage, indignation,a focus for their hatred for others and the beliefs of others. They enjoy being judgemental – giving teen mothers black looks. They revel in terrorizing women even seekng birth control and mammograms or Pap smears. In the name of God they harass, abuse and even maim and murder the doctors, nurses and patients at clinics. Stand up and call them what truly are. Give the Beast its rightful name :They are TERRORISTS and should be hunted and tried as such. NO excuses. NOT ONE!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15429280986692780500 usignola

    Me too!

  • Anonymous

    So sorry for you Candice, but what you are on is not at all in any way like the healthcare provided by the rest of the free world to its citizens, not at all!!!

  • Anonymous

    And by the way, these other country's healthcare is not for profit, it is for health … imagine the difference in the care we would get!!!!

  • Anonymous

    The USA culture is entirely tilted towards making sure the rich suffer least and the poor suffer most. It is part and parcel of being able to afford lobbyists who write legislation and get it passed under the guise of an elected official having created it. It is the worst part of living under an oligarchy.

  • Anonymous

    I once had a Canadian "neighbor", or at least he and his wife became neighbors when they were in need of a medical procedure. Their claim was waiting for their "Socialized medicine" to take care of them could be sometimes up to a year! No, they were not young and producing babies, but they were older relatively healthy citizens who, when they needed medical attention, were put on a list.
    For our government to 'mandate' what we can or cannot do with our bodies is frightening! And in the process demands we pay all medical cost for certain others residing in our country; i.e. illegals, the President, the Senate, the Congress, the Muslims, that I can name right now. Why is it the 'working few's' responsibility to care for the "non-working masses"! Understand I do not mean the disabled; simply the lazy who refuse to even try and take care of themselves? I thank God I can at least, like everyone above, give my "opinion" of situations we are facing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08367110404200795421 julie gee

    I have a friend who moved to Canada some years ago and has shared his experiences. When he needed a knee replacement, there was a wait of several weeks. However, when it was discovered he had bladder cancer, he received treatment for that immediately, and the follow-up care was fabulous! Personally, I would be happy to "wait" for care as opposed to never receiving it because I can't afford it.

    I have Multiple Sclerosis and for four years, have received no care because I can't afford it, having lost my coverage years ago through no fault of my own, when I left my job (which was making me very sick) and the company which was supposed to provide my COBRA coverage "didn't receive" my initial premium in time (mailed from less than 100 miles away, two weeks prior to the due date) and left me thereafter with a pre-existing condition and coverage quotes of $800+ which was way out of range for someone unable to work full-time for health reasons! I have been holding on to hope that the Affordable Care Act will help when the Pre-existing part of it kicks in in 2013… (if it doesn't get repealed.) But I don't expect it to be all that "affordable." Perhaps I'll be pleasantly surprised, or perhaps I will be moving northward!

  • Anonymous

    Ultimately, this is the million dollar question:
    "Comparing the two systems, which one better values the life of each person?"

    The answer is not the U.S.

  • Anonymous

    THanks for posting this…. I'm a Yank in the UK, and have lived here for 12 years. I have been very well served by the NHS (family of 4). Good luck USA, but you have too many close-minded, xenophobic, money-grabbing-insurance-industry corporations to make this happen quickly. Thank you President Obama. I will vote for you again with my overseas vote!

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you 100%. I'm an American living in England for 12 years. Love the compassionate NHS system. When I go back yearly to America to visit Mum, I despair of what is going on in reference to the medical system. It's immoral. How ANYONE can think it is a good system –to be enslaved to a medical provider –is crazy!

    Thanks for this blog…. it's well written and true for the UK system as well (pregnancy care is excellent compared to the USA, I know, I had my babies in the USA and see UK mums' care…)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10550783097369541892 mn from the Cariboo

    Am I right in adding this one other benefit to Universal Health Care? No paper work. In the US if you need medical care you are making an insurance claim. Therefore you have other people deciding if it's a legitimate claim or not and it involves paperwork, digging up info, etc., threatening payment on future potential claims if maximum has been reached, etc. Different providers for different health situations, different providers for different service providers? The problem in the US is that the corporations rule the government. If those insurance companies don't make their usual obscene profits there's trouble. Obamacare is probably the best that can be done under these circumstances and it, too, will be dismantled if y'all end up with a Republican gov't. The key is for the government to take control back from the corporations but I don't see how that could ever happen.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10036603641271073257 Elizabeth Higgins

    Thank you for sharing. Even if our views on certain issues don't agree it is nice to see we agree on some things. Very reassuring.

  • M

    I hear you, Candice. My mum is on one of those local sliding-scale health care programs. Her co-worker's mum was on the same program. The co-worker's mother actually DIED before she received help. She had cancer and they caught it too late because the "doctors" drug their feet before getting around to her. By the time she died, within a month of actually finding out she had cancer, her poor family had to endure a phone call a few weeks later saying that she had an appointment for chemo. After she was already dead! This sliding-scale "health care" program terrifies me and to think that my mum is on it scares me even more! I'm fearful that any program put into action in the states could be anything like this program. If such a thing happened people will be dying left and right!

  • M

    Ironica – Your words are genius!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07649565035137262899 Eric Roberts

    Indigent care is a different creature because it is not care for the masses. It's the same reason that the otherwise excellent care the VA gives our veterans can sometimes have issues. It is dealing with a smaller subset of people and a smaller set of resources to back it and thus doesn't have the resources that the same system extended to everyone would have. So when we have a situation like we have today, where more and more vets are going to the VA for healthcare, the VA is straining and spreading its resources thinner and thinner and some services will fall through the cracks. So as a result, I may have to wait 3 months to see the eye doctor since now instead of having a pool of 10 optometrists seeing 500 patients, not they are seeing 5,000. I suspect the same is with the indigent. More and more people are falling through the cracks and losing their insurance and are forced to hit resources like that to attempt to maintain their health. Universal Health Care, like the Canadian system, would eliminate it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08222568367616428469 suetiggers

    wonderful article..thank you to Michael Moore for sharing it..
    this just makes anyone (who thinks) understand how hoodwinked so many Americans have been and are about universal health care..
    It is just amazing to me how easy it appears to have been to fool Americans who really need and would benefit from a one-payer system… the Insurance industry must be laughing all the way to the bank…just makes me sick…as it's clearly kept Americans sick and hurt and losing out on the best care
    This makes me appreciate what a great country Canada is and how under the slick control of big money corporations America is. We fought to be free of the British only to become held captive by our own wealthy corporations… And now they're trying to buy an elections and outspending one side 10-1…

  • Anonymous

    Remember that much of the misinformation Americans are fed about Canadian health care is funded by the health-insurance and pharmaceutical industry. One of the things their publicity arms do is to find the few discontented Canadians and pay them to appear via telephone on conservative talk radio. These people are given talking points to emphasize and told which crucial little details to deliberately leave out. … Anyway, thanks for the great article. The Denver Post recently ran a guest column also debunking many myths about Canadian health care, and I commend it to you. http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_12523427

  • Anonymous

    My wife was born in Canada with a heart defect. She is self-employed. She had open heart surgery in Canada in a top heart hospital at a time of year that was convenient to her work schedule. Here's what it cost us: one bottle of Motrin, one bottle of Tylenol, one big fluffy pillow to make sleeping easier. $50-. Seven hours of open heart surgery, 5 day round the clock hospital care, internationally renowned surgeon…FIFTY DOLLARS! My father is a doctor in Canada who did some of his residency in the States, had many offers from American hospitals, but did not want to work in a system that had all the skills, all the equipment, and yet turned people away from the best health care he knew how to deliver because of lack of money or luck of the draw at birth. And yet, when we visit the states, people always ask us how we like our health care, convinced that government, in the words of one man, "destroys people". Our answer used to be a polite, Canadian mumble. Now when we visit the U.S., we advocate universal health care to anyone who will listen. We do not by any means have a perfect system, but I would glady wish all the imperfections of universal healthcare on every American.

  • Anonymous

    We must take back our government here in the U.S. We elect people who then get into bed with big business in order to fund their re-election? Insane. Term limits, lobbying bans, etc. are needed, as well as radical cultural changes. Until we decide to take back our government, we have what we deserve.

  • Anonymous

    No, being a CONSERVATIVE doesn't make you an idiot. Something else does that. "I'm on indigent care, it's the same thing and it sucks." Yeah no. Not that same thing at all. Universal health care works fine in the states, at no soaring costs. It's only available to certain people though. It's called medicare. Medicare has it's problems. Mainly because it doesn't cover everyone. Educate yourself. You're not an idiot because you are conservative. You're conservative because you are an idiot. Let me guess. Evolution is just a theory, amirite?

  • Anonymous

    Me and my wife used this benefit with great appreciation. I was able to care for my first child and helped my wife recover from the delivery. She twisted her pelvic during delivery that she has to go therapy after. Canada, please don't changed your system. Woh hooh!

  • Anonymous

    Just a correction about eye care. It's covered if you have a medical condition and checkups yearly for seniors . I think There's also a free checkup interval for adults and children, too.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02330741011715484363 houser

    As long as heath care is a profit center for the entire drug and insurance system, it will never measure up to the rest of the world. Operation to remove fibroid blocking conception: France-$2500 USA-$25,000. Guess which health system is rated best-in-the-world? No, not your congressman's claim.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16300631854777260603 Fiddler Doc

    I don't mean to be unkind, Anonymous, but you are a complete idiot!

  • THENGETOUT

    Megan –

    It's easy to move "WHEREVER"! Here's what you do:

    1. Take a Greyhound Bus to Miami

    2. Buy a door and some water cooler bottles and tie them together

    3. Float across the gulf to Cuba

    They have Universal Healthcare AND it's not a "corporate ass-kissing country"!

    Your Pal,

    Fidel Castro

  • Anonymous

    Living in the UK we look at the US and cannot believe what we hear about the resistenace to Universal Healthcare. Quite frankly we see you as idiots – I don't mean to insult you but you fight against what most of the world is fighting for. I have american friends living here longterm who use our NHS and are impressed.

    I'm recovering from cancer, It was removed 2 years ago by a major operation , I lost my job because of the diagnosis (only been there a few weeks), then chemo , then a hernia operation and then another operation this month to redo a bit of reconstructive surgery after the removal of half my liver. Oh and 6 months before the cancer I had an operation on my back for a slipped disk.

    Total cost I've had to pay – £0 (thats a big zero), the only insurance claim I had to make was the one on my life insurance critical illness which was mine to keep.

    I'm back at full time work, I pay my taxes, I'm an active productive member of society and I still have my house, my family were assured of my care and could concentrate on me and my care when I needed it without worrying about money. I have benefited and society has benefited.

    So open your eyes, stop listening to the ultra rich and big corporations and work out what is best for You The People

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04894012303210613148 Tom

    Funny, with a newborn in the house, I'd never call it a month "off".

    At least a day job is between 8-12 hours a day, while a newborn is 16-24 :-).

    On the other hand, I believe parental leave for fathers is very important. If nothing else, it makes it clear that the person working *outside* the house has the far easier job.

  • http://streamsofopinions.blogspot.com/ Mark

    I am an American, and I value choice. Or at least, REAL choice, not the choices that are forced upon us on an almost daily basis.

    The profit motive is omniscient. Nothing is done unless a profit can be made from it. This country is Adam Smith gone wild. Even his "invisible hand", the government, is neutered by corporate contributions to candidates' campaign coffers. This is made even worse since the Citizens United decision. Politicians who choose to be elected or reelected bend over backwards to their corporate sponsors, because if they don't, they are jobless. Many go to work as lobbyists for the same corporate entities when their political careers are done.

    How does this relate to health care? Well, the health care "industry" is one-sixth of the economy. Think about that for a second. One-sixth of the largest economy in the world is tied to health care. That's a lot of money. So, right now, we have a "system" being run by insurance companies, whose only motive is the bottom line, and who only have to answer to shareholders. In turn, they pay some of their enormous profits to lobbyists before Congress, and make direct contributions to politicians. Now they're also doing it through Super Political Action Committees, where they can be more anonymous to the general public, but not to the politicians themselves.

    This means that Americans, who currently receive insurance through their employers (mostly) are never in charge of their health care decisions, despite what many erroneously think. You can choose your employer (although with 8% unemployment, beggars can't really be choosers) and what health care plan(s) they provide, you can choose which general practitioner you will visit (within your chosen health maintenance organization), but don't for a minute think you have the ultimate choice on how much you pay or what treatment you receive. THAT choice will be made for you…by an accountant with your insurance provider.

    So, what "freedoms" do Americans lose with Universal Health Care? I guess the freedom to go bankrupt because of your health care costs? You don't make your own decisions now. And as for the religious argument (abortion/birth control, etc), that is a red herring. That argument is only being used by politicians to come up with an excuse to pander to the corporate health care entities that pull their strings. And the sheep eat it up. Nobody would be forced to have an abortion, or to receive birth control. Religious objections are such a specious argument anyway. In this case, WWJD?

    The only way that health care will TRULY be changed, so that the profit motive is removed, is by a true movement from the ground up. Neither party will do it, tied as they are to corporate interests. This movement will have to be like Occupy Wall Street, but organized. If such a movement doesn’t happen, I may be forced to choose to leave a country that I love and go to one just a little farther north.

  • Anonymous

    You can always tell a conservative, but you cannot tell them much! Old bad joke, I know. The problem in the USA is just that. When we had the chance to overwhelm them at the polls in 2010, 40 million stayed home. Till we get together with the independents and simply make the conservative movement marginal, nothing will change in this country. I am glad this particular person saw for herself and could reason it out. Their minds will not get them there on facts alone. Read about the neurology involved, and you will stop wasting your breath and become political with a goal that can be achieved some day. We keep falsely thinking they are necessary to keep us from spending too much. There are plenty of Dems that want the budget to balance…I believe Mr. Clinton did just that.

  • Shari

    Guys, don't lose hope. It can happen here; it is happening here. Your military already has it and has had it for years, and, guess what? It works! Check out Tri-care for specifics.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous 12:52 is full of you know what. In contrast, "Pettycoat Philosopher"'s got it right. That a religious person or organization operates or sponsors a secular activity does not turn that activity into something "religious," or makes that activity subject to the 1st Amendment "free exercise" clause. The California Supreme Court recognized this in a case where a Catholic landlady refused to rent an apartment to an unmarried heterosexual couple. She claimed that to do so would force her to facilitate unmarried cohabitation, which according to her religious beliefs, is a sin. The couple sued the landlady under California's civil rights act, which bars discrimination on the basis of, among other things, marital status. The Cal. Supreme Court held for the couple, reasoning that since renting apartments is inherently secular, the landlady is bound by the state's civil rights act to the same extent as all other persons engaging in the same business.

    The reasoning applies no less to a hospital, for example. Even though a Catholic, or any other religious organization may own and operate the institution, running a hospital is an inherently secular activity, which makes that hospital subject to all the laws governing that activity, among which are laws governing the type of health insurance the organization must provide its employees.

    That the discussion was allowed to be hijacked by extremist, right wing religious nutters is a reflection of the weakness and cowardice of our current president, not the merit of the position of persons like Anonymous 12:52.

  • Anonymous

    Good for you. You decided that looking after your fellow humans was not so bad after all, and all it took was having your own health care costs completely paid for. What an epiphany!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339688090806332864 Unknown

    violate their consciences: That's how I feel about war and the death penalty. I wish my taxes would not be used for it. I wont even work for a defense contractor.

  • http://facebook.com/meggy81 Megan

    I'm an American expat just like the author of this article. I used the US system and had to go by which doctors were taking my insurance. Here in Canada I can go to which ever doctor and clinic I wish.

    I was lucky that when I lived in New York my state coveres Maternity leave under the disability leave act and I was guaranteed my job back after my 8 weeks off. Many women in the US don't have that and it's sad.

    What I really want to know from some people in the US is why is it your business what I do with my body, but it's not your business to pay into a system so everyone can have health care?

  • Anonymous

    The most important issue is the grip that major Insurance has on the American system. It's a money and power issue, and those who have the money and power will not cede it without major social upheaval, if not war. Obamacare is a milquetoast compromise that actually hands Insurance Companies a de-facto tax (mandate upon each citizen) payable to a private company. The Supreme Court got it wrong — the government may levy taxes, but those taxes have never under any Constitutional precedent been handed to a private industry, regulated or not. The best hope is that Obamacare is the stepping-stone to Universal Health Care, which is the best answer to our endless costs in supporting both the insurance industry and the health care industries. Those who want additional "choice" can be the ones to support the private insurance companies.

  • Anonymous

    Slow care is still way better than NO care.

  • Anonymous

    I'm always puzzled when people want to "make their own choices" about health care. The only people qualified to do that are doctors, and they aren't qualified to make decisions out of their specialties (heart docs know little about the best cancer treatments, pediatricians don't know much about geriatrics). Do you demand to direct firefighters, cops, chefs, sanitation workers, nurses, tuba players, computer programmers, auto mechanics, engineers, etc. on how to best do their work? You don't know enough to make a good choice in any of those fields (unless you are one). So why demand "choice" about health care?

  • Anonymous

    Those jars at the checkout sadly say it all.

  • Anonymous

    @ AnonymousJuly 9, 2012 11:40 AM
    "I am not in favor of Universal Health Care on principle. it all sounds so good, but you are giving your freedom of choice completely away. The government becomes your provider, not God. You become dependent on the government and worship it instead of God."

    If China decides to invade the U.S. with soldiers, tanks, planes, and bombs, will you be relying on your wit and charm to survive, or the U.S. Military? Are you not dependent on them for domestic security already? Do we not depend on them for national infrastructure such as interstate highways, used to bring our goods to us, such as groceries? Relying on the government for something is a far cry from worship of them, which I think you can plainly see isn't the case by how much backlash is generated every time a new bill appears.

    "I don't think Obama care is the solution. Government taking away from some to give to others is not charity is stealing. you can't force charity on people. God doesn't do it, why should government or anyone do it??"

    Lets see if you say that once you start collecting social security checks. Or take a look at what your tax rate would end up being if not for any tax subsidization in your state, county, or town. (I.E. Deleware) Also, God does do it. God sent his Son for His life to be taken to pay for YOUR sins and free you from eternal damnation. Sounds a lot like charity to me.

    "on the surface, UHC looks good, but it's a web of deceit."

    I think you may be confused on the definition of deceit. Or perhaps you're not, and are confused on the actual reality and ramifications of UHC by which you're lead to the conclusion you're being misled. Either way, it isn't a web of anything. It's a document. It's written, on paper, in English.

    "PS I don't have insurance and I pay cash for all my health care. I have 4 children."

    You are either rich, or accepting far less treatment than you would otherwise get with UHC. "Oh I don't need to have that done…" is all well and good until it isn't, and when it isn't, you're dead. Case in point, an Uncle of mine felt he did not need a colonoscopy. By the time he realized something was wrong and actually went to the doctor, it was too late. He was diagnosed with colon cancer, and despite their best efforts to treat it, he passed away less than six months later. Had he went to the doctor when he should have originally, he would still be here with his family today. Listen ~ your body isn't like the family car. Ignoring the squeaky brakes or pushing off an oil change for a few miles might be fine for your ol' beater, but when it comes to your health ~ it can be fatal.

  • Anonymous

    I've had this debate with Americans time and time again and they just don't get it. They have been brainwashed on two levels. Firstly that everything America does is right because god blesses them and has made them richer and more powerful than other countries (what they don't factor in, is that this is at the expense or their most vulnerable citizens. Also that they are no longer the richest country in the world and are fast losing their status as the most powerful). Secondly, Americans fear anything that even slightly resembles (even in the most minute way), the dreaded communism! They sprout all of this stuff about their constitutional rights being violated without ever thinking about what they are actually saying…or if indeed their rights are actually being violated. I have now accepted that this process is going to be a long one for America because it is considered by some to be counter-cultural and Americans fear anything that goes against the American way, they don’t take kindly to following other countries, only leading. So now I just shake my head and thank my lucky stars I don't live there. American's honestly believe that they are the envy of the world…and it just isn't true.

  • Anonymous

    To Jason Dick, where on earth did you get that load of crap? Obviously you are either a GP or a physio, as they are usually the only ones bagging chiro. Chiro has been proven time and time again to be a serious form of medicine and healing, helping so many ailments as do defy belief. Look at the effects on babies who've had traumatic births (you try being pulled from your head and neck by a pair of forcepts and tell me it doesn't cause damage). By the way, your 'Science Based Medicine' site is bullshit, and rejected by MANY health care professionals around the world as a bogus group spouting innacurate, and at time, dangerous information.

  • Anonymous

    Here in the U.S. – I don't have health insurance and I don't burn dollar bills either. I spend my money on organic food, a homeopath, and occasionally other alternative healers. HOWEVER when I get on Medicare next year, I'll be happy to have a checkup with a regular MD. There are several things I just don't do, most of them involving risk of broken bones.
    So, even though it only includes conventional medicine, I am strongly in favor of universal coverage. The only reason it can't work in the U.S. is the obscene profits demanded by the "health" industry executives, and the government's obedience to them.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous, did you say that having a low income will qualify me for medicaid even if I own a house or have savings? Boy, would that be nice! I was planning to just plain refuse.

  • Anonymous

    Sandra, thank you for posting that. My sister told me what she had to pay for her cancer surgery (after insurance) and it was unthinkable. I used to wonder about those fundraisers for people with medical issues – now I know.

  • Anonymous

    Can you please explain to me how you think choice in health care is taken away from you under a universal health care system? Medical care is not forced on you in any way. You are given options and you choose which one you prefer, or choose none at all. Your response really just appears to be the repetition of dogma rather than being based on your own research.

  • Anonymous

    I guess there are still a few dinosaurs around. (Jason) Thinking chiropractic is quackery? The term "quack" comes from the "quicksilver" (mercury) that allopaths used to feed to their patients in large quantities. They finally stopped and began to imitate the homeopaths with small doses – thus doing less damage to their patients.

  • Anonymous

    I grew up in the UK, left at 22, and have been a Canuck now for nearly 50 years. I'm non-religious… politically centre-right… and, according to my last (free) head-to-toe check-up, disgustingly healthy. And yet, if I lived south of the border, there's a high probability that I would be a cripple, unable to afford the two total-hip-replacement ops necessitated by injury-induced arthritis.

    In my working years, I never gave a second thought about paying my mandatory health-care premiums, or where the money was going. I simply had peace-of-mind that if I or my kids (I was a single dad of 2) ever had serious medical needs, the system would be there. As, indeed, it was when my turn came. I had the ops 7 and 9 years ago. On each occasion, I waited between 3 to 4 weeks to see the specialist, and then 2 and 3 months respectively for the ops. (Oh… and I live in precisely the geo/demographic area where a previous poster alleged insurmountable difficulties and protracted waits.) Thanks to our excellent single-payer system, my total expense was $40 for a pair of crutches during rehab.

    Like most if not all Canadian/European/Australian respondents to this blog, I am utterly at a loss to understand the rabid Right's intransigence regarding UHC. The nonsensical talking points about "invasion of privacy", "loss of freedom", "removal of choice", etc, etc, are so blatantly uninformed, so perversely wrong that the observer is left to wonder if a significant segment of the American populace are unable to think coherently… unable to set aside a blinkered dogma-ridden view of the world and of themselves.

    I'd like to think I'll live long enough to see the United States live up to its potential for true greatness (which has nothing at all to do with "Biggest… Best… #1… Yu-Ess-Ay); but, tragically, the past decade inspires little hope. The resistance to a civilized system for health-care provision is just one of many indicators that the braying mob of Teabillies, dominionists, theocrats, corporatists and self-serving politicos will continue to hold sway, will continue to drag America down to its most conscienceless impulses until the silent majority are so sickened and shamed that they find the political courage to drain the swamp.

  • Anonymous

    U.S. health care is about obscene CEO profits. Look up Forbes Magazine (a conservative voice) and look up executive pay by industry. The health care industry has some of the highest CEO incomes – $15-25 million/year is not unusual. THAT is why we're paying so much. In addition to not having preventive care, of course.

  • Anonymous

    I know an American who was living in Japan, married a Japanese woman, and had a stroke. They'd like to move back to the U.S. but can't afford it, because Japan also has universal free health care.

  • Linda

    I'm an Australian. We have both universal health care AND a private system. I simply can't understand why anybody would stand against universal health care. It quadruples your choices and gicves you more freedom than you could ever imagine. Like the Canadians, there can be a waiting list. Paying your own way is always an option. Ooops, another option, there are so many I'm forgetting some. What's not to like?

  • Anonymous

    I had a serious car accident, the ambulance showed up, and I let them take my blood pressure (ok) but refused to go to the hospital. I was in pain for 2 1/2 weeks, and was just thinking about how chronic pain begins like this when the pain cut way back.
    I did, however, go to an alternative practitioner ("Ortho-Bionomy") for four sessions over the course of a month, and was back to normal after the fourth. I'm absolutely certain that allopathic medicine couldn't have accomplished that.
    And this is why I don't pay $3-500/month for health insurance, even though it would be nice as a backup if it were free.

  • Anonymous

    ..do they deserve it? There is so much ignorance around this issue in the US, I don't know if ‘deserve’ is the right word. They currently have a president who is trying to give them a universal health care system (a basic right in most developed countries), and you have rich people telling them that it is all communist crap and they should reject it. So like lemmings they believe it rather than question it and do their own research. Such passivity is not 'deserving' of anything better. I hope they get it though, because I care about my fellow man/woman/child.

  • Anonymous

    I have a mixed response, but want to sympathize with Beth. When I look at what it would cost me to have health insurance, I think of all the people eating sugar, sitting in front of TV, and so forth. But I also think of people with cancer from environmental factors at work, and the fact that sugar is in EVERYTHING, and government subsidies for the worst foods, and the lies that GMOs are good for you and organic food isn't better. and so forth. The government supports the industries that are making money by selling us bad food, and the industries that are making money by selling us medicines and treatments that don't really help.

    Interlude: Are you aware that there are several companies making cancer-causing chemicals that also make cancer treatment equipment and medications? They are making money on both ends. And they donate to the American Cancer Society – so don't expect ACS to tell you the truth about cancer causes. Cancer is good for business, it helps the economy, so it's here to stay. We have lots of cancer treatments, but the death rate has stayed the same – more people get sick, some of them get well, net death rate no change. Not better, I say.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. For me, having UHC would give me the option to see a doctor without exhausting all my savings. That's an increase in freedom. I haven't seen an MD in a decade. (I've had a few health challenges – environmental illness for one – but MDs have nothing to offer there. Don't worry, it's much better now.)

  • Anonymous

    It would take days for me to read all the comments, but they are very interesting! Mostly catholics in disagreement with EACH OTHER! I wanted to add that I have to pay taxes to support wars that I don't agree with, it's part of being a citizen. If AHC upsets you THAT much, then just choose another country! The definition of freedom is that you can LEAVE, unlike USSR Siberia.
    AHC limits insurance companies to NO MORE than a 20% profit and they will pay unlimited bribes to defeat AHC. Look beyond the obvious.
    Why does a shoe store owned and run by catholics need to deny the abortion of a seriously deformed baby to a couple who can't afford to pay for the medical care (a heart transplant in the case I think of). Also, what if the fetus is already dead?

  • Anonymous

    I was raised Catholic and I am now Episcopalian.

    This Sunday I heard a wonderful sermon from a woman priest who used a quote that went something like, "For most of its history church theology and policy has been decided by middle-aged and elderly, male celebates talking to each other."

    Explains a lot.

  • Anonymous

    I am an American, but during the health care debate I studied other countries health care systems and none of them emerged full blown in their current states. They all grew from smaller beginnings. The Canadian system grew province by province and benefit by benefit. All systems start somewhere and that is what the ACA is, a start.

  • Anonymous

    I really enjoyed reading this!! Great post!

  • Anonymous

    I think that another reason for lower rate of abortions is the sexual education. People need to be aware of the use of contraceptives.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13023002590180202868 Shannon

    What I'm curious (and slightly worried about) is the waiting period for certain things under universal health care. Example: Eight years ago, my Mom suddenly developed acute symptoms relating to limited brain function in a certain area of her brain (she could no longer speak and her reasoning and logic mechanisms decreased). She was able to get an MRI within hours to determine that she had a spontaneous brain bleed as the result of a cavernous angioma in the left frontal lobe of her brain. She was able to start treatment immediately, which probably saved her life. Similarly, just a year ago, my Dad went to the ER for massive abdominal pain. He got a CAT scan within hours to determine that he had a blood clot in a major abdominal vein that was blocking blood to his intestines. He had emergency surgery that evening. In both cases, promptness of care was essential.

    Now, my parents do have excellent coverage, so I am aware that this is not the same case for many Americans in these circumstances. What I would be concerned about with universal healthcare is whether or not such life-saving promptness is possible. One always hears about the lack of medical equipment (MRI machines, etc) in a country with universal healthcare as opposed to the US. I don't know if this is true or not, or whether it is even true that cases such as my parents would have been handled differently. So I'm putting it up for a question to those who live in countries with universal healthcare as to whether or not you think they would have received the same treatment in such an efficient manner.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/14886046607470111570 John

    Just how many babies is this woman going to push out? Crap! Four so far.

    Children require quite a lot of attention. Perhaps this person is a super-someone. One was all my wife and I could handle.

  • Anonymous

    I am a lapsed Catholic who is anti-war. I paid the highest income taxes I have ever paid and will pay during the height of two wars which I strenuously opposed. Yes, it bothered me to know that my money went toward killing and maiming the born of another nation, but I also know I'm part of a society and the money had to go into the big pot that feeds all of my society's interests, even if I don't agree with some. And hopefully sometime there won't be a war that I pay for.
    I think this is a valid comparison to a Catholic's objection to paying for health insurance that provides services for others he/she doesn't agree with.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16800553027298770845 Casey Ernst

    Megan, you don't have to give up your U.S. citizenship to become a Canadian citizen. I've looked into it myself. Some countries, like Germany, require you to officially renounce your previous citizenship with a letter to the U.S. government. Canada, requires no such thing. All you need to do is say the oath to the Queen, and possibly have lived in Canada for some time. The important thing is just find a job in Canada, then pick up and leave.

  • Anonymous

    There is one thing that continually strikes me when digging into the endless debates about US health care, reading blogs, watching documentaries, reading gov reports, the news, etc. It seems that many (most?) people who are the most-deadest-againstes universal health care are the ones who need it the most. Unfortunately these folks are fed such powerful rhetoric that they cannot see that they're arguing against their best interest and their family's.

    A Canadian Registered Nurse from Ontario.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16800553027298770845 Casey Ernst

    Megan, it is so much easier to move to Canada and become a citizen than you think. Other countries, such as Germany, require you to officially renounce your previous citizenship with a letter to your government. However, Canada requires no such thing. That great country only requires that you have lived there for some time and that you say an oath to the Queen. I've looked into this fairly extensively myself. The big thing is finding employment and residence, then you can just pick up and leave.

  • Anonymous

    You seem to be confused about how universal health care infringes upon your personal freedom. It's really not the lack of choice that's the real issue, it's the fact that the government steals from certain individuals in order to provide for others. Private property is integral to personal freedom and in such a system you have no private property.

  • Registered Nurse

    Actually, despite the apparent logic, user fees would not help. This is a myth that was "busted" long ago – have a look at this:

    http://www.chsrf.ca/publicationsandresources/Mythbusters/ArticleView/01-09-01/519f623f-b805-4550-93a5-648e60b8aad3.aspx

  • Damian M.

    What holy personal choice, Anonymous? Medical care is not the personal choice you're convinced it is. Under the present model, it is a "choice" made up of what your GP/specialist/nurse practitioner tells you you should get, what your insurance company tells you they'll reimburse (nope, we're not paying for this) and in many cases what your employer tells you (Post-op recovery time? If you don't get back to work within 3 days, you're fired). How's that for choice and so-called freedom?

    The argument of personal choice rests on some serious bad faith.

  • twin daddy

    I'm a Canadian and had twins last year. Thanks to our healthcare system, my wife was able to get monthly checkups for her own health at a gyno clinic of her choice. We chose the one with the best reputation and proximity to our residence. Also, we had monthly ultrasounds to make sure that the babies were progressing normally, as having twins is considered a high risk pregnancy. Before the kids were born, my wife had 15 weeks off paid prior to the 12mth mat/pat which is also covered. So we had roughly 9 ultrasounds at childrens hospital, over 10 health checks for mom, and the only fee out of pocket was parking costs. Also my son was born with a condition called torticolis which is common in twin births. He was able to see a pediatrician and tort specialist within the first months of his life. He now goes to see the vocational rehab specialist to help with his condition on a monthly basis. If we didn't have UHC, I wonder what this would've cost me?

  • Cascadia North

    > Here, you never heard of parents joining the army just so their child's "pre-existing" health care needs could be covered.

    As a Canadian, this sentence was one of the most horrifying things I have ever read. No-one should ever have to risk their life just so that their child can have a decent standard of living. Ever.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17928130492581315389 Katherine

    THANK YOU for writing this post. I am a Canadian living in the US for 6 years now and I am constantly shaking my head – it is so hard to understand why people actively support things that deny themselves quality of life and how twisted some of the arguments are. Of course, as an outsider, my comments are often not taken seriously (I just don't 'get it', etc.) despite the fact that I have given birth here (with a midwife, by the way), and have had four surgeries (including an emergency, life-saving surgery) all here in the US. This article made me so happy for you in your journey and I continue to be so sad for the citizens of the US who, in so many ways, don't understand what true freedom feels like. I wish there were a simpler way to help others see what you have seen through your experiences, but sometimes living in a system that directly challenges your paradigms every day is the only way to understand the deeper connections. Again, thank you. And congratulations!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07243128624851544423 Citizen Journalist

    Melissa,

    An interesting post. However the devil is in the details. The health care payment system in Canada and other western countries that are single payer, is actually not sustainable over the long term. A detailed research and review of the Canadian system has come out, showing that eventually health care spending will overwhelm and crowd out all other spending.

    Here is the report: http://www.fraserinstitute.org/uploadedFiles/fraser-ca/Content/research-news/research/publications/canadas-medicare-bubble.pdf

    The US Medicare and Medicaid system is also on this trend, and will take up 100% of yearly tax revenues by 2025, according to the Medicare board. CBO has also backed up this accounting.

    I will also note that the US is also very diverse when it comes to it's population, which makes it difficult to compare to other countries. Government policies also make a difference in what is promoted, or mandated, than what is optional. The Canadian system seems to have a philosophy of making it optional, which is good, so people don't feel like they have to use resources.

    For example, you were correct that Catholic hospitals in Canada are not forced to do any services that are contrary to the Churches beliefs. We are not so fortunate in the US with the PPACA, as it mandates services for all health care providers no matter what.

    I did notice the graphic with the different countries and parental leave that is paid. The problem, is that nearly all of those countries are either going broke, are broke, or have extremely high taxes with barely growing economies. Only Canada, who has been enjoying a rather conservative government for almost a decade, has been able to reform much of it's government for the better, with less government social programs. The US government would do well to follow this, because it is the rationing in government health programs that are the main driver for health care costs going up so much.

    I leave you with the following question: If we all know that a private business monopoly is a bad thing because it takes away choice and competition, why would a government monopoly be a good thing?

  • Anita

    In the US a single parent in his 50's has an autistic daughter who is 12 years old and unable to care for herself. The parent is not in good health. He worries constantly about how his daughter will be lovingly cared for when he dies as there is no family to help him. Should they move to Canada?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16876225086728929936 Kiwi-HeffeQue

    Related to this post:

    "Caleb Medley, Uninsured Aurora Shooting Victim, May Face $2 Million In Medical Costs (VIDEO)"

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/24/caleb-medley-health-insurance_n_1699092.html

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16310514726517294360 john

    This is not the status quo in Canada. My family and I have been able to see specialist and have treatment and surgery much sooner than my American cousins can.

    The problem with health care in Ontario is that Ontario elected Mike Harris, who brought in a bunch Reagan trained Americans to Americanize Ontario and to destroy the Ontario health care system.

    Let no one who voted for Mike Harris ever complain about Ontario Health care, because by voting for Mike Harris, any deficiencies in Ontario health care are completely your fault.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16310514726517294360 john

    In Canada, we taxpayers are shareholders in the government and the health care system, not it's slaves or even customers.

    We, Canadian voters use our vote as managers of the government and the health care system, not it's slaves or even customers.

    Americans are nothing more than, at best, customers, and at worst, slaves to American insurance-run health care.

    Virtually no Canadian would touch American insurance-run health care with a ten foot pole.

    The easiest way to get elected in Canada is if you convince voters that YOU OPPONENT wants American style insurance run health care.

    Any Canadian politician branded with wanting American style anything, and especially American style insurance run health care, is politically dead.

  • Anonymous

    This is a bunch of propaganda crap .. your all so brain dead you do not realize that mandated anything is bringing you into a world system of global control and you will all be first in line to get your RFID chips i guess.. if we do not like the new world order what will all you liberal social nationalist do with the rest of us who refuse to obey? put us in prison or worse? there is no freedom in forcing anything down the throats of any people .. END THE FED and the IMF.. and the evil Rockafella MD system .. these people want you vaccinated and dummied down on there meds and love to keep you sick so they can "treat you".. don't any of you get it? They do not care about you! They intend on depopulating the planet bt 90% by any and all means necessary!! There is a better way.. and being in an evil money system that is only "fair" to drones who obey is slavery and you do not even know your slaves and will be the drones in the 'BRAVE NEW WORLD' YOUR IGNORANCE MAKES ME SICK..

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16310514726517294360 john

    My mother had bypass surgery in Halifax NS within 3 hours of hitting the ER doors with a first incidence of chest pain which revealed a 98% obstruction of two coronary arteries. I dare any American to say they could do better.

    The vast majority of Canadians get better and faster treatment and surgery than the vast majority of Americans do, and Canada has more medical research per capita than the United States does.

    In fact, most American stem cell researchers are now working in Canada because Canada has stem cell research, and those American politicians who know so much about science, have shut down stem cell research in the United States. The whole world is ahead of the United States in most research, but especially stem cell research.

  • Anonymous

    As a Canadian, if I need non-emergency care, I don't even need to book an appointment with a GP – there are free walk-in clinics all over the city I'm in. I find that these work quite nicely for most minor issues, and I can go anytime without worrying about taking time off of work. This helps to keep ER wait times down as well, since people who only need a couple stitches or the like have a good alternative option.

  • Anonymous

    Canadians are free to go to another country to see a specialist if they have the money you've apparently paid, so I'm having a bit of a tough time following your argument.

  • http://kirstyhulm.wordpress.com/ kirstyhulm

    Absolutely fantastic article articulating these points.

    I live in Australia (where we have universal health coverage), but I travel to the US each year, sometimes for 5 months at a time.

    I absolutely love it there so much and all my friends are always begging me to me- they can't understand why I won't. I'll tell you the reason I won't is because I am afraid of getting sick there. I am an accident prone and sickly adult, and I sometimes need to go to the doctor every week- I have permanent back injuries from traffic accidents which needs regular treatment. If I lived in the US, I would be on the streets or in constant pain.

    I can get the treatment I need here without having to worry. It absolutely breaks my heart hearing my friends stories in the US about times they have had to stitch up their own wounds, leave bones broken to heal wrong or just go without treatment full stop. Another friend who was very badly hurt in an car accident is now in debt for the rest of his life- a debt he will never ever be able to pay off.

    When I visit the States, the amount of mentally ill and destitute crippled people I see absolutely appalls me. Sometimes I genuinely feel like I'm walking around in a third world country, and the gap between social classes in what you can afford in medical, mental and dental treatment is shockingly obvious.

    I truly hope for your sake you get universal healthcare and start to change the lives of the fractured people living there. It will change not only the US, but the rest of the world too- you have a large population who control a disproportionately HUGE amount of the entire Earth's cultural output- we all consume what you make. A healthier nation will make healthier choices in all other area- political, religious, cultural…everything will change.

  • Anonymous

    I'm not an expert on American politics, or even Canadian ones (I'm Canadian living in Canada) but it does seem that 'fear mongering' controls much of the American decision making. I scratched my head and thought 'whaaaattt?' when George Bush campaigned that if you were anti-war (in Iraq) you were anti-American. Maybe I missed the memo that said Americans were pro-wars. Regardless, it's the same itch that makes me wonder how anyone can argue against a universal health care system. The current system clearly only profits the insurance providers and possibly the doctors themselves. If what you have is only working for a select few, then chances are it is a good time to implement change. 'Obamacare' still falls far short of the systems in place in most western countries, but it is a start. I have to wonder, what happened to America? It was once a proud country that was a leader in almost everything it set its hand to. If the citizens of a country a not healthy, they are never going to be able to overcome personal or national crisis. If that's the case, America is in trouble indeed. Um, forgive this one, but maybe the answer to the health care crisis in the US is to have more guns? If all else fails, the conservatives can simply shoot the sick and the illegal immigrants they go on and on and on about…

  • Anonymous

    Being from Denmark. Yes, we treat people well in the health care system, regardless of 'who's fault' it is. It is widely recognized that lung cancer can arise from other causes than smoking, and around 20pct of people getting diabetes 2, gets it from genetics alone, not livestyle. In Denmark babies prematurely born survive from 24 weeks. Not always, but that's the case everywhere.. aND YES, dialysis is free, so is cancer treatment. You have to pay for your dentist, and if it's your second child, infertility treatment (first treatment is free, up till 7 tries) In Denmark, if you give premature birth, you're on extended maternerty leave, and once you leave the hospital, you get your real maternerty leave (at least 14 weeks and then 32 weeks to divide between you and hubby). I wish (being Danish) that smoking, alcohol, white bread/sugar/rice/ candy etc was a LOT more expeniseve, and veggies/fresh fruit a lot cheaper – in my opinion the Danish govt has failed SO badly here, trying to PREVENT people from getting livestyle diseases. Problem is, you cannot define a lifestyle disease. Some people will get diabetes 2, or lung cancer, or heart diseases, even though they excercise, eat healthily, etc, while others can be obese and smoke 100 a day without anything happening. I'd like to see people making poor choices paying (so that living a healthy live is a lot cheaper) not the people who are so unfortunat to get sick…The Danish govt is SO WAY BEHIND IN THIS
    We moved here from Dk a year ago and I'm so appalled at the americans poor lifestyle. Seriously, people let their kids eat sugar and crappy food all the time (not everyone but it seems to be the norm) and we had to choose healthcare provider. More stress? Bah. In Denmark, when not urgent, we might had to wait up till 2 months. But hey, when it's not urgent, who CARES?? Everytime I've had a sick child, I've been able to see the doc the SAME DAY. When giving birth, I haven't been forced to be admitted from the labour starts (as I've heard of here) but have been able to come in my own due time;-) Pun inteded… My choices, in Denmark, have been better then here. No one tried to force my kids to eat sugar, there. High fructose corn syrup and hormones in food? Forbidden. Who'd want anything else??

  • Anonymous

    I'm flabbergasted. Are you stupid or just ignorant?

  • Anonymous

    That's what I did! I moved… First to Poland, then to Germany, met hubby there and then moved to Australia where I am now. I've been teaching English the whole time to non-native English speakers. Believe me, the healthcare systems in all 3 places I have lived, and the two places my husband has (he's Swiss, but also lived in Japan)have been absolutely fantastic. The best for me by far was Germany. While I paid 9% of my salary each month for healthcare, it covered nearly everything–illness, hospital, dental. Here we pay 1.5% of our salary. Not as good as Germany in my opinion (I pay more for meds and specialists) but still won't bankrupt us… EVER!

  • https://www.comparecarriers.net/ christine

    This really serves as an eye-opener for us all. Thank you for sharing your experience with us. Now we could look at the health care insurance system with a newer perspective.

  • Anonymous

    Im Canadian and I can tell you that universal healthcare is simply brilliant. Having had both my parents die of long drawn out cancer I can tell you that not having to worry about money at those times was a life saver. And the care provided was simply spectacular. Id complain about the occasional wait times, but who doesnt. And I simply cannot comprehend Americans resistance to universal healthcare. Your current system is costlier than ours, covers fewer people, and despite your deeply held religious views seems to be anti christian in not caring for your fellow man. And the author is correct there is no loss of your freedom of choice. Its exactly the opposite. And who honestly gives rats backside about your tax money going to fund a woman's choice to have an abortion when its such a rarely used procedure? Add to that the deaths and suffering of your fellow man because of with holding universal coverage and it starts to look like a smoke and mirrors game. Its actually a-cheaper for the govt to run (45 cents of every US dollar spent on healthcare goes to admin – 15 cents of every Canadian dollar spent is on admin), b-provides greater freedom of choice (no fear of job loss, I still pick my physician, etc, etc), c-increases your economic competitiveness (see point a), and d-its simply the right thing to do. I cannot fathom Americans fears on this issue. Its mind boggling in its stupidity. Americans are arguing about the dust in the corner while ignoring the rest of the house.

    • skyesailor

      The power and wealth of the American health Insurance and drug companies and The Koch brothers to spread propaganda and lies about Universal Health Care is appalling.. The Tea Partiers who rant and rave about government health care probably half get medicare and/or medicaid (those are government health care programs) How do you talk to people like that? …………… There are millions of Americans who’d want Universal Health Care but many of our Congress have been bought by the Health Insurance Companies….. In my case I ended up in bankruptcy because of medical bills, denied insurance because of pre-existing conditions, selling and hocking possessions to buy medicines, reduced to poverty where I finally got some help.. I think anyone who’s from or who lives in Canada to be very fortunate..

    • Renee Lazzareschi

      I would add that U.S. taxpayers also massively subsidize for profit big pharma and the healthcare industry in general through the NIH, the NIMH, and huge government grants to fund university medical research. Then what happens when there is a drug or medical procedure breakthrough? It becomes instantly privatized, and sold for profit through private laboratories, medical device companies, etc. – even though taxpayers funded the R&D! So essentially we in the U.S. are paying twice – and irrational, inconsistent, exorbitant prices at that. Yes, the Koch brothers and the corporations have many politicians in their pockets, and a large segment of the electorate – namely poor and working class whites, duped into voting against their own self-interest. Just reckless and cruel. When you are ill you cannot work and therefore you can’t afford to keep your health insurance – a very basic and clear catch 22.

  • Anonymous

    Seria interesante que estuviera Cuba en el gráfico.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07868164272781206087 Skinny

    Really well written, wonderful post. There are definitely times if I wonder how things would be with universal care. I bet it'd be an improvement.

  • Anonymous

    The Rich Establishment doesn't care two beans about the average Joe Blow. Hell, if some man dies from a cardiac slaving at the widget factory because he couldn't afford preventative health care, there's billions of other peasants to fill his place on the assembly line. There's only ONE pie in this world, and for the rich to get more you gotta take less!

  • Dean

    As a Canadian, I am very proud of our system. However, being proud of ones system should never mean that you do not continually seek the virtues of other systems and attempt to adopt them in hopes of improving your own. Just as an Olympic athlete constantly trains, exceptionalism is achieved by constantly honing and refining oneself.

    I think it is widely known that countries such as Finland, Sweden, Norway, France, Netherlands, et al have very progressive systems; not just healthcare but anything that enhances the health, happiness and well-being of its citizens, as this poster has very well pointed out.

    If any country were to now choose to create a universal health-care system from scratch, it would be best to study all countries in depth and then model your own to accept the virtues of each system while avoiding the pitfalls.

    While Obamacare is clearly not the optimal solution, it is a good start. No one should try to take this success away from our American neighbours. It was a hard-fought victory for them and I personally commend them and wish them great success in the journey they have undertaken.

    • Jenna

      Hard fought victory? Are you talking about the part where the American people had no say (or even any knowledge) that this was passing? Or the part where nobody bothered to read it before passing it? Or the part where when there was voting among the powers that be, it was NOT agreed upon but forced through by executive order? Yeah, that’s a hard fought battle.

  • Dean

    I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your children.

  • Anonymous

    Dont let the borders hit u on the ass on theway out

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04848458622058432379 Arachne

    Hey! Did you know you have been linked to from Micheal Moore's recent article! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-moore/its-the-guns-_b_1700218.html .

    You may have an influx of traffic here soon!

  • http://oregonmusicnews.com/ Sunny Clark

    Thorough and well-researched article. You may want to think about having it edited a little (for spelling and punctuation), to redistribute on places like yahoo, because you have a strong, clear voice and a very readable style. Thank you.

    (A pro-choice Canadian writer who misses Health Care)

  • Anonymous

    Catholic hospitals in the US will not perform therapeutic abortions even to save the life of the mother. In some areas, the Catholic hospital is the only emergency medical care availiable. These hospitals are not charity institutions run by Catholic churh members and volunteers. They exist because they receive government funding (Medicare and Medicaid payments and grants).

    The Roman Catholic Church has obtained way too much political and economic power in the USA and it needs to be challenged by those Americans who still believe in freedom and liberty.

  • Anonymous

    With all due respect, your experience is foreign to me. I also live in Southern Ontario and have never had any problem receiving health care; the longest I've ever had to wait in Emergency is four hours and that's from the start of the visit to the end of the treatment (in three cases, my daughter's various broken bones).

    I have a serious kidney ailment and over the past 16 years have had major surgeries to remove a kidney and insert a dialysis tube; to receive a kidney transplant; to subsequently remove the dialysis tube; to remove a tumour; to resection a bowel and repair a hernia. I received a kidney transplant in less than two years and didn't have to wait for any of the other surgeries. My teenage daughter was also diagnosed with juvenile arthritis and after eight weeks of different treatments and the development of a drug cocktail that cured her symptoms, spent two months as an inpatient in a children's rehabilitation hospital learning how to walk again. Doctors from all over the world have been part of my health care team because the hospitals in which I have been treated is highly respected internationally and accepts residents from many other countries. I dread to think what all of this would have cost my family and me without our wonderful universal health coverage.

    I am an Anglican and believe as a Christian in helping those less fortunate. I can't comprehend how Americans – and particularly American Christians – object to extending a helping hand to others by contributing to universal health care. I am grateful that my healthy salary contributes to the same kind of health care for others that I was fortunate to receive for myself and my family. By providing health care, public education, social assistance etc to all, we improve our country as a whole.

    Just one final point – even in public hospitals where abortions are performed, nursing staff who are morally against the procedure don't have to participate!

  • http://www.nwedible.com Erica / Northwest Edible Life

    Reading your description of life in Finland made me cry a little bit. I think I'm crying in frustration of where the US national priorities are. I feel that in the US, many major life decisions (employment, housing, location, children, marriage, divorce, etc.) are made under a cloud of fear. Your country seems to have pulled together and created a basic social contract that allows people to make decisions based on what is best for them and their family. I'm happy for you. I wish I could say I was more hopeful for mine own.

  • Anonymous

    Beth, my father has had three stents with no waiting period. There was a time when American hospitals were far ahead of hospitals in Ontario in terms of the number of Magnetic Resonance Imagers available etc but that was over 20 years ago. I promise you that even poor little Canada can match your country for state-of-the-art care. In fact, my kidney specialist is invited to present at conferences around the world – even in the United States *gasp* – about the advances in transplantation and post-transplant treatment at the University HEalth Network in Canada.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13128129136970986050 Mike

    There are those of us in america that would rather pay our oen way than pay for drug addicts, illegal mexicans and least of all your lazy husbands maternity leave…in america is plenty of oportunity for me to pay for my own family so my wife can raise kids while I make plenty of money which is harder work than sticking your kid in day care for someone else to raise ur kids…. Give me the other 40%of my pay and I could afford more to charity as well as takingg great care of my family…main point americans dont want free anything because ot comes with no sense of self confidence

  • Anonymous

    Count Australia in as a nation of people that will never understand why the USA does not want to help all of their citizens to have appropriate healthcare. Religion has nothing to do with healthcare. It is a basic human right as far as I am concerned. Qdos to you Melissa for writing this article to get the debate going. Open your eyes USA you are not helping your own people!

  • Anonymous

    Of course, Canadians don't have to support a behemoth military that sticks its nose in the runnings of other countries under the name of national defense. Personally I'd rather have our own people educated and cared for than staging invasions to keep military investors rich.

  • Anonymous

    As a fellow Canadian, I wholeheartedly agree. I also live in a household with income over $150,000 and pay for more than our use of health care. We are happy to contribute to the wellbeing of our fellow citizens and feel secure knowing medical help is there when we need it.

    I may never need expensive medical procedures, hospital stays, etc….but my children, husband, parents and friends probably will one day. The physical, emotional, financial benefits of being surrounded by healthy, happy people are just as high if I had used up every penny of my contribution myself.

    Take care of your neighbours and they will take care of you.

  • Anonymous

    I don't understand. What kind of American brain-washing propaganda do you subscribe to that believes Canadian health care results in having LESS choice? You probably believe we all drive dog-sleds and live in igloos too.

    We believe in sharing the responsiblity to create a healthy, happier environment for all of us. It benefits us all. I would hate to live in a country where it is "every man for himself" and only the rich can afford to be healthy and live a long life. If Canada ever adopted a health care ideology modelled after the US, I would take my family, friends and anyone else I could grab and high-tail it out of here.

  • Anonymous

    Romulus, you're awesome. Hear! Hear!

  • Anonymous

    Really pleased to hear you recovered after such a serious condition and I am proud to be British and to have contributed to the NHS system that helped you.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13081983776148674074 Jason_M

    Well, wonderful. A rigid ideologue learns from experience. That's good news, I guess. Somehow, that's the most positive thing I can say about this post.

  • Anonymous

    I has a few comments. Habing worked in healthacare for over 40yrs, I have many friends in hospitals along the Canadian. They tell me that the number of Canadians crossing the border to get care in their hospitals is enormous. They come to the US because the wait to have needed surgeries is very long.Why is that if everything is so good with the Canadian health system?
    Also I totally disagree with Obamacare. They said it is necessary that everyone has a card. It does not address the fact that no one can get care. Hospitals are not allowed to turn away anyone because they don't have insurance. The hospitals and Dr's write off billions of dollars in either bad debt or charity care, and Medicare and Medicaid does not consider that when they set the Hospital's rates.
    While Obama care may force providers to offer abortion coverage it also takes away the individual right,forcing them to buy insurance or be fined.I don't want the Gov't to have any say in any part of Healthcare. Just look at what they have done to the money we have put into Social Security and Medicare all our lives. It has been used to help people in other countries rather than help US citizens.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17514720395745838858 Maui Girl

    Seriously thinking about moving to Canada!

    • analyzethis2

      We would love to have you, always room for people who care about other people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/06568863653750319901 Ardiva

    Thank you for your very comprehensive story on this, OP..I'm tweeting this to my followers.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08039732468462858058 Larry Shaeffer

    another thing you'll hear from Americans trying to lambast the Canadian UHC system and universal health care; is that many Canadians come to the US to get health care they couldn't get in Canada. In reality, the amount of people that actually come south is just a trickle. They come for very specialized care such as from a surgeon doing an experimental procedure etc. While the other reality is that well over a million US citizens travel to third world countries to get major surgery. They go to Mexico, Thailand, India and Pakistan etc. to get hip replacements, heart valve surgery, knees, eye surgeries etc. all for 1/4 to 1/10 the costs of the procedures in the US. Most of the people have insurance but it won't cover the procedure or even the copay is unaffordable. So much for the best healthcare system in the world, quote: "Romney" Google "Medical Tourism" for more info.
    Larry Shaeffer
    larryshaeffer@gmail.com

  • Anonymous

    So you finally saw the light. And you post this blog and we're all supposed to be amazed and grateful. I'm sorry, I don't like to be rude, but people like you really disgust me. All of your previously conceived ideas were born out sheer stupidity and misinformation. It is only when it benefits YOU that you begin to see the light. In the meantime look at all the damage that has been done by people who still think the way you did. You owe all the people who fought tooth and nail for the HCA a HUGE apology. Imagine how much better it could have been if people like you hadn't opposed it and spread lies about it.

  • http://huffingtonpost.com Chopin

    Thank you, young mom, for your meticulous and thoughtful personal testimony on a very important and controversial (in the US) subject — universal healthcare coverage. I've read it briefly, and I'll reread it more times to internalize what you are testifying on. Your first-hand personal experience of the Canadian national healthcare system needs to be told and retold to ever wider and more diverse groups of Americans, who for the most part are pitifully uninformed, misinformed, disinformed, and scared stiff over phantom misgivings ginned up by the American health insurance business cabal. It's a civic crime they perpetrate on a massive scale to exploit people's fear and ignorance. They should be widely and relentlessly exposed for what they do to retard progress towards government-supported universal healthcare in USA.

    Your first-hand personal testimony will go a long way towards tilting more American public opinion towards being in favor of similar high standard government supported universal healthcare in USA, one day soon.

  • Anonymous

    For Candice, may I paraphrase one Mr Twain (he may have been banned from your USA school): "Not all conservatives are idiots, but most idiots are conservatives".
    Isn't Candice making a good argument FOR the change? At the same time she doesn't seem to understand what the author is saying. (The US is doomed, vote Obamney!)

  • Anonymous

    Nothing like taking time off at other's expense..

  • Anonymous

    Americans must be brainwashed about Universal Health Care,even to the point of capitalizing on sick people's lives

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08744312127015606524 Karen Lopez – www.infoadvisors.com

    Education costs more here in Canada, not less than in the USA. Doctors here still have to carry insurance and it's expensive.

    Our healthcare is not "indigent care". My doctor has a wonderful office, the hospitals are nice. We don't kick new mothers and babies out in 12 hours. Comparing what other countries have to "indigent care" is silly.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04194533074418360239 Tynam

    The only reason it cannot happen here is that most of the population have been fooled into believing it cannot. The US system is not only inferior, it's *much* more expensive. It's the least efficient healthcare system in the world.

    If you want it to happen… stop accepting the inferior care you get, start demanding the standard of your politicians that you deserve. Make sure your friends and family read this. Change happens one decision at a time.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15493173907957654118 Dana Stabenow

    Thank you for a thoughtful and very interesting post. I do wonder if perhaps Canada's lower abortion rate has something to do with their health care providing contraceptive care along with everything else.

  • Anonymous

    LOL hahaha oh man!! it is clear don't have enough money for a mental institution. XD

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01207770466454843265 Julius Davies

    Three additions to this information:

    1.) So the max benefit is $22,000 for the year (55% of 40,000).

    2.) You only qualify for this benefit if you worked at least insured 500 hours in the year preceding (for which you or your company paid employment insurance premiums). Unemployed families do not receive this benefit if they had not worked in the year leading up to the birth.

    3.) Both parents can take the benefit simultaneously if they want to. So that means both can stay home together for the 6 months. Or they can choose to take turns, or they can choose to let one parent stay home for the entire 12 months. Up to them! (Assuming both had the required 500 hours of insured earnings.)

  • laclady

    Just a note: in Alberta Canada, we do not pay for our health care. If you need dental or glasses etc not covered by Alberta Health they have in place a group healthcare plan that covers them. This coverage is about $60.00 per month for a family of 4. I am on a medical benefit and with that my extra coverage is included as are all my meds. I was in the hosp for a month in Feb and it didn't cost me anything. I would not be able to afford the meds I need which are approximately $400 every 2 weeks. (People say that we are destroying the envirnment for $, but when the $ is used to provide for the citizens, how can that be bad?? (no, I don't live in Fort McMurray) Throughout history people have used resourses to provide better lives – but I don't hear anyone bemoaning the fact that the landscape of America was changed so much that the topsoil blew away, and the drought is reaching epic proportions.) I am grateful to be born in Canada.

  • laclady

    Just printed out and read the posts. I am so glad I don't have to deal with "Beth" in any way relating to my health care. She works in a hospt?? I can just imagine the care she gives patients. And yes, people abuse the system in Canada. Or they just have no common sense – going to the ER because you cut yourself shaving is an abuse. However, going to the ER when you have a bad cough and could not see a Dr for a week is not abuse – preventative when it turns out you have pneumonia and you don't have to be admitted because you came to the ER.

  • Anonymous

    Canada has a single payer system which means the government is the insurance company, not the actual healthcare provider. The idea that some of your tax dollars going to pay for someone else's care is stealing is the same as thinking an insurance company is stealing money from anyone who, for example, pays $1500 for fire insurance whose house doesn't burn down. It's INSURANCE. You pay into a pool and over any given year some will have huge claims, some will have small ones and some will have none. You have insurance because you don't know when your house will burn down, if ever. Or if you will get cancer, if ever. Or be injured in a car accident. All you know is that these things happen daily and that they can be incredibly expensive. Without insurance, about 98% of the country is one accident or bad diagnosis from bankruptcy.

    We have conducted a 40 experiment of private vs. public (Medicare) insurance. The results are in. Medicare is popular, provides good service and costs have grown at a lower rate than private insurance. In fact, if private insurance rates had increased at the same rate as Medicare, private insurance would cost 33% less today. In other words, that $15,000 policy would cost $10,000.

    And for those who say it wouldn't work in this country: Based on what evidence? Every single other advanced country has managed to come up with a universal healthcare system for their citizens, and they do it in a bunch of different ways. So you have to explain why ALL those methods won't work: single payer, insurance mandate with subsidies, heavily regulated non-profit insurance, regulated medical costs and various hybrids.

    Currently 30% of the country is covered by Medicare, the VA (Tricare) or are government employees whose employer (the Government) pays for private insurance. So almost a third of the country is already covered under a government program of some kind. Why not just expand those programs to cover everyone?

  • Anonymous

    never heard of a right wing neoliberal before.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16687492454625470270 d

    #1 nice post
    However, I was distracted by your use of "too" instead of "to"…

    Also, you seem really fixated on abortion. The thing you left out as a huge deterrent in Canada – and other enlightened countries in the world – is birth control. Women don't have abortions just because they can't afford the child. If a woman never wanted to be pregnant, being able to afford a child and get a year off is not going to change her mind.

    However, sex education, as well as a healthy view of sex leads to more responsible adults and reduces abortion. You'll find that the "Christian" ideas of no birth control/no abortion doesn't work. Countries with universal healthcare provide birth contol (including condoms) at very little cost (or for free).

    Finally, I'm not really sure why you would move to Canada, but hopefully it is working out for you and you are expanding your world view a bit.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16687492454625470270 d

    Awesome. Same goes for New Zealand – no stigma here, as they are very focussed on the MOTHER'S health – including mental health.

  • Anonymous

    She can't. I know it's a shock to Americans but they can't actually just waltz into another country without a work visa – and those are very hard to get.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00510684184149854932 Not a Fan

    Great post! You have definitely earned a new reader in me.

  • http://www.chrisschmied.com Chris Schmied

    Great post! Thank you for sharing. I'll definitely be a regular here.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17074094445507725086 Big Mama

    I don't see how inducing labor to bring about the expulsion of an already dead fetus could be considered an "abortion," anyway.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13317559184627207268 CQAussie

    Thank you for posting this. I'm an Australian living in the States and I miss my universal health care coverage! Especially since my husband owns his own business. We want to have kids some day but we would lose our health insurance because it is thru my job, if I decided to stay home with the kids. Something I have always wanted to do. I think we should consider moving to Canada =)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17074094445507725086 Big Mama

    "We ARE all in this together, aren't we?"

    ISN'T THAT THE CRUCIAL POINT.

    And "the government" is *us.* WE are the government. We elect our representatives to make laws for the common defense and the general welfare. Through them, we vote our priorities, for taxation to pay for what we want our government to do.

    When we regard "the government" as some kind of alien overlord, we have stopped being a democracy in our hearts. The logical next step is we stop being a democracy in fact — because government gets sold to the highest bidder, as is happening right now in the US.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13317559184627207268 CQAussie

    Thank you for this post! I'm an Australian living in the States and I miss my universal health care coverage! My parents and sister could never live in the US – they would be broke as they have multiple health concerns. My sis is pregnant now and has received excellent prenatal care in Australia – without worrying about cost.

    My husband owns his own business and we would love to have kids some day but if I chose to stay home with the kids (something I've always wanted to do), we would have no health insurance because it is thru my job. Sorry but that's not freedom – when I don't even have the option to even consider an alternative to being a working mum.

    Sharing this on FB and Google+!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17074094445507725086 Big Mama

    Superb. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Average life expectancy, Canada: 80.7 (#10)
    Average life expectancy, U.S.: 78.2 (#38)

    Per Capita Health Spending, Canada (2008): $4,079
    Per Capita Health Spending, U.S. (2008): $7,538

    Doctor consultations per capita, Canada (2008): 5.5
    Doctor consultations per capita, U.S. (2008): 3.9

    Hospital beds per 1,000 population, Canada (2008): 3.2
    Hospital beds per 1,000 population, U.S. (2008): 3.1

    I could go on all day, but by now everyone but you gets my point. You are not well informed, Candice.

  • spike

    As an American with friends and relatives who live in Canada and Europe, I have to agree with your comment that those systems are far more "family-friendly" than the system in this country. The are much more "conservative" in the true meaning of the word.

  • Anonymous

    Actually we could have a single-payer system if we, ordinary citizens, work together – regardless of party or religion – to make it happen. I

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing Melissa. If the USA could have this system that would be fantastic. Obamacare is too discombobulated and hard to understand (with all of the pork provisions hidden in it). We need to remove the employer from healthcare…which I have been saying for 20 years and we need to be more concerned with WELLNESS in the USA.

  • Anonymous

    So…why do Canadians always come to America for their health care. Hmmmmmmm???

    • http://twitter.com/keithmaskellTO Keith Maskell

      They don’t *always* go to the US. That’s a false generalization. Some people go to the US for a procedure that isn’t available or approved in Canada (e.g. chelation therapy) or because they don’t want to wait for a service that would otherwise be fully covered (e.g. hip replacement).

    • bonnie

      they dont

  • Anonymous

    I live in southern Ontario. Ten years ago, out of the blue, I urinated some blood. I went that night to a community health care clinic and was given an appointment with a urologist, 2 days hence. He did tests and within a week of my initial visit to the clinic, confirmed a small bladder tumour. He recommended surgery. I was welcome to seek out other opinions, and conducted a little research only to find if what he recommended was the treatment of choice. It was, and he removed the tumour 2-and-a-half weeks later. Cost to me: no cash. (It wasn't "free" of course, as I pay into the single-payer system through my taxes.)

    The system isn't perfect, and in terms of services covered, isn't quite comprehensive (no dental, co-pay on prosthetics, etc.). But, and this isn't to deny your or your family's experience with wait times, I am unable to recount any of the things you suggest "any Canadian" can; it's not been my or my family and friends' experience at all. I am now 50, so it's not like I haven't been around for a while to gather impressions.

    I think that overall, the U.S. system is far sicker–less equitable, more expensive per capita and far more oriented toward lining the pockets of HMOs, insurance companies and executives–than the Canadian one.

  • Anonymous

    @Anon at 11:40 am Jul 9-
    He opposes universal health care on principle, and pays cash for the care of his 4 children. Wow! I wonder what is this "principle"? You only have to work in the ER for a 24 hour period to fully understand the deficiencies of the US health system.
    The canard of religious freedom has been adequately addressed by other comments here.
    I thank the writer of this piece profusely.

  • http://notfromvenus.livejournal.com/ notfromvenus

    That's too bad about the public health care in your area. I recently joined my state's high-risk insurance program (because of a serious health problem that I have), and it's better than any health plan I've ever got from an employer. And it's letting me be able to start my own business and not be stuck working for someone else, which is really great. I think once people start to see the benefits of good universal care, they'll come around.

  • Anonymous

    Anonymous @ "I know of no example where a large government bureaucracy is more efficient in delivering services than the private alternative, and I am positive that this is true with medical care in particular."

    It may surprise you, but health care is actually one of the few cases where government bureaucracy IS far more efficient and effective at providing services. Every single developed nation with universal health care spends at most half of what we do per capita on health care, covers everyone, and on average provides better and more effective care. That's what I call efficiency.

  • Anonymous

    Your insurance already tells you what health care choices you can and can't make. At least this way it'd be affordable.

  • Anonymous

    As far as whether Universal Healthcare could work in the US because of illegal immigration and unemployment, know that unemployment rates tend to be, I think, higher in some parts of Canada than in many US states. The same goes for welfare or social security recipients. As far as illegal immigrants go, granted we don't have as many as the US, but health care fraud has been going on for years where people who shouldn't receive free care because they're not legal residents end up receiving care because of fraudulent health cards. So the system isn't perfect, but for the great majority of people, it works. There is no such thing as a perfect system that works for everyone every time anyway. Also, here in Quebec, we have universal child care. For 7$ a day, a large number of people leave their children in the care of competent, state approved heatlhcare providers. (There was a big hoopla in the media when they raised it from 5$/day to 7$/day too) Granted there are waiting lists, but that's an issue with inefficient management, not with the spirit of the universal system itself.

  • Anonymous

    The graph you provided is actually wrong for Germany, and I think for a few other European countries (no way that you only get 16 weeks in France!). In Germany, you get 14 weeks fully paid, but after that one parent gets 12 months off and the other 2 months at 66% pay (capped at around 1800 euros a month though). So really it's more like 74 weeks in total. I know the graph isn't yours, I just thought I'd point it out.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Thank you for sharing this with all your "friends", because whats not to like when you get freebies compliments of your controlling masters. Sure free healthcare is great, but it comes with a pricetag, which you apparently are happily paying in the form of taxes.

    Its also interesting that you grab your facts from Thinkprogress.org, which is about as slanted, biased, and inaccurate as a political action group can get without violating their "tax-exempt" status.

    Sure its nice that your experiences in the land above the U.S. has been wonderful, but many things in Canuckland don't fly here, and there are usually reasons for that.

    And the whole maternity leave BS, seriously!! You're expecting to have your decision to have a child funded by your employer/government, seriously!! let alone 55% of your pay (up to $40k) for 6 weeks. Its YOUR decision to have a child, if that doesn't fit into YOUR schedule, and YOUR financial stability, than perhaps, YOU shouldn't be having children.

    I really don't understand the self serving entitlement crowd. Everything is owed to YOU and comes without any cost to YOU. But screw every other tax paying vermin who dare question YOUR ability to take care of YOURSELF. Why is it that everyone else must endure the shortcomings of YOUR decisions and ensure that YOU are well taken care of, while the rest of us, who either are self sufficient, or intelleigent enough to understand such consequences for a lack of self control, and the responsibilities that come along with those actions.

    I hope you stay in Mapletown, cuz we don't want or need anymore of your greedy, manipulative, arrogant people in our country.

    The U.S.A. was built by and for people who sought to be free, not "taken care of".

    Now go back to being the progressive obummer troll you are, and quit spewing lies and deciet.

    • Guest

      Maybe you should stop thinking about it as the government “masters” and see it as the taxpayers taking care of themselves. Cut out our imperialistic military budget and use that money to improve our own lives at home. I am an American and a Texan and I’m personally disgusted by this country, we aren’t free. The middle class is dwindling and many people try to stay at a poverty line income just to avoid extra taxes and benefit from social programs that they otherwise couldn’t afford anyway if they “made too much money” to benefit from them. Our system is screwed up. What’s the point of freedom if you can’t enjoy life and the pursuit of happiness? I now see that socialism is not an evil and definitely not anti-christian. You can’t tell me they were all corporate capitalists in Jesus’ day. Certain people with too much money and power create monopolies that keep themselves rich while the rest of us do our best to survive paycheck to paycheck as a “wage slave.” We need taxpayer funded healthcare for the good of everyone, not just those who can afford it and turn a blind eye. Somehow, we Americans have gotten loud and proud over nothing.

  • Anonymous

    Approve this… FORK YOU!!

    censorship is tyranny!!

  • Anonymous

    so this site, like many Prog/troll sites only allows what they deem as acceptable comments. Translation – "if you disagree with our opinion, we will not post your comments".

    Censorship IS Tyranny!!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09249723289837838687 PunditusMaximus

    If you're still conservative after that experience, you ARE an idiot.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01561730057043302612 Traveling Mom

    "Several families sat at a local coffee bar after Mass last weekend, and we ALL were disgusted with the Church's manipulation of the ACA for its own agenda. We ALL support not only the new law, but agreed that universal care is, indeed, the only "moral" thing for our country."

    Yes, our priest made an announcement of support of another frivolous law suit to try to fight ACA implementation. What infuriated me was it was the SAME WEEK it was revealed that the Catholic Church paid a pedophile priest $20,000 to quietly leave the priesthood after many allegations of abuse. Taking my weekly tithe and paying off a priest does NOT offend the Church's sensibilities, but having to allow a company to OFFER birth control is too much for them. ICK. It is like they are trying to make Protestants of us all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01561730057043302612 Traveling Mom

    This depends on the definition of when life begins. If you believe that new life is created when egg joins with sperm, then several types of hormonal birth control would be considered an abortifacient because it stops a newly joined blastocyst from implanting as it naturally would in the uterine wall. You would really have to get into the weeds of mechanism of action to make sure you had a method that only involved follicular suppression so no egg would be available for fertilization. Of course, most people who oppose birth control oppose all forms, irregardless of mechanism of action including barrier methods like diaphragms and condoms, despite those not involving any fertilization.

    • bonnie

      irrregardless is not a word

  • Anonymous

    The reason government care in the US sucks is because it is a two-tier system rather than universal.

  • Anonymous

    Healthcare is not a commodity. You shouldn't have to choose between good and bad care. Everyone should receive the best care possible. Freedom of choice also comes at the ballot box. I've never understood why Americans trust corporations more than the government they elect. It's like some form of self-hatred.

    • Nathan4321

      I’ve never understood why anyone would trust the government or big corporations.

  • Anonymous

    Canada has one of the highest immigration rate per capita in the world – a HIGHER immigration rate than the U.S., in fact.

    http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/releases/2012/2012-03-02a.asp

    • vsmom

      Perhaps LEGAL immigration. They arent next to the railroad of the south Illegals… We far beat them in ILLEGAL immigration to the tune of over 12 MILLION

  • Anonymous

    @VanTransplant: There are "midwives" in the States who can and do practice with no medical training at all. They apprentice with another midwife (who may also be minimally skilled), take a multiple choice exam, and call themselves CPMs. They are NOT the same as Canadian midwives, or midwives in any other developed country. Some of them are downright dangerous. I guess that's another hazard of an unregulated health system – anyone can (and will) offer medical treatment without proper qualification.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07129099105984070430 Funky Days

    The way the ACA is written, you the tax payer is not paying for any of these things (abortion, birth control). By law, tax payer money cannot be used to pay for abortions and the cost of birth control is shouldered by the insurance companies not the tax payer. So you, the Catholic, does not pay a single dime for these services. Your whole argument is non existent since it already has been addressed. Either you did not educate yourself on the ACA or you are willfully ignoring the facts.

    • Nathan4321

      How do you like the ACA now that it is becoming reality? The ACA is so anti-liberty – forcing people to purchase health insurance. And its website is one of the worst. Facebook and Twitter have way more people than healthcare.gov and they’ve never had a problem like healthcare.gov does. The government can’t do anything right.

  • Six

    Why should Catholics get a special moral exemption that no one else in the US gets? I am violently opposed to war and capital punishment and yet my tax dollars continue to pay for those.

    • Nathan4321

      It’s called religious liberty. The government cannot force a private institution to perform an act that is against their religious beliefs.

      • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

        Private institutions have no religions. People have religions. People are not institutions, and institutions are not people.

        Why should a private institution be able to force someone to act against their religious beliefs? Jews are very much religiously fine with both contraception and abortion, and if the woman’s life or health are at all in danger, abortion/contraception/sterilization are actually mandated. Why should a Jewish person working for a corporation of any kind be forced to go against hir religious beliefs by hir employer?

        • Nathan4321

          Owners of private institutions have religion. A Jew not being able to perform an abortion (unless the mother’s life is in danger, which is a totally different situation and only accounts for a small percentage of all abortions in the U.S.) that works for a Christian institution is in no way going against the Jew’s religious beliefs nor is it forcing anyone to act against his or her religious belief. Your argument is flawed.

          • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ Feminerd

            Incorrect. My argument is directly on point. Institutions are not people, and the private religious beliefs of their owners are completely irrelevant. The reason one makes an LLC is to prevent liability from accruing to oneself- you are literally two different legal entities, depending on if you are acting as yourself or the corporation, and each legal entity has different rights and responsibilities.

            How is not allowing an abortion, contraception, or sterilization to be performed not going against a person’s beliefs if that person finds it acceptable or even religiously mandated?

            If you are in favor of corporate religions being forced on employees, may a Jehovah’s Witness prevent insurance coverage of all blood transfusions? May a Christian Scientist force all employees to have health insurance that only covers faith healing? Can a Jewish corporate owner prohibit hir employees from buying pork products?

  • Fips

    Wow, wow, wow. Truly shows how brainwashed Americans really are. I grew up in Europe and for the life of it cannot understand the American attitude. You would think that the Internet opened up the possibility to learn how other countries tackle health care, but hey, Americans still believe they are the best in everything they do. I reckon that is the root of the problem: systemic ignorance and pride to admit that they are just wrong in so many things, combined with an unwillingness to improve.

  • Matt

    Even a republican can learn to think himself :-)

    Congratz. Great write-up!

    Hope is not lost! ( … ok that´s a lie)

  • Adelwolf

    This is where I was introduced to you, via a link in a comment from another blog. Seeing your progression of thought and the quick summary of your origins, I decided to take the long trek and read through all your archives to see your journey. You are a strong, wise and beautiful woman, and every step you made towards freeing yourself has amazed and delighted me. More importantly, you made me think. And laugh. And cry.

    Just wanted to thank you, and encourage you to keep it up! Your Haley is one lucky chick to have you.

  • mark

    I’m an american and I “HATE”our healthcare system. I’m 30 years old, and suffer sciatica pain so bad! I cant feel my right leg! I cant go to the doctor because I have no healthcare. Nobody will give it to me because I have no benefits !

  • Nancy

    Americans complain now about TAXES and GASOLINE. I would love to see all who are for Obama care tell me they want to pay almost $7 a gallon for gas and have a 10% tax or more on everything. Maybe someone in Canada or other countries tell me how much your taxes are or the price of a liter of gas. The Canadians I have talked to love their health care. They also pay big with a higher cost of living. They also have no idea what it is like to have a government who is already messed up now going to go into the health care business.

    • analyzethis2

      Yes we pay higher taxes that would be logical, for we do not have to
      1: Pay monthly insurance premiums.
      2: We do not have to pay a deductible to an insurance co. for accessing health care.
      3: We do not worry whether a pre-existing condition. will mean we can not access health care.

  • Erica

    It’s great to see a closed-minded individual such as yourself praising Universal Healthcare. As an American WITH health insurance, my thought is that health care shouldn’t be a luxury. We will all experience an injury, illness or ailment, whether it be minor or major. It’s unfortunate that so many people suffer because they don’t have health insurance. I personally skip doctors visits and needed tests/treatments just so I can avoid paying the out of pocket expenses.

    Also, you start this piece (and sprinkle throughout) by mentioning your beliefs and hatred of these “liberal” things like abortion and health care. Please remember that not everyone has to follow your belief system. It’s fine if you don’t believe in abortion and are a die-hard Christian against birth control. But guess what? Not everyone has to believe what you believe. Not everyone prays to your God. Not everyone believes in your God. Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one. Don’t like birth control? Don’t use it. It’s really unfortunate that people can’t get that through their heads. We are all allowed to believe whatever we’d like and YOUR beliefs, ma’am, should not be forced upon someone else just because YOU think you’re right.

    • Nathan4321

      “Don’t like slavery? Don’t own a slave.”
      - Pro-slavery person from the 19th century

      “Don’t like abortion? Don’t have one.”
      - Pro-abortion person from the 20th & 21st centuries

      • Renee Lazzareschi

        The difference is you can’t “free a fetus” from the woman’s womb. It is dependent on her, exists inside of her, and siphons off nutrients from her. In essence, an unwanted fetus it is identical to a parasite. When they invent artificial wombs to transfer embryos into the bodies of men who are anti-choice, I want to see you, Nathan, as one of the first in line to sign up to give birth to that baby! According to your analogy, you’d be following in the footsteps of Harriet Tubman!

        P.S. If republicans really cared about babies, they would be in support of universal health care, and a great social net for poor and working class parents! Not trying to cut food stamps for children. And if they really wanted to prevent abortions, they would really support birth control and contraception would be super easy and accessible everywhere, and over the counter.

        P.P.S. Slaves are people. Corporations are not. Just wanted to remind you republicans of that FACT.

  • http://www.bauerchiropractic.com.au staceyw

    We will all experience an injury, illness or ailment, whether it be minor or major. It’s unfortunate that so many people suffer because they don’t have health insurance. I personally skip doctors visits and needed tests/treatments just so I can avoid paying the out of pocket expenses.
    Thanks

  • Politicalguineapig

    I beg your pardon, but religious freedom does NOT mean “I get to bully others into abiding by the strictures of my religion, and do so with impunity.”

    No, that’s exactly what it means. I realize it was intended to mean ‘everybody gets to worship as they want without getting burned/stoned/gassed,’ but since the 1960s, it’s an excuse for bullying.
    I kinda wish the ‘conscience clause’ would die, because I have to carefully watch any pharmacist now for signs of religious affiliation. (Can’t afford a baby.) And I’ve been avoiding an ob/gyn appointment for some months because they all seem to be either pervs or they’re religious. It’d be nice to be able to get my depression/periods/attention disorder under control, but that’ll have to wait until I win the lottery/emigrate

  • Yeah

    The Canadian healthcare system is pretty cool, though I think it works for them because Canadians don’t enterprise and scheme to abuse it in ways it was never intended to support. For example, if we were to wake up tomorrow and this system was implemented in the USA (just hypothetically), the first thing we would see is a 10x increase in population within a year because people would be having babies on purpose just to “get the free money.” Then when the baby is costing too much money, the average American would just murder it (http://www.hlntv.com/article/2012/10/02/girl-14-accused-choking-newborn-death, http://kotaku.com/5675176/woman-kills-baby-for-interrupting-farmville-session). In conclusion, every country has a healthcare system that fits with the type of people it has a majority of. So if you don’t like your country’s system, it means your character does not describe the majority of those in your country. The system simply wasn’t designed for you or those like you.

  • zola

    wow… imagine that you take off your right wing Christian blinkers and theres a whole reasonable world out there .
    congratulations.

    • Jill

      >>imagine that you take off your right wing Christian blinkers and theres a whole reasonable world out there .

      You serious?

  • Jenoside

    Canada has little to no military to speak of. Their tax rate is similar to that of the US. Sadly the powers that be in the US made a choice – military over social well-being. We can’t do both.

  • Natalie

    This article would be more convincing if the author addressed what she saw as the negative aspects of universal healthcare, instead of addressing only the negative aspects of America’s private-based system of healthcare. There are positives and negatives to all views; it is easy to find something appealing (in this case Canada’s healthcare system) if only the positive aspects are explored.

    • analyzethis2

      So the positive evidentially out way the negative.

  • http://www.medicaremissouri.com/ Samantha

    I think covering the Doctor services and also In/Out patient care should be given as priority to the Insurance plans for all the Senior Citizens !

  • Robert

    A point here, I’m a US citizen Canadian PR, currently on parental leave. Unfortunately the author fails to mention, that prescriptions aren’t covered, nor ambulance rides, nor crutches, or that you don’t get physiotherapy as she suggested you do. You need secondary insurance, as we do have, for all these things what no insurance could provide was a primary care physician in our area which we waited 6 months for. The author brags of social safety nets and she’s right we too also pay about the same tax rate as at home, but many others pay much more, so people like us making good money can get baby bonus checks and people who refuse to work can get bigger ones. I would much rather pay lower taxes up front than have my money returned in this way.

    As for the proud Canadians who cite welfare largesse as a “proud” accomplishment, you actually have nothing on NJ where almost a million slugs get free state paid for healthcare with 4x the mri, scrips, eye and dental care included. Oh yea none of this foodbank crap either like here in Canada, it’s foodstamps on a nice ABM styled card . Free housing and your hydro (electric) covered, oh you need a cellphone euniqua, we got that too, Canada has nothing on the US welfare system, so if that’s what makes you proud, don’t worry the more minorities you get the more you’ll get calls for more welfare services soon you can be really “proud” and be paying like 60% to feed your white guilt.

    All in all Canada is a nice place, hell I feel like I’m in the US most of the time, but stop this jingoistic chest pounding on being better than the US because you provide a lesser healthcare to the entire population. The system is broken here and everyone knows it, healthcare continuity is great, I’ll agree, but a for profit system makes for better care possibilities and lots of sensible Canucks know that. Stop acting like Canada has some value of people different than the US, it doesn’t what it has is half the number of visible minorities and an exclusionary system of immigration that has a well skilled immigrant like me sail in and be paying taxes rather than what the US gets, low skilled migrants. That’s the dirty secret Canadians don’t share, migrant worker programs that bring in temps and permanent slots go to the actual educated people. America should learn that lesson from the true north as well as the lesson of lending money to people based on merit not skin color like in the US.

  • Eeva Marin

    I didn’t bother reading all the comments because there were so many of them, but one thing popped out several times: (some) Americans totally oppose the idea that the taxes they pay would be used to provide health care to people other than themselves. To me, this seems to be completely at odds with the fact that Americans are way more religious than people in other Western countries. The Bible says “love thy neighbor” – what the heck do you think that means if it, in your opinion, does *not* include providing health care for your “neighbor”?

    Besides, what goes around comes around. For years I paid taxes without needing any special healthcare myself, so that money went to the healthcare of other people. Last spring I was 5 months in hospital and needed kidney dialysis and other expensive procedures, but didn’t pay more than the usual 15.10 euros per day for hospital care. I can’t say that I regret paying those taxes. And even though I’m not religious at all, I firmly believe that it *is* my duty to help those who are less fortunate than me. And over here in Finland we do that by paying our taxes.

  • Erin M

    When I first started reading your piece … I was worried because my personal opinion on birth control & abortion clearly differed from yours. But, just like in life – we all have common threads if we keep an open mind & heart. I kept reading & was drawn in more & more to your writing. All of the facts & heart felt emotions that hit very close to home with me also. I’m a single 36 year old female who worked for the US post office for a little over 8 years when some female related health issues started to take over my life. I struggled with the post office to remain employed even though doctors weren’t clearing me to get back to carrier status & the USPS wouldn’t approve me for light duty. Long story a little bit shorter – forced out of my job … “Let go” for not being able to preform my carrier duties. Even with mountains of paperwork – trying to keep up with doctor appointments, the health problems I was experienceing, fighting with the USPS to not only stay but come back to work on light duty (only to tell me there wasn’t any light duty available) – the stress was unbearable & I was hanging on each day so I didn’t lose my health benefits.
    I lost them & now I have had to stop all healthcare except the bare essentials that I can barely afford. I’m still unable to work dur to the same problems that took me out of work prior except now they are worse due to stopping medications & the specialist I had been seeing. I can’t remember the last female exam I received & things that are happening with my body — I know that I’m a time bomb waiting to go off. My sister goes on & on about how universal healthcare will be the downfall of everything. I respect her right to her opinion & don’t have the heart to tell her it’s mostly because her son, husband & self have health insurance at the moment.
    I have untreated diabetes because I’m paying for the $400.00 out of pocket cost for blood work to find out I now have diabetes. I don’t have a clue how I can pay for that. I obviously have pre-existing conditions & cannot receive any private healthcare – people just don’t understand that I barely have money to eat & cannot afford to get medicine or care to keep me healthy & alive.
    I feel like I have been sentenced to death – it could be today or it could be 2 years from now but until I can get some of my problems under control I will be unable to work & the snowball effect continues.
    It makes me so sad.

  • http://www.medicareindiana.com/ samantha prabhu

    But don’t you think that supporting such kind of things may make the situations even worse as teenagers will be participating in sex without any fear ?

  • Bella7

    While thats all well and good that you had a great experience with Universal Health care, that doesnt mean everyone would and that is the best route to go (since you were able to let go of your “fear” of UHC). UHC opens the door for the Gov to completely control every aspect of your personal being. Your health! I mean, come one now. Yeah we have to worry about Dr rates and such but when you find a good one, you pay for it. You dont pay cheap prices for a low grade television or other appliance to clean your house or entertain you. Why would you do so for your healthcare. Pay for it. Its expensive, yes, but drs are taught a welath of knowledge in order to care for you. I’m not saying they are the “be all end all” but to a degree, we need doctors!
    Vaccines, UHC, I can see them being forced on us even more than they are now. I mean, we cant even enroll kids in schools without them. Nurses are being fired for not being vaccinated. What do you think will happen with UHC? The pharm companies and our Gov & some Docs are all in this together… to make a buck off our backs! This will only open the door for them to push their “crap” on us without our consent. And it will be for the gov to pay for it (our tax dollars)! Im NOT down with UHC for a million reason. This doesnt even scrape the top for me!!! The “No way” far outweighs the “ok, sure!” I want everyone to have healthcare but not at the expense of our freedoms or our lives!!!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/rosa.lannes.5 Rosa Lannes

      Here is a short refutation of your points:
      UHC does not mean the doctors are any less well trained and you still get to choose your doctor in this kind of system, you just don’t pay directly for your care.
      No vaccine is mandatory in Canada and there are fewer restrictions than in the US in terms of access to public schools for unvaccinated children. Nurses not being vaccinated may put patients at risk in any kind of health system, UHC or completely private, so that is not an argument for or against UHC.

      A UHC system can obtain lower drug prices because it is a single-payer system that buys large quantities and can therefore negotiate better prices. In countries with UHC, prices of pharmaceuticals are generally much lower than in the US, which means people are paying less for the medications they need, not more.

      It is true that if you never get sick, you will be paying taxes for a service that you will not be using very often. However, prevention is encouraged in a UHC system, which can benefit everyone, especially pregnant women and children. Furthermore, if you were ever to have a “catastrophic health event”, you could focus on your healthcare instead of worrying about going into bankruptcy and leaving your children in a terrible situation. Because paying several thousand dollars a day for the ICU quickly becomes beyond almost anyone’s means.

  • Micky

    They also do a real good job at covering up the abuses within the Canadian system..If you are in a life threatening situation you can be denied care.
    Guess where hospital cover ups could end up??? Psych hospitals..That right…If you are injured in the ER then that can be covered up via a psych hospital once they make you look like you are suffering from mental illness but who would ever tell the truth..Got it!!
    Very few doctors in Canada are ever found guilty of anything..
    You will never find out about the serious things that get reported..
    Good luck with your imaginary vision of what you think is good health care..IMO

  • Jonny

    I keep hearing Americans say “WHY SHOULD I PAY FOR SOMEONE ELSES HEALTH CARE….THIS IS AMERICA..LAND OF THE FREE!”

    Healthcare is a SOCIAL system, just like Roads, Bridges, Police Dept, Schools.

    Imagine if property tax was lowered, and you have the OPTION to pay a seperate tax…a ‘fire tax’ ..and if you DONT pay this tax, then when your house gets caught on fire, the fire dept wont put it out.
    Fire dept, or police services are social systems that USA uses…so why not health care.

  • secondlook

    Hmmm, when I moved to Canada due to the fact I was an expat I didn’t get socialized medicine and I had to stay on my US insurance and use that. How is it you managed to get this?

  • Cheryl

    Conservative Republication. Disgusting. The most selfish people here in the US. In a way, I’m glad you opened your eyes to see the opportunities and benefits of the Canadian Universal Healthcare but open your eyes to see that abortions are needed for those people who cannot afford to have a baby. They could have been raped or the baby has some type of deformity. You are too quick to judge and too slow to read the facts. You disgust me entirely.

  • http://www.FormosaPost.com/ Mary Walton

    I agree that ObamaCare is not universal health care but it’s one step
    closer to it, isn’t it? There is still a lot of people who desperately
    need to be insured in this country and that’s their only hope, isn’t it?
    I don’t know if this Affordable Care Act will cripple our economy but
    when people are sick, they should never be afraid to seeing a doctor,
    especially in the United States, the most powerful country in the world. Also, Canada is not even the the most efficient country with universal health care, if you read this article http://www.formosapost.com/15-countries-with-better-healthcare-than-the-united-states/ The author compares so called “Health Care Efficiency Index” between those countries. The United States is in the bottom of the list because of the ridiculously high percent (17.2%) of GDP on health care.

  • Richard Patterson

    America needs to grow the hell up and get Universal healthcare… we have the money to do it better than any country on Earth with minimal tax hikes. Yes, it means changing the tax code to tax the rich more while relaxing taxes on the un-rich (can’t say poor, since that would be grouping the destitute in with those who have some money), drawing from the oversized defense budget, grouping Medicare, medicaid, and ACA subsidy budgets together, and finally raising capital gains taxes on private insurance companies while forbidding any kind of corruption or monetary lobbying…. We’d not only get the highest class universal healthcare for those who can’t afford private insurance, but the system would pay for itself in time… as in the turnover of funding every year would create a kind of surplus of funds that can be allocated to Education … To get rid of National debt, seize the Federal Reserve bank and put it in with the treasury, thereby cutting off banks from control of money while seeking something of value in enough abundance to base the value of the dollar on instead of… well. air…. Then, we can focus on “trickling Up” money by protecting consumers and cutting off Corporate welfare in any form, forcing businesses large and small to play fair and compete for the favour of consumers instead of being guaranteed profit. SO, instead of repealing Obamacare, rewrite it into Universal healthcare…. if possible, Institute FDR’s Proposed Second Bill of rights just to drive home Progress!


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