Why I used to be afraid of Universal Health Care

So, my post on health care has been getting some attention, (I encourage you to go read the diverse comments left over there) and the main question I seem to be getting again and again, is HOW did you get those fears of Universal Health care in the first place?
First of all, when I describe myself as a die-hard republican, believe me I was. For my first election in 2004 I voted for Bush, and a few weeks before moving to Canada I voted for McCain. I believed that abortion was always wrong in every case, I believed that “gay marriage” was wrong, I believed that welfare programs were unnecessary because if every woman just got married to one man and he supported her and her kids there would never be a need for welfare, I believed that Christian rights and privacy were being violated by the government on a regular basis, and I believed that public schools were bad scary places. 4 years later, I am no longer a Republican.
 I remember being on a mommy chat board during my first and second pregnancies and someone started a thread on costs of prenatal care and childbirth. I mentioned that my uninsured home births had cost between six and seven thousand dollars each and felt proud that my costs were so low compared to  many people who spoke of struggling to pay bills even higher than mine which their insurance did not cover, such as for anesthesia and hospital stays. Others were uninsured because they were self-employed, or had to pay over thousand dollars a month for their private health insurance. People in Australia and Europe chimed in, shocked that anyone had to pay for anything. I felt sorry for them, I had been taught to not listen to anyone else who was not like me, I believed that those people were part of an evil system that they had no control over. In other words, I believed the lies I had been told rather than the stories of people who actually lived every day with Universal Health Care.
I was afraid of Universal Health Care, because I knew nothing else but what I had been told by religious propaganda and conservative think tanks.  They repeatedly spread the idea that Universal Health Care took away all choice. I was told that people were assigned doctors, and were not free to choose a different doctor. I was told that older people were denied health care and left to die because they were not a priority to the national interest. I was also told that abortion was pushed heavily on any woman who had an unwanted pregnancy or women who were pregnant with a child with disabilities. I was told that people with disabilities would be eliminated by government encouraged abortions or possibly even killed at birth (they wouldn’t want those people on the federal dole since they would “waste money” and “drain the system.”) Universal Health Care was often tied in my mind to places like China with their one child policy, places where the choice to have a large family would not be tolerated.
When I moved to Canada at the age of 23, and was forced to experience Universal Health Care and found that it was actually a good thing for pretty much every person I came in contact with, I began to question what else I had been told could be misinformation. Even the very conservative people I came in contact with in Canada were happy with their Universal Health Care. In Canada large secluded religious sects had all their health care needs met by the government and had no problem with that. The stuff I had been fed was purely propaganda. There was no cap on how many children you could have, no older people left to die, no forced abortions or elimination of special needs people. Even when Canadians complained about wait times and talked of maybe running to the states to get a service faster, after finding out that it would cost them tens of thousands of dollars out of pocket, most chose to wait instead. (And yes I am aware that optical and dental care are not covered, I wear glasses myself. And since I wasn’t spending years paying off emergency room visits or the leftover costs of my children’s births, I could actually afford to take my kids in for dental care every 6 months.) The system wasn’t perfect, but it was a decided improvement on what I had observed and experienced in the USA. 
I couldn’t pretend that Universal Health Care was evil any more.
Some could say that my conservative experience clouds my perception of Canadian health care, but doesn’t that apply to everyone? Every past experience influences how we see a new experience. I came to the conclusion that Universal Health Care was beneficial before I changed my opinion on birth control, before my spouse came out to me as transgender and I came to terms with my own sexuality, and before I became agnostic. I wrote about my views on health care from that (past tense) conservative perspective because that is truly what I believed at the time.
I no longer live in Canada (we were not citizens, and were only able to live there for the duration of a job) but I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to observe and investigate how a place other than the USA actually works, instead of hearing only the misinformation of American sources that have never experienced anything but the American system and yet insist it is the best.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    …And this is why I'd love to move to Canada. Though I hear these days, you have to live there for five years to get the insurance (may be different if it's a job transfer or something like your situation). I've heard that also, if you do have to pay out of pocket, the costs are much cheaper compared to the U.S. Is that true?

    • Arlene

      That is not the case at all. My hubby is American and is now covered under our provincial health care plan after spending 90 days in the country. I don’t know what your out of pocket costs are, but I know that people in border states often come to Canada to give birth. We were astounded that they would be willing to pay up to $6000 for birthing a child which is the out of pocket cost for a non-resident.

  • Anonymous

    CandiceJuly 21, 2012 2:16 PM
    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.

    CandiceJuly 21, 2012 2:23 PM
    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.

    Candice,

    Just because you are a republican does not make you an idiot – comparing indigent care to Canadian UHC does. It is an egregious error to purport that care you received at a single institution, on a given day, by a given medical team, in any way reflects on the health care system as a whole in Canada. Even if we took the health care provided at that institution over the course of a year would not reflect on Canada's health care system. Similarly, it would be wrong to use Mass. General, America's best hospital in 2012, as a benchmark for the usual care provided across the USA. You cannot take single experiences, institutions, or health care teams, and extrapolate that to the care of America's (and obviously Canada's) health.

    UHC can work in America, and it will work in America because it has to. There isn't another way of running a health care system to provide for 330 million people without bankrupting the country. Your nation spends more money on health care than any nation in the history of the world, and the care you receive as American citizens is – at best – average compared to other industrialized nations. It is a disgrace. That 30 million of your citizens have no health care is a disgrace. The fact that you defend it given your situation is terrifying. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    I was wondering how it has felt to have a post going truly viral and getting Michael Moore linking to you. Stressing having to deal with so many comments? Exhilarating? I think it is a good proof that you are a really good writer.

    PS: Really happy you abandoned the right-wing nuts' crazy beliefs when confronting with reality. Not that many people do it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18198727179598673499 arnie williamson

    Actually to get coverage in Canada, it begins 3 months after you arrive. Even people falsly claiming refugee status are covered. It's coverage is portable between provinces. Someone in Toronto can show thier Ontario Health card and be treated in Vancouver British Columbia with the same services provided local Vancouver people.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18198727179598673499 arnie williamson

    To get universal health care will be a bitter fight with insurance companies. It was a huge battle in Canada, but the governments of the day fought it as they were elected by the people and not the insurance companies.

    Recently Canadians were asked to vote on who they felt the greatest Canadian was. Ironically it was Tommy Douglas the man who brought tax funded health care to Canadians.

    Canadina health care owes it's origins to the great depression. The government of the post depression era commissioned a study to determine why the depressions hit Canadians so hard.

    The results were that job loss prevented proper nutrition to children resulting in high rates of illness. The high bankruptcy rate was due to large families and medical expenses.

    To ensure this would never happen again the government launched three initiatives that took time but eventually became the law of the land.

    First is the baby bonus (jokingly called stud fees in Canada. Over time it evolved into the modern child tax credit. It's original purpose was to provide a glass of milk per day for every child in the country regardless of economic status.

    The second was comprehensive unemployment insurance to ensure that if someone lost their job they could still afford to feed their families.

    The third was tax funded healthcare that was to be universal (the Prime Minister is operated on in the same operating room as everyone else). It was to be comprehensive. No one was to go without high quality health care. Finally it was to be portable. No matter where you travel in Canada your health care, unemployment insurance and child tax credit travel with you.

    • http://www.facebook.com/KeepThePresidentsBack P. D. Reader

      “Ooooh!! Don’t you know this is SOCIALISM, and that it is MARXIST???”
      I run a page dedicated to helping our President pass more progressive policies, and this is the kind of comment I have to put up with every day. I don’t know what is wrong with the people in this country, how many will be driven into desperate poverty, before we wake up and realize that WE have to stand up and make the government work for US, not the global elite who are using our government to bleed us to death and take every last drop of blood, and that pooling our money so EVERYONE can have their basic needs met is the BEST, not the WORST, thing.

      I’m sorry I’ve been born here and I am terrified for my future. PLEASE keep talking to us thick-headed, stupid Americans as we are hell-bent on destroying ourselves and our once-great country. We can take it. We need to hear it. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    How were you able to move to Canada?

  • Anonymous

    Bravo.

  • emirjame

    We, in Holland, have had systems for Universal Healthcare as long as I can remember.

    At the moment there is a 'basic insurance package' – which is mandatory & offered by all the different insurance companies. They can deliver it under different conditions (eg. you get this package, but we choose the doctor vs. you can use the practitioners you want) & in that sense they can still be competitive on price and quality. (And the products that customers really like are created).
    This 'basic package' can be topped up – with a broad variety of packages (also including dental care), created under certain government guidelines for price and quality. Here also there is broad choice because of the different insurance companies that offer them.
    And then – poor people get tax breaks or additional money from the government to afford them.
    So of course – people who have health concerns will always go and see a practitioner.

    I do not believe the system is very costly – it creates happy, healthy, confident people & it saves (eg.) a lot on things like emergency services.

  • emirjame

    By the way – we have one of the lowest abortion rates in the world. The main reason is a culture where good education on sex is widely available & both sex and pregnancy are, most of the time, real positive choices.

  • Anonymous

    Just for the record, a previous comment stated they guessed single payer health care in Canada was only available to residents/citizens after five years of being in Canada. This is false. Each province has an eligibility period of usually 90 days, but when I immigrated from the USA to Canada (since I married a Canadian citizen) it was only about two months before I received my health care card in the mail. Some provinces require a premium payment, but Alberta does not. We do acknowledge the system isn't "free" and use it as needed for preventative care and emergencies. Whatever system the USA migrates to, patients are going to have to be more responsible for their weight, exercise and general overall health.

  • Anonymous

    Generally, to be eligible for Ontario health coverage (OHIP) you must :
    be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or among one of the newcomer to Canada groups who are eligible for OHIP as set out in Ontario’s Health Insurance Act and be physically present in Ontario for 153 days in any 12-month period and be physically present in Ontario for at least 153 days of the first 183 days immediately after establishing residency in the province and make your primary place of residence in Ontario.

    OHIP coverage normally becomes effective three months after the date you establish residency in Ontario.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09337454432828777865 Carolyn

    And yes, the out of pocket rates are generally lower than in the USA. Because I was a Quebec resident living in Ontario, (Ah, student days – students don't change their province of residence normally, so I paid tax and got services from Quebec) I had to pay out of pocket and get reimbursed for routine care.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/09337454432828777865 Carolyn

    It's almost unbelievable, given how no politician dares touch the core of the program with a 10 foot pole, how much resistance the system had initially. I heard a documentary about it on the radio a couple days ago, about the 50th anniversary of the Saskatchewan Doctors' Strike.

    http://www.cbc.ca/thecurrent/episode/2012/07/23/50th-anniversary-of-medicare-crisis—documentary-2/index.html

    Favourite quote – asked if he's against the proposal, a man on the street asks: "Am I against communism?"

  • Anonymous

    In Montreal, Quebec, we go a couple of steps further. Universal prescription drug care ( includes vitamins if the doctor prescribes them ),Universal $7. a day/daycare(even if your NOT working as mothers or fathers or both, need a break or time to find a job, or are studying) , and six weeks of maternal AND paternal time off (at 55%,taxfree) after the birth of a child so BOTH parents can bond with the newborn.
    We pay ALOT in taxes,but,our children and people are our greatest resource,besides, they're mainly consumption taxes so the burden falls on our wealthier citizens. If you're not buying booze, cigs, or driving the big gas guzzler, you're not paying.(Businesses get the taxes refunded, so if you're a small businessman with a big pickup or a van you get your gas taxes back…)

  • Anonymous

    I have American friends who have lived in Canada now for over 20 years. Her propaganda teaching still shines through. She has had the benefit of having all her children here, all of her medical need thoroughly taken care of, experienced first and hand all the of the benefits of our system.
    What I absolutely cannot fathom, is the mindset she still has towards her "rights" and "freedoms". What do they put in the Kool-Aid down there?
    She has no gun in her home here, has no use for one. I asked her one day if she moved back to the states if she would get a gun, and without skipping a breathe the response was "yes, it is my right"
    I just cannot understand or comprehend, what it must be like to have all of that rhetoric of socialism, freedoms and rights so ingrained into me that after, 20 yrs I could not even start to chip away at the notion that it could be flawed thinking. My other friend recently went down to Chicago area to a christian, outdoor music festival (cornerstone??) Anyhow she was totally in shock of the christian weirdos accosting everybody with the signs, and preaching of rights,and placards stating what women should be doing,ie:head coverings, baby making, quiet in speech etc.) She was shocked, and dismayed and totally freaked out at the same time.The weird idea of freedom of speech being so ingrained that it alone becomes something almost alive. Many coutries like ours have free speech,but we don't feel the need to say that for extra power behind our words and opinions.
    The thought occurred to me the other day. And mind you these are just my thoughts. The rights and freedoms that Americans have been brainwashed with, are actually seemingly becoming the noose that is taking away life. Your freedom to choose, Ie: medical etc, is actually now becoming a death sentence for many financially,( and the limitations with insurance carriers.) The freedom to bear arms, is killing more and more everyday.( I am so sad, that those people at the movie theatre, who were shot, and now I am wondering how many families will be saddled with debt they cannot pay because of this horrible unexpected violence against them. The religious freedom is binding many minds and hearts into slavery of the mind. I think the USA is the number one country leading in cults.You have the freedom to believe what you wish, but some of those beliefs are killing the spirit and binding them in their thoughts and minds. The freedoms of the ability to make a life financially is slowly eroding, and poverty in which many immigrants were escaping from, now generations later becoming the ties that bind.
    All I am saying is I just cannot fathom, the propaganda and lies that are fed to you. Right from the get go, it seems your freedom to believe what you want is taken away from birth. It seems you are taught to believe what ever your parents/church/government want you to believe. It seems like such a dark fog to have to work your way out of. I just cannot begin to understand what this is like.It all seems like such a burden. A burden you all carry, but don't even realize it.
    When I was a teenager, I thought all american things were something to be envied. Now that I am in my forties, and paying attention, to your politics, religion,your economy, your rights/freedoms and seeing the fallout of what was once a grand nation, I am really not envious at all. I am disheartened. I am glad to be Canadian.
    KIll me with your comments, I can take it. Freedom of speech right?

  • http://buntart.babyl.ca Anja

    I found your blog via the facebook link and fell down the rabbit hole, reading away my morning, following a large part of your journey. You are an amazing writer, but what really blows me away about you is how, in the face of everything you've been told and taught, you find the courage and integrity to search and question and evolve and share. I hope you keep finding happiness for yourself and your family; you all so richly deserve it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03280291191286962710 Kacy

    Thanks for the sequal to your previous healthcare post. I know I started questioning universal healthcare when I moved from Texas, a state where it's very difficult to get on medicaid and in consequence has the highest rate of uninsured people in the US, to New York, a state where it's relatively easy to get government health insurance.

    It was the difference between going to a cruddy clinic for prenatal check-ups while paying out of pocket and going to a nice birthing center with my birth and prenatal appointments fully covered.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04738675176359102581 Carol StJohn

    Ah, there's the rub. Americans demand their freedom to be overweight, junk food eating couch potatoes.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18198727179598673499 arnie williamson

    In Canada the single payer health care is only on part of the social safety net. It is also backed by comprehensive unemployment insurance, the child tax credit (originally brought in post depression as the "baby bonus to ensure a glass of milk a day for every child.)In my home province of Ontario prescription drugs are free for seniors. (minus a $2.50 charge to minimize abuse.

    I think the justness of a society is measured by how we treat our poor. Just societies provide a social safety net and a hand up for those down on their luck. If you take a look at world crime rates, those societies with comprehensive social safety nets also have much lower rates of violent crime.

    As far as it being socialistic, didn't the US government in 2008 and 2009 provide a comprehensive social safety net for the wealthiest in its society when they bailed out the banks with taxes taken predominately form their middle class.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04738675176359102581 Carol StJohn

    I think it begins with a strict Christian church upbringing from a very young age. You must believe what you are told or you will go to hell. Questioning is evil. Once you have that indoctrination, you are a slave to any authoritarian figure. Just believe what you are told and don't think about it. We know best. You are a bad person if you don't fall in line. If you don't want to be bad, you parrot the line and think anyone who doesn't believe it is evil. If you figure that you are bad, then you're doomed anyway, so why not be a criminal, a druggie, a killer, etc.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13485446381669085720 SharonA

    I have lived in the US for all of my 69 years. I was raised in a staunch Republican family. My dad believed in Nixon until he admitted what he had done, then went into a total decline because he had been so deceived.

    I broke away during the time of the civil rights movement here in the 60s and the anti-war movement in the 70s. I was married to two gun nuts. I firmly believe I narrowly mised being killed by the one who was horribly abusive. (More of the "women whould be quite and passive and be available for all demands at all times" beliefs while still readily accepting the money I brought in from a good union job)

    I have become more and more on the liberal side until today if it were more powerful I would strongly consider moving to the Socialist Party. I wish I were not so old that Canada no longer seems to want me. I and my husband would move in a heartbeat. I have four children and 12 grandchildren here in the states, and I have taught them all what illusions we labor under.

    I only hope that our current rounds of elections will return the Democrats to more power so the health care initiative is not repealed. It's a start.

    When I was a girl, the South still had segregated schools and "colored" and "white" restrooms and drinking fountains. Women accepted lower pay for the same job as a matter of course because after all, men were supporting families. Abortions were illegal in most states except in the case of the life or health of the mother.

    Now it seems some states are retrenching to the idea that some people are less equal than others, especially if their skin is darker and they are poor. Families now need two wage earners to get above absolute poverty in most cases. Women's health issues are getting worse and worse.

    I hope to see another reversal in my lifetime. We HAVE made strides. Gay marriage is becoming a less feared thing. Most people are for a better health care system. The only thing holding it up in my opinion is the falsehood that the taxes on the average family will go up so far that it will be unaffordable. I am shocked when I hear in my part-time job as a tax professional that people are complaining that they are taxed too much on a net income of over 100,000 US. They are paying 15% for a married couple. People who make close to 1,000,000 US want us to reduce their taxes because they are "job creators" when they have never created a job for someone else in their lives except their nannies and maids – whom they pay at minimum wage – less if they think they can get away with it.

    I have traveled in BC, Alberta, Yukon and NW Territories fairly extensively. I see so much more of what I want for myself and my loved ones there. Perhaps we could arrange for you to invade?

    Actually, in a very subtle way, that is what is happening here in the Northwest. We see many of you here for the high-tech jobs which your education system has prepared you for admirably. Come see us, talk to us, help change us. Don't let us infect you with our fear and insecurity. There is hope for us yet.

    • Kathy

      Sharon, I so much enjoyed reading your post!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your blog and sharing your insights and transformations. . . there is a wonderful movie at "healthcaremovie.net" comparing the US and Canadian healthcare systems. Checkout the website and if inspired get the dvd and have a local showing.

    As to the American beliefs, I just saw several films which are terrific in explaining some of the basis for the 'beliefs'; metanoia-films.org and openfilms.com have several that are great. They take a bit of time to watch but are worth it. Try Psywars, Human Resources, and the 3-Part Power Principle. And if you like them please share them as well. I don't know how I found them but they are well done and informative.

    A small warning – some of the images are a bit disturbing. They didn't pull any punches. (I just returned from Norway. . . wonderful healthcare. . for people. . not for profits) Kit – Tacoma, Wa

  • Anonymous

    I'm an American and I consider the vast majority of Americans idiots.
    If there is one single example that stands out it is the 'Tea Party'. How could ANY single, rational human being allow ANY MEMBER of this faction to be in power. You must be an idiot to be a member of the majority that allowed this to happen.
    But we're talking about healthcare. Universal healthcare, known here as the public option. It will become a reality only when the Democrats have a majority in congress and a Democratic President. The entire Republican Party is in the pockets of the Insurance companies, as well as the oil companies, banks and other financial institutions and on and on. Their agenda is simple; an America of, by and for the corporations. Mitt Romney is their leader, and that majority of idiots who put the Tea Party in power, known here as Independents, will elect him.
    It is so obvious that the Democrats are for the people and the Republicans are totally indifferent to the needs of the people. They actually encourage the loss of jobs, foreclosures and a further deepening recession. They were the cause of this whole mess. They believed they could create this mess, blame it on the Democrats and the people would believe them. They were right. The Republicans know that the only way to beat a recession is to spend, yet they demand austerity while watching those European Countries go bankrupt through austere programs. Their plan is to get rid of Obama and hand our country to the corporations. It is obvious in everything they say and do. Yet, those Independents are blind to what Obama has been able to accomplish in spite of all the roadblocks the opposition have put in his way. They are blind to the agenda of the opposition.
    The polls show Obama and Romney in a dead heat. How could a rational, reasonably intelligent America allow this? There is only one explanation. They are idiots.
    companies

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16815903412829924359 Andrea Merida

    Melissa, thank you so much for your posts. I am so impressed with your newfound powers of discernment and for wanting to fact-check. I am a little sad to hear you call yourself an agnostic, though. Maybe you just mean you eschew an organized religion now. Maybe you're trying to make sense of what God is all about now that your life's apple cart has likely been upturned. But don't forget about God. Reconnect with the Sermon on the Mount and Matthew 25. Be still, and know that God is…in the faces of the poor and marginalized that the Bible constantly refers to. I am a progressive Catholic Christian, and I don't find any dichotomy at all in being this way, even though I know that some people see me as a walking oxymoron. Don't close off your heart.

  • Anonymous

    This is EXACTLY what my friend heard while visiting her boyfriend's parents just outside of Chicago!!!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    As an "Independent" American voter, I abandoned the Democratic party when they rolled over in 2000. I agree with you on virtually everything you said except that Republican/Independent Americans are idiots. My idea may not be popular but, with so many of them watching Right Wing television and listening to Right Wing radio, I believe they've been systematically brainwashed/hypnotized through subliminal messaging that the rest of us aren't subject to. My own beloved parents who who raised me to be color blind and treat everyone equally; who are generous to a fault and have operated a food pantry from their home for over 25 years feeding over 2000 people a year in their small California town – hate Obama and everything the "Liberal" agenda is trying to "force" upon the rest of us. They're on Medicare and have expensive insurance with Kaiser yet think Universal Health Care/Single Payer is the Devil's work. They are far from being idiots; but they listen to Rush and Hannity every day. Why else would otherwise intelligent people be so hard nosed about this and so many other subjects that benefit the wealthy and corporations other than they've been subliminally brainwashed/hypnotized? Give me a rational reason and I'll contemplate it.

  • Anonymous

    If this was a description of what Obamacare is…I was totally embrace it. This is a description of UHC….Obamacare is not UHC

  • Caravelle

    I hadn't gone back to that post in a while, 430 posts is truly something. Congratulations Melissa ! And MICHAEL MOORE linked to here ? Where ? Where ? :)

    (I see lower down someone recommended a film on healthcare, so I feel like I should tell people interested in comparative healthcare of different countries to watch Sicko if they haven't already. It's hilarious. And sad, and moving, and sarcastic, but Moore's show of disbelief at how the other systems work ("Okay, now show me the REAL billing department") is priceless)
    (warning to Canadians, Englishpeople, Frenchpeople and Cubans : may induce near-fatal levels of smugness)

  • Anonymous

    I won't attack you — I completely agree with you! All I would say in our defense is the whacky attitudes and beliefs are not universal down here. I live in the San Francisco area, where it's harder to find a Republican/Tea Party wing nut. Your friend wouldn't have had that same music festival experience here. She might have been offered a joint, but that's about it. :) I feel the crazy right wing views are held by fewer of each new generation, but they are just so loud and crazy, they drown out the sane people. Only time will tell which side will win out. For sure if Romney wins, it will be a huge blow to progressive thought. I know people joke about 'moving to Canada' if the candidate they want doesn't win… but I seriously will try to emigrate if Romney wins! I hope I have the skills and cash to be accepted in Vancouver. :)

  • Paula G V aka Yukimi

    Here in the second link inside the article near the end:
    http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/mike-friends-blog/its-guns-we-all-know-its-not-really-guns
    The same article was reposted in alternet too with the link:
    http://www.alternet.org/story/156465/michael_moore%3A_aurora_happened_in_america%27s_culture_of_twitchy%2C_bloodthirsty_killers

    It's so awesome that Melissa's article has been shared by facebook, twitter, … blogged and expanded about, reposted in sites like Boinb boing, … For every comment here and in all those other places there are many more lurkers. Thousands of people probably have read the article, isn't that wonderful?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    Wow, that's a lot quicker than I'd heard. Thanks! Just more motivation. :D

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02313929262584515550 Rue

    Exactly the way I was raised. I'm so glad I was able to break out of that.

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

    For us our health care began the moment we crossed the border with a job and a home address. I am not sure how it would work in other circumstances.

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

    It has been a little crazy and hectic. I was never expecting this amount of views. It was linked around on twitter pretty extensively, and then Michael Moore linked it at the bottom of his post on guns which was posted on several websites, so the traffic continues. I haven't been stressing about replying to comments, but I am swamped with emails again, so we will see how that goes. :)

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

    My spouse worked in a group that is bi-national, and took a job there on a temp work visa. After the job was over we moved back to the states. Applying to stay long term hadn't worked out.

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

    Yes! I agree that there needs to be comprehesive and accurate sex education, as well as access to quality birth control.

  • Anonymous

    Candice, The reason your indigent care is so horrible is because the reimbursement rates from the government are so low, few doctors want to accept it. They would rather not sign up to take Medicare. If we had true Universal Care in the US, this never would be a problem – just like in Canada, reimbursements would be at a rate that is negotiated by the government instead of mandated by the government. Big difference in care.

  • Anonymous

    Bring some skills. They are crying for the trades. You better bring a boat load of cash too because rent is not cheap. My friend pays 1300.00 a month for a 10th floor apartment over looking the harbour and Stanley Park. The catch? She is in low income housing. So I don't even know about what the normal cost is. People whine about low income housing…..but WHY WHY when you can get it in Coal Harbour and just a few blocks over from Yaletown.Maybe that is why they whine for more low income housing. They want to live in the most trendy part of the city for a fraction of the cost, in a million dollar apartment building….mmmmm sounds like a plan. Me? I live on an island, with the ocean, at my finger tips, for a pittance of the cost.

  • Anonymous

    You really have a progressive mindset. I have been in contact with a woman via her blog. She lives near Sumas Washington. She nearly blew my socks off with some crazy comment, that was clearly , clearly right wing propaganda.She was this really sweet "christian" lady and when she said what she said, it was such a horrid statement about the poor. It was SO unchristian it has been imprinted on my mind forever. Well, I stupidly thought since she was so close to the border, that we would have rubbed off on her a little. It was astounding to me how just a few miles away, she had such an incredible outlook, that was so vastly different than ours…..it shocked me and still shocks me to this day.

  • Anonymous

    Interestingly enough, when I was a kid living in a town that shared a border crossing with Washington state we would often go down to shop. Whilst there we would eat. MY GOD, I had never seen such huge portions in my entire life!! We used to go to a buffet called the Royal Fork in Bellingham, and a Black Angus Restaurant. The trend to put more food on the plate in Canadian restaurants has crossed the border, I am now seeing huge portions in restaurants now. My kids are in their late teens early 20's and we have traveled down a few times with them, and they just keep getting bigger and bigger.(We don't live close anymore)I know Wendy's in Canada now has changed the cup size and they are massive, as did Tim Hortons for coffee. Bigger is not better. I just wish, that fast food restaurants and other places had a cap size. It is not going to change what they eat at home, but it is just an example of what we "think" portions ought to be.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00937867749744182942 dmcrane1944

    I believe ObamaCare will be a road to UHC, just as Canada started their system in one Province and advanced from there. More people have to see how much it will help them. I am almost 70 and on Medicare, I just had my well-woman physical with no co-pay this year, will get my mammogram in a couple weeks, again with no copay. Seniors are now beginning to see the RX donut hole close, and saving an estimated $630 in just the first year through free exams and cheaper RX costs. My 40 yr old son is on ObamaCare Pre-Existing Condition Health Plan since he lost his job of 15 years and with it his medical insurance. As far as I can see it works just like my Medicare. Kept his same doctor, has seen specialists, has had a CT scan & blood tests, has an RX plan to get his meds at reasonable cost, has an affordable monthly payment, that would be subsidized if he needed it, has $25 co-pays. all of this he is able to manage even though he is only back to working part-time. No doctor or specialist has declined to take him as a patient,nor has his treatment been anything but the best available. I know a young couple who are small business owners and have never been able to afford healthcare for their 2 disabled daughters, one blind and one diabetic. Their little girls are now covered by PCIP at $109 mo per child (way below the $1000 plus cost of private insurance for pre-existing conditions) and the parent's are no longer worried about losing everything they have from a medical emergency.

    A businesswoman on TV this past week said she owns a small pet grooming business with 6 employees. She provides insurance for her employers and they also contributed part of the cost. Said her insurance has gone up every year for the past 10 years and it was becoming more burdensome for her and her employees. She recently received $6000 rebate from the insurance company because this law requires they rebate any money they collected that exceeded their 20% allowable admin fee and that exceeded what they had to spend on the employer and her employees. With the $6000 she was able to stop having her employees contribute to their insurance and pay it for them, which effectively gave them a raise in their paycheck. She also said that for the first time in 10 years the insurance rate did not go up. I was for single payer, but realized we would never get it in the current political climate, so am glad we got something passed. When the Medicaid part kicks in on Jan 1, Hospitals will no longer be stuck with huge hospital bills for patients who come to the Emergency Room without insurance and with no ability to pay. This will benefit everyone, as we already pay for these uninsured costs in our insurance rates. No more lifetime caps; no kicking people off their insurance because they dare to get sick. I just spent 4 year caring for my boyfriend with pancreatic cancer. He was a retired Army veteran and had great coverage, but we talked with many many people in the course of those 4 year who had been dumped by their insurance companies, or the companies had refused to authorize the procedure, test, or chemotherapy prescribed by the doctor. His government run insurance paid for the care his doctors recommended. It was never disallowed his treatments, unlike private insurance companies that put themselves between patient and doctor all the time. Give ObamaCare a chance, there are good things in it and the need of many is so desperate. I believe it will change and evolve over a relatively short time into pretty much single payer or Medicare for all.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00937867749744182942 dmcrane1944

    ObamaCare will become very like UHC and is already like Medicare. My 40 year old son lost his job and with it, his insurance. He is on ACA's Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan and it works exactly like my Medicare. He has kept his same primary care doctor & specialists; has an RX plan so that he can get his medications; has had a CT scan and blood tests. He pays $188 a month (far less than the $1200-$1400 he was quoted by private insurance companies which "excluded" his conditions). He has $25 co-pays; $3 generic medications & $6-$20 for brand name meds. He is able to afford these fees even though he is only working part time now, but the care and his medications have kept him out of the hospital. However, he had to wait 6 months after losing his insurance to be able to get on PCIP. Within about 15 days after he lost his job, and while he still was covered by his former work insurance he was hospitalized with acute pancreatitis for 29 days, he was running high fever, in great pain, could not eat solid food, and on stomach tube feed most of that time. 10 days after he went in the hospital, his former job insurance ended, and the balance of his stay was without insurance which neither the hospital nor he was aware. He now has a $90K hospital bill which he will never be able to pay off, but at least since they thought his insurance was still in force they kept him until he was well and able to eat solid food. Three months later he was in emergency again, this time they knew he had no insurance, and put him out in 3 days..still running a fever, still very ill. At least now with doctor care and his medications he has not had to be in the hospital again for the past year.

    I have friends who have a small business and who have 2 little girls with pre-existing birth conditions, one blind, one diabetic. They had insurance for themselves, but had never had it for the girls because they consistently were denied coverage by private insurance companies. The girls are both now on PCIP and the parent's no longer have to worry that they will be financially destroyed by an emergency with their kids. They pay $109 a month per child with $25 co-pays and RX plan. They can afford this.

    I saw a woman on TV this past week who owned a small pet grooming salon and employed 6 people. She provided insurance for her employees, although the employees contributed to the plan as well. She said her rates had gone up every year for the past 10 years and it was getting harder and harder to carry the insurance. This year, because of ACA rules that require insurance companies to rebate amounts that exceed 20% allowed for administration, and excess the company did not use to pay for health services, she received a $6000 rebate. She says she was able to use that to let her employees stop contributing to it and pay it all herself. That gave her employees an effective "pay raise" since they weren't having insurance taken out of their check. She also made a point of saying that for the first time in 10 years the insurance company did not raise their rates. And the obvious reason for that is because with rebate for excess provision the insurance company does not want to have to be giving out bigger rebates next year. Cost control works where greed is concerned..those insurance executives may not be taking their next big tip on the backs of the sick.

    I am retired, live on Social Security of $974 a month. I'm on Medicare. I just had my yearly physical done without a co-pay (savings $100). Next week I get my mammogram without a co-pay (savings approx. $150). The RX donut hole is being shut and will be totally gone by 2020. The savings to seniors this year on these 3 things alone is estimated to be over $600 a year. If you don't think that't a lot, try living on my income and see how much difference that makes. I have a mortgage free home, but that $600 will pay my homeowners insurance.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16310514726517294360 john

    Only Ontario and British Columbia have the premium you talk about, because they are penalized with lower federal funding for allowing for profit clinics. No other province or territory but BC and Ontario has this charge.

  • Anonymous

    Obomber isn't a democratic president,but a corporate whore. And the Democrats don't give a shit about normal citizens. The Green Party is the only one that cares about people.

    • http://www.facebook.com/KeepThePresidentsBack P. D. Reader

      …and you figure that how, exactly?

  • Anonymous

    I spent much of my first 18 years of life in hospital having a dozen surgeries for a degenerative condition of the spine. Today, due to inexpensive and outstanding care, I am a healthy, successful professional with a salary in the top 5-10% among Canadians.

    Had I been born in the USA, my parents would have been faced with bills in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, perhaps millions. I shudder to think I may have ended up in a wheelchair if I'd been born a couple hours to the south, and been a burden on the system instead of enriching it with my tax dollars.

    Canada's system is far from perfect, but with much lower healthcare costs and much better outcomes for EVERYONE, rich or poor, it doesn't take a genius to understand it runs rings around the American system…unless of course your country is completely corrupted by people who have a financial interest in obscuring those facts.

    I love the USA, but Americans need to shake out of their ideological fog and realize healthcare should never be sold to the highest bidder.

    The fact that the richest, most powerful country in the world has the worst healthcare among developed countries is an absolute affront to human dignity.

    • Sarah H.

      My husband was born with Spina Bifida and scoliosis. He had multiple surgeries before he turned 18 as well. It was all made possible by Shriner’s Hospital. There are definitely resources for those in need. US citizens care about people and those in need. There are lots of places like Shriner’s out there for those who cannot pay for their children’s healthcare.

  • Anonymous

    I am a physician…..it isn't that most doctors don't accept it…..it's that state and counties won't fund it

  • Anonymous

    There is nothing ironic about Tommy Douglas being the greatest Canadian of all time. As Canadians, we realize the importance and benefit of UHC and how it has shaped our country and improved our quality of life.

  • Margaret

    No offense, but the Green Party is a looong way from being a force in American politics. I am not at all impressed with Jill Stein, or any other candidate they have promoted. I call it the "Green Tea" Party. Only the Tea Party has been much more successful here, much as I loath them. I worked a Single Payor advocacy table at their convention in Minnesota. The people were nice enough, but utterly without cohesion or message. Obama is not perfect, but their *is* a difference between the Democratic and Republican parties, especially if you are: a woman, gay, minority, middle class or poor.
    I am sticking with Obama, but am seriously looking at moving to Canada, mainly due to the health insurance issue. Fortunately, I am a physician assistant, and they have started using us in Canada. I think it is going to be a long, bloody battle to bring down Big In$urance in this country. They are truly evil.

    Melissa, fabulous blog, and congratulations on your transformation. I am not agnostic, but definitely finished with organized religion.

  • Margaret

    I meant to say, the people at the Green Party event were nice but without cohesion or message. Few Tea Party People I have met are "nice."

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02988610775554524387 LanceThruster

    Well said.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17840372084277614093 Nana Sew Dear

    It must be wonderful to grow older with all the accompanying physical concerns and feel secure that will not end up in a homeless shelter if a serious illness occurs. We can only hope that Obama is reelected. If not, you cannot go to Canada on the strength of "my grandfather was a citizen!"

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17840372084277614093 Nana Sew Dear

    Yes, everyone in the US that supports a nationl health plan is called a Socialist or a Communist. I take that as a compliment.
    Back in 2010 I was traveling with a couple conservative christian woman to a fabic and sewing show. One of the women was a shop owner and paid for private insuance for her family. She was checking the email in her hotel room one evening and ranting about her increasing insurance premiums. I mentioned how impressed I was with socialized medicine and how I thought it would help her family. It was not with an appreciative tone that she said, "I'm not gonna pay taxes so somebody can sit on their butt and get something for free." Not stupid, just brainwashed by selective media exposure.
    Just to be clear, I am an atheist and I feel as though I have more compassion. If this woman is learning this in church, that church should lose it's tax -exemption.

    • Sarah H.

      You can have compassion while at the same time believe in personal responsibility.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17840372084277614093 Nana Sew Dear

    Well said.

  • Anonymous

    Least we forget to mention the profit motif in "nursing homes" and the fraud and abuse these private institutions inflict on the elderly. Not to mention the financial shananagans.

    LOL: "it's the best of possible worlds" ("le meilleur des mondes possibles")-Leibniz

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18198727179598673499 arnie williamson

    Universal Healthcare in Canada did not come instantly. It came incrementally beginning in Saskatchewan. In Ontario OHIP was introduced in the 60's but only paid 70-80% of the costs of most things. In the early seventies due to a minority government in power it was topped up to include 100% coverage but specialists were still permitted to extra bill above the provincial coverage. In the early 80's again in a minority government, the Liberal government of David Peterson banned extra billing and we had completely tax funded and universal coverage coast to coast to coast (Canada has 3 coast lines).

    In our remote territories dental therapists are part of the school system and perform dental checkups and minor fillings of our children.

    Our welfare system also provides free eye care, drugs, and dental care to those who are down on their luck and needing welfare. Yes there is some abuse of the system. That is the price we tolerate and underwrite to ensure the aid gets to those who genuinely require it.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17021891826074851837 Pierre Phaneuf

    I remember very vividly (like many other people!) 9/11, but for something else in addition to the obvious: I flipped between CBC news, BBC news, CNN, and FOX news the whole day.

    For many years before, I had wondered how so many otherwise smart and nice Americans would hold some rather odd opinions, and in my view, a bit nutty, even!

    But that day, flipping the channels, I saw how the same information was presented differently, and I finally understood. It wasn't really their fault, from their point of view, it all made a lot more sense. On CNN, it was pretty slanted already, and on FOX news, I thought it was outright propaganda, just as you called it here.

  • Anonymous

    I think this is the logical outcome of ACA in the USA. A gradual tightening of the rules under which healthcare insurance companies operate, until they are essentially treated like heavily regulated utilities with a duty to provide insurance to whoever wants it. A lot of countries that have universal health care today reached that goal by using the existing insurance sector as the scaffolding.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/05874469604601905071 Wayne Allen

    I was born in the States in 1951, and came to Canada in 1975 (otherwise known as one of the best days of my life.) My parents retired to Montana, and in 1981 my mom had minor surgery, got a staph infection, and was in hospital around 90 days.
    They were living on Social Security, and Medicare covered their portion. Their part of the "stay" was 25,000 in 1981 dollars.
    SS took 150 a month off their cheque for the next decade.
    I sponsored them and moved them to Canada the next year.
    One day after their arrival, mom was in pain. Took her to the hospital. Bowel blockage. They had to operate, and took out a foot of bowel.
    I want to the OHIP office (as others have written above, there's a 90 day wait for coverage. The nice lady said, "oh dear, your poor mom. I'll backdate her arrival and OHIP will cover her."
    Now today that might not happen (we did get touched by the debt crisis South of our border) but still…
    I have had 3 doctors, the last for 30 years. He's a friend. When he retires, I can choose from 6 other doctors in his practice, or find one elsewhere.
    My choice.
    One more thing: my parents files their first Canadian Income Tax form in 1892. Got a letter, stating, "Your SS payments are ridiculously low." The Canadian Govt. gave them a (I think) 200-300 per month Old Age security "bump," despite the fact they never paid taxes in Canada.
    And my mom, ever the "American," would complain, "Yes, but cream cheese and aluminium foil is cheaper in Buffalo!"
    I sit here, in the true North, strong and free, and smile, and shake my head.
    Some might call it Socialism — I call it basic regard for the dignity of human life.

  • Anonymous

    There is a fantastic congnitive dissonance going on in the mind of a Conservative about Universal Health Care.

    My question to them: Why should small and large businesses have to shoulder the entire burden of providing health care to the American public? Why do the Job Creators and Innovators That Make America Great have to foot the bill for a public need? Are we punishing them for being Capitalists?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/18198727179598673499 arnie williamson

    A single payer system makes the most sense. In Canada administration of the health care plan is something like 2 percent of the cost. The rest is for delivery of services.

    In the states due to the hundreds of coverage plans my understanding that hospitals in Buffalo spend something like 35% of the costs to administer dispensing of services and following up with all of the insurance plans and the general public who are uncovered.

    A single payer system would remove a mountain of costs not directly related to delivery of services and free this money up for service delivery.

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

    I am in the process of going through quite a few medical hoops. There is a better than not chance that my eventual diagnosis (likely by the end of this month) will be rather advanced cancer. I was railing about wait times (because that's what Canadians do, complain about the wait times for anything medical) to an online friend, who happens to be an American and a cancer survivor. She asked about the wait times, and directed me to a website that listed the recommended and 'typical' wait times for the procedures I was getting. Here in Nova Scotia, which is notoriously understaffed medically and has longer than the national average wait times for pretty much everything, my wait was ONE week longer than the recommended timeframe for the procedure, and two weeks longer than recommended for the biopsy results. Hardly worth complaining about when you take into account that my care was completely, 100% free at time of use (I understand that I pay via taxes, but my family gets almost all our taxes refunded because of our income level). The same battery of tests in the US would have cost roughly $5000 for an insured person. My friend told me not to worry too much about the wait time, because it gave me a chance to "apply for funding". I was very confused until she explained that when she had cancer, she had had to apply to several organizations and charities to get funding to help offset the cost of her medical care. Apparently, this is VERY common in the USA for cancer patients, because they can expect to hit all of the caps for care from any insurance policy available, if the cancer is advanced.

    That was when I realized, that if I lived in America, there was not only a very good chance that the odd 'slightly off' symptoms I was experiencing probably would never have prompted me to make a doctor's appointment in the first place, because I wouldn't have thought that they were worth the cost; but that I would likely have declined testing and/or treatment because of the costs.

    Never, EVER have I been so grateful to be Canadian as right now, when I'm looking at multiple surgeries, repeated expensive tests, hospital stays, even potentially having to travel out-of-province to specialists for care. The cost of prescription medications in Canada can be damaging enough to families that don't have additional insurance, fortunately, I do have prescription coverage through my husband's job (at a cost of roughly $100/month for our family of 5). The idea of having to choose between feeding my children while I die, or risking homelessness for my entire family while I fight for my life, if I didn't manage to secure loans or charity aid for my medical costs just seems ridiculously cruel and callous.

    My oldest child may end up having to go to school closer than he anticipated, or rely on scholarships, because of my (likely) illness, but he won't be saddled with helping to dig us out of crippling debt. My younger children will still have gifts under the tree at Christmas, and regular dentist appointments, and antibiotics if they get strep throat.

    Thank goodness for universal health care!

  • Anonymous

    I am Canadian and have lived long enough to remember all of the steps we have taken to UHC. both my husband and I are classified as old. My husband is 89 1/2. He has had depression all his adult life and we have not paid any money for his psychiatric care. As seniors we get all our drugs free except for the dispensing fee ($4.11) When we add up the cost of the medications we take, it would be close to $1,00.00 a month.
    When we go to the doctor (who we have had for 25 years) the secretary always gives us a double slot of time as my husband has so many health problems. There is never and hint that "as he is old, it isn't worth all that attention."
    When I hear of the number of people who are bankrupted by health care, I am profoundly sad, and grateful that our Canada was willing to go through the necessary steps to give us the protection we need.
    By the way, Between us we have had one hip replacement, one shoulder replacement (for my husband) and two knee replacements (for me) and the only money we had to pay was for parking. All of these were done by the best surgeon in the area. We know we are blessed.

  • Tina

    This post is what has put you in my email inbox and on my homepage as daily reading and following you on Facebook…I do not want to miss aword you type! I have been terrified of the Obama healthcare it has made me hate the man…I certainly hope that you are right and this is what we have to look forward to….

    • Kathy

      Tina, Obama healthcare is not universal health care. I think he would have liked to establish universal health care but no way he could get that past our current politicians. What he passed was health care reform meaning we have the same system we always did, just with new protections, mandates. Things like you have to have insurance or be penalized, then good things like being able to put your grown children up to 26 on your insurance plan if you want. I have insurance at work, my daughter does not so this allows her to become insured via me. There are a host of other new reforms and they tried to include more working poor into medicaid but states that are Republican will opt out of doing that. So you will still have what you have and you don’t have you might have.

  • Leo

    First of all, I really appreciate your blog…not because I have anything to gain from it, but because it gives me hope that more and more Americans will come to the conclusion that you cannot afford not to have non-profit based healthcare in the US. While you are an American that temporarily lived in Canada, I am a Canadian that is temporarily living in the US. And although I currently have health insurance through my employer, that doesn’t prevent me from sympathizing with the Americans around me that are not covered…I could not imagine how much it would cost them to go to the ER. Even with my current health coverage, which is basically costing me nothing up front, I was still surprised to see the word “co-pay”…I mean, I know there are small fees of a couple dollars to pick up prescribed drugs in Canada (I lived near Toronto by the way), but some procedures were like 20% co-pay should I get them…my point is that it ends up costing proportionally more for poorer people to get great healthcare and your point was right about how you can measure a country’s progress by how they treat their poor. Ever since I’ve moved to the US, Texas to be more specific, I’ve notice that there is an obsession with personal rights and freedoms…and the notion that people shouldn’t be forced to buy insurance almost seems selfish and equate to “I have the right NOT to help out fellow citizens” because in a for-profit/private system, those that suffer aren’t the ones with the money to pay for medical needs, but those that cannot afford them. By not contributing to society through taxes and buying in to universal healthcare, people are essentially screwing the poor. Besides, you end up spending more on health care out of pocket than you would have with universal healthcare costing you a percent or two higher in taxes over the long run…services when you need it…it’s what insurance is all about…same goes with car insurance, home insurance, etc…and even fire and crime insurance = fire and police dept…paid for by tax dollars…all necessary and essentially mandatory…can you choose not to pay taxes that go towards the fire dept?

    I’m starting to rant now…but needless to say, I hope for all Americans’ that for your own good, try to adopt a system that is less for-profit run by private companies and move towards a system that covers all…so that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. I know a system like the one in Canada may not work if it were magically copied in the US because of current systems/laws in place…but the closer you move towards this system, the quicker more people’s earnings can go towards retirement instead of a open-heart-surgery fund.

  • Sarah H.

    Leo, how much do you pay a month into UHC? I don’t have insurance because I can’t afford it. If I could I would through my work. If I can’t afford to pay for insurance how can I afford to pay for UHC insurance? I’m not trying to be belligerent. I simply don’t really know how it all works in Canada nor do I know how it would work here because other readers are right that Obamacare isn’t the same as UHC.

    • Rob

      You don’t purchase UHC – Canadian Style as an insurance policy. The Federal Gov’t collects the provincial and federal income taxes and then disperses the taxes back to the provinces. The provinces then decide how much to spend on each provincial responsibility, like health care and such.

      I pay about 25% of my income in total tax (federal and provincial), employment insurance, and Canadian Pension Plan. Some poorer people make less then the basic personal amount (about $9000 per year I believe), so they pay nothing (besides sales taxes which vary from province to province, CPP, and EI). This amount includes your health care.

      You can get supplemental insurance for glasses, drugs, dental, EMS, and other non-primary care by personal purchase or quite a few businesses provide this as a benefit to their employees.

  • Eivind

    Your experience is, I think pretty typical. The only people I’ve met who are strongly opposed to basics like universal healthcare, parental-leave and by-law minimum paid vacations are people who have never experienced any of those things, and have grown up in a monoculture where they’re told that those things are socialist and thus by definition evil.

    How does 54 weeks of parental leave with 12 weeks reserved for each parent, and the rest to be split as the couple sees fit sound to you ? What about mandated minimum paid vacation ? Government-subsidized childcare ? Tuition-free education at all levels ?

  • markg91359

    Thank you for your honest comments about healthcare in Canada that are based on personal experience. I personally am sick and tired of brainwashed people in America who constantly talk about “socialized medicine”. Very few have experienced what health care in Canada is really like. My family and I have done that. The quality of care we got in Canada was excellent.

    Eight years ago, on vacation my son became ill. I greatly feared from his symptoms that he was suffering a ruptured appendix or something similar. We took him to a walk-in medical clinic where he was seen within one hour without an appointment by a good, capable physician who instantly realized this was not a minor problem and admitted my son to the local hospital. It turned out that my son did not have a ruptured appendix. He did have an infection which was cured with antibiotics and a three day stay at the hospital. My son was immediately given diagnostic tests at the hospital which included 2 CT scans. So much, for the notion that you get put on “waiting lists” for these tests huh? His attending physician was a very caring pediatrician who saw my son no fewer than five times during the day he was admitted to the hospital. When all was done, we were given a bill for the care provided. This bill for all the care was about equal to what our co payments would have been for the same care in the United States.

    The truth is that the Canadian people have a very high level of health care and they are not breaking themselves financially to pay for it. They’ve figured out how to use scarce resources efficiently and effectively. In America, we may never figure that one out because it runs against the “profit motive”. Their system isn’t perfect and I don’t want to assert it is. Some hospitals and clinics are old and could use updating. Hospital rooms are not luxury hotel rooms like they are in America. They are simple. Some rooms are “double rooms”. Some share a bathroom with an adjacent hospital room. Some hospitals could use more space and newer facilities. However, all these things cost money and a decision has been made not to go this route unless its vitally necessary. In America, one of our problems is that we “want the very best”, yet so many people think someone else should pay for it. That doesn’t work and its time we learn that health care–like anything else–can be made for efficient.

    I hope someday we see a system like the one in Canada in our own country. I fear it will be a long time though. There are simply too many ignorant people and too strong of a health insurance lobby.

  • Cedar Cat

    Wow, your spouse came out to you as transgender only after your 4th child??? Not really understanding how that is possible.

    • Melissa_PermissionToLive

      Perhaps reading the full story would better explain it to you. Click on “Our Love Story” at the top of my blog.


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