Former Philadelphia Steve Lopez crosses the supermarket picket lines in Los Angeles to go shopping with a self-employed fellow named Jim Chavez. Like most of us who are self-employed, Chavez has a lousy, expensive deal for health insurance. This makes him less than sympathetic to the striking grocery workers who are having to pay more for even less of a health-care benefit.
"I'd walk through a lava pit for the deal they've got," said Chavez, who, like a lot of us, can't make heads or tails of the nation's haphazard health care system, with all its maddening inequities and inefficiencies.
But while Chavez isn't celebrating solidarity with the striking workers, the health care system itself — or the lack of such a system — is the target of most of his animosity.
Maybe now is the time, Chavez said, to quit this insanity and convert to universal health care. It can't be worse than what we've got now — 300 million dissatisfied customers nationwide, and counting.
Universal health care? Isn't that what those crazy Canadians have? Sure, our burdensome, multi-layered system keeps millions from access to affordable care, but do we really want to embrace the kind of system that has bankrupted Canada's national treasury?
Oh wait. What does this CBC News report say?
OTTAWA – The federal government's coffers brimmed with a surplus of $7 billion for the last fiscal year, Finance Minister John Manley reported Wednesday. …
The surplus for the 2002-2003 fiscal year, which ended on March 31 was the sixth straight year that Ottawa's books have been in the black. …