is still moving along and is still providing great comic relief in a stressful time. It’s like watching a reality TV show, it has no basis in reality and the outcome is a huge who cares.
The Left can’t figure out what they want to do or how to do it. The President wants change, the Speaker of the House won’t pass legislation without a public option which no one else seems to want, Harry Reid wants to get re-elected and there are usually 3 or 4 different bills floating around Congress and the Senate. It seems that the Democrats would rather run around in chaos instead of sitting down and putting together a single coherent plan. The Right knows exactly what they are doing, simply discredit everything that comes from the Left.
The most fascinating part of the debate for me though, is the way the story changes over time. Initially I was astonished to find out just how bad the Canadian health care system was when I first heard Sean Hannity, Dick Morris and others on the Right talk about it. Now, being a Canadian and having used the health care system for 47 years as did all my family and friends I was quite surprised to hear how awful it was. The folks on the Right started by arguing against the Canadian system using specific facts and figures that supported their argument. Over time, however, their argument has changed, now they just say bad things about the British and Canadian systems with complete disregard for any facts at all. I suppose the pundits on the Right believe that they have made their case so now they can just make any statements they want , even if it is a complete lie. The truth, it seems, has no place in politics or cable news.
The reality is that from a patient’s perspective the Canadian health care system is superior to the U.S. system in every way. First of all the cost is almost nothing in comparison to any plan in the U.S. When I lived in Alberta 10 years ago we paid $90.00 per month per family. Some friends in British Columbia tell me they are currently paying $100.00 every 3 months and the rates are probably similar across the other provinces. The other financial win in Canada is that you never get a bill. If you go to the doctor for the sniffles or you spend months in a dialysis machine and then have your kidney transplant you never get a bill. The concept of bankruptcy because of medical bills doesn’t exist in Canada. I also like the fact that I can go to any doctor any time any where in Canada. Here in the U.S. insurance companies like to dictate which doctors you can go to. I was rather surprised when I got my first health insurance card in the U.S. and it had a physicians name on it. I was surprised and asked a co-worker, what’s this, do doctors advertise on health care cards? He laughed and said, no, that is the doctor you have to go to. I was even more surprised the first time I went to a doctor and actually got a bill afterwards. It was a delightful pile of paper carefully explaining what had been done, what was covered by insurance and what I was responsible for. Personally I’ve seen little difference in the quality of care between Canada and the U.S., my experience has been about the same in both. My wife, however, has seen a rather large difference. In 10 years here she has never actually seen her doctor, she has alway seen a Nurse Practitioner, the cost, however, remains the same. Folks in the U.S. like to tell me about the long waits in Canada which is always good for a laugh. The longest waits we’ve ever experienced, even for a basic appointment, are here the U.S.
I could go on writing volumes about the differences but having used the U.S. system for 10 years and the Canadian system for many more than that, I can honestly say the Canadian system is far superior for the average consumer.
The truly sad part of the U.S. health care debate is that everyone seems ready to make changes so there is a unique opportunity to craft a great system and that opportunity is going to be wasted.