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Universal Health Care? Only if You are a Communist

Updated on July 22, 2009

All or Nothing

If people could separate themselves for just a moment, from their political beliefs, and look at the health care issue objectively, they would probably have a change of heart.  Republican Americans want people to believe that universal healthcare is akin to being a socialist or communist country.  How silly is that?  Seriously...

The tv ads that show Canada's healthcare system as being that of something you'd see in a 3rd world country are nothing short of bunk.  There's even one where a Canadian woman states that she had to go to the US to have life saving surgery that wasn't available to her in Canada.  She forked over $100,000 to have this surgery performed. 

This woman would rather that those who cannot afford private insurance, or that $100,000 to travel and pay for life saving surgery, have no care at all.  Things that make you go hmmm...

Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

When the Truth is Boring, Make Shit Up

Is the Canadian system really that bad? If you poll Americans, who have been fed the crap that people are dying in droves in Canadian hospital waiting rooms, most would be quite certain that the Canadian system is not one they would want to borrow from. But if you were to poll Canadians on whether they'd like a private system, like that in the US, the vast majority would also say no. As a Canadian, I can tell you with the utmost certainty that the Canadian system is not nearly as scary as your politicians would like you to think.

Are there waiting lists? You bet. Is the system overtaxed? Absolutely. Could it be more efficient? Without a doubt. Does it need to be reformed? Of course! Does that mean it stinks? Of course not! ALL Canadians, regardless of their income, their political affiliation, religious beliefs, or anything else, enjoy a BASIC level of care.

Yes, it is pretty basic. We take going to the doctor for granted. We don't think about how much it costs to have a baby. If we are sick, we go to the doctor. If it is after doctor's hours that we become sick or injured, we head down to our local E.R. We don't give it a second thought. We view it as our right. No one is ever denied care because they don't have the money to cover doctor or hospital visits.

Those in our country who are opposed to a private health care system are concerned that private care sets up a two (or more) tiered system, where the wealthy will enjoy a better standard of care than the poor. They seem not to understand that the wealthy already have that. Just like the lady in the aforementioned American tv commercial didn't want to wait in line for her surgery, those who can afford to pay their way to the front of the line, always have and always will. So we could keep those dollars here in Canada by offering a combination of both public and private health care. We do in fact have private supplemental insurance to cover things not covered by the private system. You won't hear about that in those commercials though.

A brief look at stats will clearly show that Canadians are actually healthier than Americans. That kind of flies in the face of Canadians dying in ER waiting rooms, but it is a fact.

Why must we always be so dramatic? Why not step out of our political box and do a little research and THINK for ourselves? Instead of Americans buying the media bullshit and forming opinions based on hype, smoke and mirrors, why not find out what is working in the Canadian system? Why focus on the exceptions rather than the rule? The reality is not nearly as exciting as the bullshit, but it may provide you with good information when it comes to reforming your own system.

Both private and public care have positives. Wouldn't both Canada and the US be wise to take the components of their current systems that work well and implement those into their own reformed health care system?

There are those who say that a universal system means a second rate system; that it cannot compare to the private system in terms of level of care. Perhaps that is so, I don't know, but it sounds pretty freaking selfish to me when you have millions in your country who cannot afford ANY level of care.


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    • Anita Dugan-Moore profile image

      Anita Dugan-Moore 

      6 years ago

      I'm so glad to have come across this Karen! Those who are opposed to Universal Healthcare here in the U.S. have certain partaken of the Republican Koolaid in mass quantities. They don't WANT to see or believe that this type of healthcare is actually better...why? Money. It comes down to the all-mighty buck...for insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, wall-street, and the wealthy businessmen in the long-run who have their hands deeply into all of the above.

      The far-right in this country has lost sight of what's best for the people and focus on what's best for their wallets. They want people to believe countries like Canada and England have people dying in droves when it's simply not true...and unfortunately there are too many American zombies who will soak up the propaganda instead of doing the research for themselves to see how untrue it is.

      I for one, couldn't be happier that the Healthcare Act has passed and been upheld by our Supreme Court, we've needed this for far too long!!

    • chefsref profile image

      Lee Raynor 

      7 years ago from Citra Florida

      Hi karen, good hub.

      What usually goes unmentioned in this debate id the profit motive. I must be a Commie because I don't think anyone should consider how much money they will make or lose if I use my health insurance. As to the uninsured we already pay for their care in the most expensive way possible, in the emergency room,for someone that wants lower taxes that should be an outrage. Oh well, if the conservatives get their way medicare and social security will be turned over to Wall street and we will have to die to save money

    • Ralph Deeds profile image

      Ralph Deeds 

      8 years ago from Birmingham, Michigan

      Very good job, Karen. But what about the Canadian death panels?! Just kidding. I live across from Windsor and every Canadian I've asked has said he or she wouldn't trade their health care system for ours in a million years. Some expressed minor complaints, but every one I've spoken with basically likes the Canadian system.

    • lmmartin profile image

      lmmartin 

      9 years ago from Alberta and Florida

      Hi Karen,

      Couldn't agree with you more. I'm a Canadian who migrates back and forth between Alberta and FLorida. I usually get my health care in Canada. I've never seen hundreds of people dying in our hospital emergencies and I do wonder where all that originates.

      And to one of your commentors, I travel the U.S. considerably and have for four decades now. Yes, there are millions of people in America without insurance and no, they are not all illegal aliens and those who opt not to insure. Some of those millions are friends, with families and my heart aches for them.

    • Karen Weir profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Weir 

      9 years ago from Alberta Canada

      good advice thurstjim, thank you. I will do that on the next rant! lol

      Hxprof, I could not agree more wrt your greed comment. Surely a for profit health care system fosters more greed than a non profit, but perhaps I am being a tad idealistic. While I am certainly in favor of maintaining our universal health care system here in Canada, I also believe it needs reform - I believe that we can learn from each other, but the political spin and lack of accurate information is outrageous.

    • profile image

      Hxprof 

      9 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

      Karen, well written article. I don't favor universal healthcare in America regardless of what it's like in Canada-I believe we need to reform it, not replace it.

      America and the west in general suffer from one common thing: Greed. No healthcare system can remove greed from our hearts. As long as that's the case there will never be such a thing as a perfect healthcare system.

    • thurstjm profile image

      thurstjm 

      9 years ago from Mysterious

      Excellent hub. The only thing I would suggest is that you incorporate some of the statistics on how much each country pays per capita for health care and what the wait times actually are for a variety of procedures.

      Good job.

    • Karen Weir profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Weir 

      9 years ago from Alberta Canada

      Rochelle, did you actually read the original post? Those treatments that you are being told are not available in Canada ARE available. People who can afford to pay out of pocket can have it done faster than those who can't. The public system is not perfect, but the wait times that you are being told are NOT TRUE.

      I am for a system that does provide the private care so that those folks who go to the US to avoid the 3 to 6 week wait for procedures such as MRI's, can spend their money here.

      Having said that, my understanding is that Obama's plan is have a combination of both private and public so until Canada catches up with that idea, our wealthy will continue to head down there.

      Thanks Mighty Mom. When I saw the woman from Canada spewing the b.s. on an Amercian tv commercial, I could not believe what I was hearing. It really irks me when people stoop to that level to garner support. For that woman to stand up and reinforce the myths is truly an outrage. She's really just pissed that the gov't wouldn't pay for her to to have the procedure in the US, or bump her to the front of the line. (IMHO)

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      9 years ago from California Gold Country

      So if the US adopts a similar system, where will the Canadians go for "treatment that isn't available in Canada" as in your example?

    • Mighty Mom profile image

      Susan Reid 

      9 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

      Hello Karen, I must begin my comment with an apology. I assumed, based on your title, that this was going to be a Republic rant AGAINST universal healthcare. How wrong I was!

      I could not agree with you more. No RATIONAL person could argue against providing a basic human necessity to ALL citizens. If you are willing to spend government funds to protect America and Americans against foreign foes/terrorists, why would you be unwilling to use government funds to protect Americans from illness and disease?

      Breakfastpop is incorrect. There ARE millions of Americans without insurance. And they are NOT all illegal aliens or young people who don't think they need coverage. Many of them (I should say "us" since my Hubby is one) are working people who work in industries that don't offer healthcare. The reality of monthly premiums is such that average people ccannot afford to pay for their own insurance. They live in ffear of that trip to the ER that leads to the operation that forces them to declare bankruptcy.

      If America were to cover everyone the risk would be spread over a wider population and the cost per person would actually go DOWN.

      People here are so het up for some ridiculous reason about the terms "communist" and "socialist" -- without even knowing what they mean -- that they refuse to even look at the fact that many of the countries around the world that offer healthcare to citizens are NOT socialist or communist but are democracies!

      Great hub and thanks for setting the record straight on what healthcare in Canada is really like! MM

    • Karen Weir profile imageAUTHOR

      Karen Weir 

      9 years ago from Alberta Canada

      What pisses me off a tad breakfastpop, is the misinformation that is presented about the Canadian system. It wouldn't bother me if those arguing against a universal system didn't make up crap about our system. My point is not that the US "should" adopt a universal health care system, but if you oppose it, oppose it based on reality not media hype designed to mislead. The ads I've seen are being critical of the Canadian system, referring to it as "socialist" and being completely over dramatic and giving outright false information.

      With regard to illegals in your country, under a universal system they wouldn't be covered. A universal system would absolutely cover those who cannot afford insurance, and those who foolishly don't care. When that group becomes ill or injured, the costs are very high.

      I guess my point is really that both our systems have pros and cons. We can learn much from each other as we reform our respective systems, but not if we let politics and outright bullshit get in the way. And that goes on both sides of the border. Our impression of your system is probably quite similar to your impression of ours.

    • breakfastpop profile image

      breakfastpop 

      9 years ago

      First of all there aren't millions of people without insurance. A significant part of the uninsured are illegal immigrants who are free to get care in our country. They can walk into an ER and receive medical attention. Another portion of the uninsured are in this group by choice. They are young, healthy and not terribly concerned about healthcare. By their own admission they would rather party. Then there are a group of people who simply can't afford insurance. We should direct our attention to this group. In order to do this we do not have to destroy our current system. When Americans talk about socialized medicine they are not being critical of the Canadian system, they are thinking only about our country and what we can do to make things better.

    • profile image

      Kirsten Plotkin 

      9 years ago

      Very well said Karen. Sounds like our Australian system is very similar to yours. Just like yours it has a lot of faults and our ER rooms are equally filled with people. But ask anyone you'll find there if they would prefer the US system and you would get an emphatic no.

      Full marks for bringing up such an important issue. Every Australian and every Canadian is entitled to free, basic medical care, why should an American get any less?

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