In a nutshell: 91% of Canadians have never had necessary health care delayed or denied... as opposed to 34% of Americans.

If you don't know what I'm talking about: I had a diary on the rec list yesterday asking Canadians and Americans to vote re their health care experiences.

Votes as of 8:30 a.m. today (percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding error):

Total Canadians: 333
Never had necessary health care denied or delayed: 304 votes - 91%
Have had necessary health care denied: 7 votes - 2%
Have had necessary health care delayed: 19 votes - 5%
Have had necessary health care denied and delayed: 3 votes - 1%

Total Americans: 841
Insured, never had necessary health care denied or delayed: 283 votes - 34%
Insured, have had necessary health care denied: 99 votes - 12%
Insured, have had necessary health care delayed: 125 votes - 15%
Insured, have had necessary health care denied and delayed: 122 votes - 15%
Uninsured: 212 votes - 25%

The point is made even more starkly in graphic form: (I know the numbers are a bit different from above... a few more people voted in the interim, but the percentages are essentially the same.  Also, ignore the percentages on the image: they are compared to total votes, not by nationality.  You can only post one poll per diary on DKos.)


In a comment today, seenaymah writes:

If you subtract the uninsured Americans, over 50% of insured Americans have had either delays or denials or both.  So even if you're lucky enough to be insured, you have a less than 50% chance of getting treatment without a fight. That's scary.

A 45% chance, by my calculation, insofar as the polling reflects the reality.

I had it pointed out to me in the comments that I could have added a few more poll options for Americans.  For example, CoolOnion suggested:

"I'm an American, I have health insurance, and I don't use it for fear the doctor will find something which will be reported to the insurance company, causing them to cancel my coverage."

That's my situation.  I get necessary tests at free health fairs, "off the books," so if they find something, there will be no paper trail.

From other stories I've heard on Kos, self-denial of medical service so as to avoid co-pays, cancellation, etc. is a pretty big problem even for people who have insurance.

GUGA wrote:

I am employed full time with no benefits, but I have health insurance through my retired husband, and live in fear that they will cancel it for retirees, I would have no health insurance and have 5 years to go until I can apply for Medicare.

I think she hit the key words that define the experience of Americans in regard to health care: live in fear.  Perhaps this would be useful as a pro-single-payer talking point?  "Stop living in fear"...  "End the fear"... ?

Anyway, I'll ape real researchers in making my conclusion: this topic needs more research.  Obviously the poll is not scientific; for one thing, anyone can vote on Daily Kos so we don't really know how many of the votes are honest; as well even the honest voters are self-selected, which means there could be biases.

What needs to happen is a better-designed, professionally-conducted poll using proper random selection on comparative health-care experiences.  That could be something we could disseminate so as to dispel the Repub lies about Canadian health care.  It might be something the mainstream media would pay attention to.

Several American commenters also wanted to hear Canadian health care success stories to spread around their office water-coolers, paste into letters to the editor, etc.  Canadian commenters did a pretty good job of obliging, as did some from other industrialized countries.  (I'd say "other industrialized countries with universal health care" except, well, that's redundant...)

This is a good way to personalize the truth and I encourage Canadians, Brits, Germans, etc. to continue sharing experiences in comments and diaries.  With Big Insurance, Big Pharma, etc. racked up against them, Americans need all the ammo they can get.

UPDATE 1:12 pm EDT: In the comments, Commoditize This writes:

Why can't DKOS do this polling?

Take a couple of days off from the Research 2000 President Obama polls and throw a poll out there that could have immediate applications in the fight for UHC.

Do we need to do a donation pool?

I'm unemployed and I would GLADLY pony up 20 bucks to see a poll of these exact questions done ASAP.

...and several others agree.  I'm not sure whether it should be these exact questions -- more thought needs to be put into something that is on a larger scale -- but it could again be a comparison putting the lie to the fear-mongering about the Canadian system.

Something to consider...?

UPDATE 02 1:31 pm EDT: Commoditize This diaries the idea here.  Go vote and rec up if you like it.

Originally posted to Karen Wehrstein on Wed Jun 03, 2009 at 08:02 AM PDT.

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