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I was just reading on the front page about John Boehner blathering Frank Luntz's talking points (helpfully enumerated by BarbinMD) about health care, and gnashing my teeth at the degree of deception in them.  (Kossack Tegrat deconstructs them here.)

Viz: a public health system means denied care (even though at least some private insurers have a 'deny every claim the first time' policy)... delayed care (even though private insurance bureaucracy makes people wait)... bureaucrats rather than doctors making health decisions (though private insurer paper-pushers do this all the time) ... waste, fraud and abuse (like that doesn't happen in the murder-by-spreadsheet industry).

My own experience of the Canadian health care system puts the lie to every single one of these points.  Neither I nor any Canadian I know has ever been denied care, had care delayed, or had medical decisions made by anyone but a qualified health professional.  

Much as this bullshit is an insult to Canada, which makes me angry, that wrong pales to vanishing beside the damage it does to Americans by polluting the health care discourse with falsehood.  Put bluntly... it's not going to kill any Canadians.

But I'm just one person, so my experience is merely anecdotal evidence.  I'm calling on all Canadian Kossacks to vote in the poll below.  I hope we're numerous enough to provide a sufficiently large sample to produce a fairly accurate statistical picture of what the situation really is here.  Then tell your story (if you have a story to tell) in the comments.

For comparison purposes I've also provided poll opportunities for Americans.  I've read many, many heartbreaking accounts on DKos, and it makes me sad and angry and, in a way, shocked, that Americans don't have, and are having to fight against such huge forces to get, what we take for granted.  If you want to let loose in the comments, go for it.

So please vote, and vote honestly, and show THE TRUTH ABOUT CANADIAN HEALTH CARE.  And please rec the diary -- if it gets onto the rec list we'll get lots more votes and thus a more accurate picture.

Maybe we'll even spur some mainstream media outlets to do some actual research into how it really works up here.  (They could maybe investigate myths such as the hordes of Canadians who supposedly descend on the USA to escape wait times: debunked in a study diaried last Thursday by Kossack s7arkhere.)

UPDATE 7:23 PM EDT: Thanks for all your recs, everybody -- we made the rec list, which will make our home-made statistical action that much more valid (as more people will vote) and visible.

UPDATE 02 - 7:39 PM EDT: Since we're on the rec list and more people are reading this, I just want to discuss something I've been wondering about.  That is: I think that the lack of public health care is actually a national health issue in and of itself.

Over and over on DKos I've read stories of people worried that they'll be denied care, worried that they'll lose their job and thus their insurance, worried that they'll have health issues at all because they are uninsured, worried about the expense of health care, putting off or avoiding health care because they can't afford it and worrying that warning signs are being missed, etc.

Has anyone ever considered -- or studied -- the effects of all this stress on the entire nation?  How does it affect the incidence of stress-related disease?  The death rate?  The incidence of depression, anxiety disorder, domestic violence, criminal activity, suicide, etc.?

How does it affect the zeitgeist?  The culture?  And (to bring it full circle) the politics?

It's a non-stop, 24/7, lifelong source of stres for a significant number at least, and I would guess a majority, of Americans, from what I can tell.  That's got to be affecting the whole nation.

Anyone any heard of any research on this?

UPDATE 03 - 8:28 PM EDT: Well, heck.  I ask whether anyone's researched this and look what shows up on the front page.  

BTW when this diary falls off the rec list and no more votes are coming in, I'll do a "post-game show" with the results broken down as comparative percentages.

UPDATE 04 - 10:10 PM EDT:  I have to take some time away from the diary... I am currently writing two novels online and haven't yet posted on one of them today... deadline midnight.  ( if you're curious.)  I'll check back in when I'm done and if the diary is still going beyond that, I'll be back with you all tomorrow a.m.

UPDATE 05 - 6:26 AM EDT Jun 3: Morning!  A couple of commenters have claimed that the diary ignores concerns that wait times in Canada can be long.  First, I never said that delays are non-existent or unheard of -- just that neither I nor anyone I know has experienced a significant one.  Second: this is a diary with a poll, on exactly such issues, the idea being to bring out the true situation.

UPDATE 06 - 7:15 AM EDT: The general points in the comments that jumped out most at me:

Swampfoot: "Canadians are more freethan Americans
as a result of the system they have up here. How many people will never start their own enterprises because they'll lose their health care if they quit their job?"  And how big a difference in the economy would it make if they could?

Dave1955 looks at the big picture: "both the American and Canadian systems ration health care.  The difference is, the American system rations it by ability to pay (the richest get the best and quickest care), whereas the Canadian system rations it by need (the most critically ill get the best and quickest care, regardless of their ability to pay).  Which one seems fairest?"

Kingsmeg lays out why for-profit health care should be eliminated: "The difference is in incentives.  State-provided health care is geared towards reducing your long-term needs and making sure you remain a productive, tax-paying member of society.  In short, the state has an interest in curing you, making you or keeping you healthy (therefore, state-paid health care includes preventative care).  Corporatized health care is geared towards taking as much of your income as possible, and letting you die if you're hurting their bottom line in any way."

Bottlerocketheart counsels patience and persistence: "The Canadian system didn't spring into place full-fledged either. It took us over a decade after the introduction of a partially-socialized health care system before a true universal model was adopted."

Finally, boofdah raises a spectre that as a naive, fully-covered Canadian, I had never thought of -- women having abortions not because they don't want the child, but because they can't afford pregnancy/labor care.  I thought I knew all the horrific implications of the American health care system.  I was wrong and I'm still shaken.  And the fact that the same Republican party that opposes universal health care supposedly considers the life of the unborn sacred... I can't begin to understand.

Originally posted to Karen Wehrstein on Tue Jun 02, 2009 at 03:29 PM PDT.


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