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I married a Canadian, which got me, among other things, some pretty awesome Canadian in-laws, a bunch of friends who think hockey is actually worth watching (not for the same reason I do, which is to nerd out on the fascinating phenomenon of mob psychosis), and two kids who are fiercely proud of their dual citizenship.   It also got me a window into the Canadian health system, that bloated bureaucracy of ill-repute which for some bizarre reason provided my father-in-law with an implanted defibrillator and solid, timely medical care during his final years.

Canadians, in my experience, follow American politics more closely than Americans do, and some of them even sign themselves up for my mailing list.  So when I sent out my latest lament, "Ode to Health Care Reform:  An Absurd Poem about Absurdities," one of the things I got back was a testimonial from the Middle America of the Great White North:

As a Canadian, I have comfort in the system being provided even with its imperfections. I lost a wife to breast cancer. All the treatments (diagnosis, surgery, chemotherapy and radiation) cost me NOTHING. I am willing to pay an extra tax so I and others can benefit from health care.  May I sadly add that what the US has spent on recent wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) can build a nation? It is obvious that those who have less or no voice to voice are not on the 'to do list' of political leaders.  – Ibrahim Sumrain (Edmonton, Alberta)

Reading Ibrahim’s note, it occurred to me that maybe we should expose our own Middle America more to the horrors of the socialized medical system under which our northern neighbors suffer out their shabby lives of quiet desperation.  So, I solicited a few more comments from acquaintances and friends.  They should terrify every blood sucking insurance lobbyist in D.C.  

Dorthea Hangaard (Sointula, British Columbia)
Ten years ago I required surgery to have fibroid tumours removed.  Because I live in a remote community, I was concerned I would end up in a rural hospital under the care of a second-rate surgeon.  The Canadian health care system allowed me to choose my surgeon (I found a top-rated surgeon), and the hospital (I chose a teaching hospital in Vancouver that I knew would be well-resourced).  Not only that, but my compassionate surgeon allowed me to extend my stay in the hospital because I had to travel such a great distance to get home again.  While in the hospital, I received the best care available, including radical new procedures not readily available elsewhere.  

All of this cost me nothing more than the small monthly premiums I have been paying in to the medical system since I began a career (those on a low income are exempt from paying premiums).  To this day I feel overwhelmed with gratitude whenever I think of the experience.  Canadians can't even grasp that people are refused medical treatment in the U.S. because they cannot afford it.  

Bill Jamieson (Mayne Island, B.C.)

At age 76, my dad had an abdominal aneurism, and, down the road, complications related to that aneurism ultimately killed him.  If we were in the US and didn’t have health insurance the amount of care that my father received probably would have cost a million dollars.  He had the provincial specialists working on him.  It didn’t cost us anything.  He was being fed through a TPN line through his neck, a liquid diet.  It costs a thousand dollars/day, and he was on that for at least a month.  

Most of the interventions that were done on Dad were like rocket science.  They were the same techniques that would be done in a top hospital anywhere in the world.  

He got timely care.  His surgery was scheduled based on his ability to respond to the surgery and his strength at the time.  We felt that his original surgical date, last spring,—if it was in the States it would have been done sooner, but it didn’t need to be done sooner.  That is one of the differences between the US and Canada in my mind.  You can get surgeries done faster in the States.  But if you have a crisis there is no delay.  

This fall, on a hunting trip with my brother, it became apparent that Dad was very sick.  In the last surgery my dad had, he had three vascular surgeons, two anesthesiologists, a bowel surgeon and a kidney surgeon working on him over a period of thirteen hours. They were incredible. The ICU team was incredible. I would like to stress how compassionate the care was all the way through. There was real caring that was part of the reason he survived as long as he did.  

Gloria Lee Clark (Vancouver, B.C.)
Anna’s experience:  My sister Anna was at a climbing gym and fell over 25 feet.  She managed to break her left femur and hip, smash her left heel, ankle and wrist, and break her right ankle in 2 places.  She was taken to the local hospital where she was promptly x-rayed and diagnosed.  She was in the hospital for 4 weeks and had a total of 4 surgeries to repair all that was broken.  After she was released from the hospital, there were nurses, physiotherapists, and doctors who made house-calls to care for her.  When she was able to leave the house she went to the hospital’s out-patient physiotherapist twice a week for many months.  A year later she had to have a 5th surgery to remove some pins that were bothering her.  Except for the rental of some of the equipment she needed; hospital beds, wheelchairs, etc. her entire care was covered by our Canadian medical system.  As horrible as the accident was, and no she will not fully regain all her strength and flexibility, she had the best care possible at the cost of her regular monthly MSP (Medical Services Plan).

My experience:  Nine years ago I was pregnant with twins.  I was under the care of an Obstetrician and had monthly ultrasounds.  At 30 weeks the ultrasound revealed that I was 1 cm dilated and was promptly hospitalized and placed on bed rest, apparently the best prescription for avoiding pre-mature birth. I spent 5 weeks in the hospital under the care of a team of nurses and doctors.  At 35 weeks the doctor determined that the babies needed to come out as they were not growing at the expected rate.  After their birth I spent 1 more week with them in the hospital, and they stayed for another week.  Between me and the babies there was a total of 7 weeks of hospitalization.  The total cost for me was zero.  Was it absolutely necessary for me to have stayed in the hospital for 6 weeks I will never know.  What I do know is that I have 2 beautiful healthy children and I would never have been able to afford the cost of the hospital care had I not had the Canadian medical system supporting me.

Kent James (Toronto, Ontario)
My dad waited exactly 9 weeks after deciding that he wanted a knee replacement. My son has been treated for asthma since he was 18 months old. My mom is type 2 diabetic. None of them has ever had to wait for anything. None of them has ever had to worry about who would pay for anything. And none of them wants to pay a few less dollars in tax for the privilege of taking on those risks and responsibilities.

The Canadian system isn’t perfect.  Do people die there from oversights or botched care?  Of course!-- just like they do—to borrow Bill’s words—in top hospitals anywhere in the world. But what is more terrifying, apparently, to half of our senators, is that our northern neighbors’ government-managed semi-socialized system works.  In fact, for most people most of the time, it works great.  Oh, and did I mention the premiums? Dorthea’s costs her $54/month. ("[It] gets me EVERYTHING I need. The best care I can arrange for myself. I choose the doctor, the hospital, my treatment.")  Anna’s is $114, for a family of four. That’s Canadian.

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Originally posted to Valerie Tarico on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 11:57 AM PST.

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  •  Tip Jar (255+ / 0-)
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    Pat K California, Renee, JekyllnHyde, Joe Bob, Sylv, opendna, dwellscho, Paleo, mwm341, snookybeh, Caelian, magic1, demnomore, tiponeill, karlpk, Shockwave, Ed Drone, lysias, wry twinger, leftyboy666, musicsleuth, hubcap, rasbobbo, Christian Dem in NC, JohnInWestland, Cassandra77, Ian S, ask, SCFrog, sngmama, equinespecter, ClickerMel, Jesterfox, splashy, bewert, wader, nio, dejavu, Lynwaz, nancelot, mrkvica, mskate, LordMike, Nemagaiq, Steveningen, Sychotic1, lcrp, bwintx, JayBat, ybruti, kfred, The Gryffin, Josiah Bartlett, Big Tex, soros, la motocycliste, angrybird, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, marina, salmo, Unit Zero, yuriwho, baccaruda, irate, kitchen sink think tank, dewtx, reflectionsv37, ratzo, Blissing, jimstaro, Sara R, onanyes, Eiron, Shotput8, mph2005, deepsouthdoug, politicslovr, dancewater, lgmcp, SSMir, BachFan, rmoore, vigilant meerkat, adios, Themistoclea, profundo, Dvalkure, ruleoflaw, blueoasis, tapestry, happy camper, Frank Cocozzelli, Preston S, gabriella, myrealname, salsaMan, american pastoral, IL clb, Persiflage, doingbusinessas, emsprater, fiddlingnero, blueoregon, Hedwig, markthshark, Little, mapman, Palmetto Progressive, lams712, out of left field, dotsright, C Barr, dmh44, Cottagerose, godislove, ColoTim, gloriana, moosely2006, LillithMc, LamontCranston, DWG, Save Ohio Now, Unbozo, aliasalias, puzzled, HCKAD, GMFORD, akdude6016, millwood, pioneer111, MadAsHellMaddie, Dar Nirron, stony, Jahiz, Empower Ink, fayeforcure, rogerdaddy, swampus, gfv6800, flowerfarmer, NotGeorgeWill, ReEnergizer, ozkid, ajr111240, Akonitum, Archangel, dewley notid, happymisanthropy, mofembot, wavpeac, kyril, Ruff Limblog, valsagem, luckylizard, nzanne, immigradvocate, papicek, statsone, squarewheel, ZhenRen, LaFeminista, Design the Future, SciMathGuy, Pris from LA, Bule Betawi, smellybeast, J M F, denisegreenbay, greengemini, divineorder, Mol, ryan81, Nailbanger, CamillesDad1, Daily Activist, dRefractor, RageKage, geebeebee, SuetheRedWA, asym, oxfdblue, scotths, allep10, MAORCA, Munchkn, Losty, Muzikal203, DaNang65, nancat357, Emalene, canuckster, BlueOak, yooneek, Bobs Telecaster, TNThorpe, Paladine, LaughingPlanet, The Jester, estreya, Barcelona expat, Taxmancometh, LeanneB, TimmyB, OldLady in BC, pixxer, elginblt, rfall, Grumpy Young Man, NYWheeler, cai, addisnana, Unenergy, gereiztkind, farbuska, MsGrin, Murchadha, cocinero, cany, Lisa Bickford, Belle Ame, muppetx, anafreeka, Wisewood, msazdem, Olon, Mistral Wind, asterkitty, mrsgoo, Cinnamon Rollover, RadicalRoadRat, dle2GA, Inspector Javert, debaseTheBase, Yogurt721, Grandma Susie, MarketFarces, Strange New World, Atilla the Honey Bunny, blue aardvark, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, just another vortex, MikeBoyScout, Aurelia, DRo, jaebone, modwiz, Remarque, AguyinMI, PrometheusUnbound, John DiFool, IowaPopulist, No one gets out alive, AboutTime, Liberal Granny

    Knowledge is an unending adventure at the edge of uncertainty.--Jacob Bronowski

    by ValerieTarico on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 11:57:53 AM PST

    •  How long did it take to get to the great Canadian (22+ / 0-)

      Health Care it is now, from when it was first passed? And was it peachy keen perfect from the very beginning?

      Just wondering. Because Kossack tapu dali, a Canadian, says no.

      It's fine and good to speak out!

      The Bill (which, bye the bye) we haven't seen yet, appears to be sub-optimal.

      Could it have been better? Of course.

      Is it a "shit sandwich"?  Not really.

      Can it be improved upon?  Yes of COURSE!!

      TTT. Things Take Time. Despair, defeat and despondancy is NOT an option.

      Pass the Bill and work for somethinf better.

      That's how we in Canada got single payer. It did NOT happen overnight.

      Sasaketchewan first. Then 1 or 2 other Provinces.

      Finally the Dominion.

      In my day, (geezer alert) (by cracky) it was the Dominion of Canada.

      Relax Americans. TTT. A first step is the way to a Long March to the final Destination.

      I get "suaviter in modo", Mr President. May we now have some "fortiter in re"?

      by tapu dali on Thu Dec 17, 2009 at 11:15:52 PM EST

      Certified Barack Obama Apologist.

      by second gen on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:24:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is technically easier to do in the US (46+ / 0-)

        and yet in Canada, the whole thing described above happened in exactly three years. (an addition, the Canada Health Act, came 18 years later, but this was an addition to a system that was already universal and well beyond what any Democrat has yet proposed.)

        When I say it is technically easier to do in the US is that the Federal Government has some jurisdiction. In Canada - and this is what is astonishing about it - the Federal Govt has no jurisdiction at all, except for aboriginals and the north.

        In other words, the Federal Govt. and ten very different provinces had to be in complete agreement on how it would work. Kinda like herding cats.

        If apes evolved from humans, why are there still humans?

        by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:28:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Herding Cats is Easier (25+ / 0-)

          ... than, say, herding Democrats in the U.S. Senate.

          :: ::

          Mike Peters, Dayton Daily News
          (click cartoon to enlarge)

        •  would never be acceptable in the US (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Pat K California, soros, Pris from LA

          Canadians have a great system and Canadians love their system, but it would never work in the US.  I wish Kossacks would quit pineing for the Canadian system and talk about alternative health care systems such as the German system.

          There are numerous reasons why Americans would reject the Canadian system, here is just one:  the Canadian system is built upon the idea that everyone gets the same quality of care.  Americans as a whole will never accept the concept that a poor homeless hispanic should get the identical care as the CEO of a corporation.

          •  sad.... but I think it is the truth. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Pat K California, Blissing

            some of us think we were created 'more equal' than others, and while those folks may attend a Christian church, they never consider following the teachings of Jesus Christ.

            War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

            by dancewater on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:23:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Why not care for all, and those who want (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jkusters, dotsright

              MORE can pay for it? A basic level of health care -- even absent some specialists or experimental items (surgeries, medicines, treatments) -- would save countless lives, and "cadillac" plans would be available for those who want botox, chin surgery, viagra or an abortion.

              Yes, if you left abortion  outside the basic level, the poor would suffer, but subsidies for these could be arranged privately -- I suspect we are not going to ever make it possible for subsidies through the government. And the whingers could vote for the health bill with a clean conscience.


              I do not belong to an organized political party -- I'm a Democrat. [Will Rogers]

              by Ed Drone on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:02:54 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That description seems to describe how (0+ / 0-)

                Australia's system works except that abortion is covered, even discretionary abortions.  But not would not really matter if it were not covered as abortion is one of the less (dollar) costly procedures.

                Abortion coverage should not be an issue in the American Healthcare debate.  Even it it were not covered at all the burden lifted from charitable institutions would cover the abortion costs for the nation out of pocket change.

                Look for the real issues.  Abortion coverage is not one of them.  With other healthcare covered it would be easy to fund.  It isn't a show stopper.

                Best Wishes, Demena Left/Right: -8.38; Libertarian/Authoritarian: -6.36

                by Demena on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 06:13:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Just to clarify (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                gabriella, aliasalias, Paladine

                the Canadian system pays for abortion, but does not pay for plastic surgery unless it is "medically necessary".  So if I want chin surgery to improve my looks (which would be impossible, eh?) I would pay for it myself.  Botox for migraines is covered; botox for frown lines are not (how would I know this, you ask?)

                We pay for our own prescriptions.  There are private insurance companies that will pay a portion of prescriptions, and in some provinces if you're lower income the province will pay for them.  Generally speaking, though, you pay for your own.

                My family's own quick story:  SO has had, in recent years, the following surgeries: carotid artery x 2, quadruple bypass, triple aortic aneurysm, gallbladder, hemorrhoids; I have had 3 knee surgeries (same knee) and partial thyroidectomy.

                Cost to us?  The monthly premium.  Ambulance rides were around $54 (I think they've gone up slightly).  Crutch rental = $7 a week.  TV rental: = $2 - 3 a day.

                That's it.

                Also we can deduct approximately 26% of our medical expenses from our income tax.  And the disabled get a tax deduction of approximately $1500 per year.

                Is there income tax relief for folks in the U.S. who get sick?  Never have heard this mentioned in the US discussions.

                "Vancouver B.C. - the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, single payer health care, and single payer car insurance"

                by marigold on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 06:14:32 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  if expenses exceed 7.5% of gross income (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  then you can start deducting your medical expenses.

                  I had a friend in Canada who had bone cancer.  She died in 1997, but for four years they took excellent care of her, including home health aids and home cleaners (she had steel rods in her back and could not bend over), and never had any expenses.  She was unemployed at the time, but still kept her Toronto condo.  I have never seen anything like that in the USA.

                  War cannot be waged to instill any virtue, including democracy or the liberation of women. - Chris Hedges

                  by dancewater on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 07:27:35 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Like Medicare for all (0+ / 0-)

                With those who can afford it buying Advantage Plans that cover the extras and frills?

                We have that in Canada. Many people have employer covered insurance plans that cover some of the frills not covered by their provincial plans.

                They are often from some of the same companies that operate in the US though with slightly different names I think.

            •  A couple of big differences between US and Canada (5+ / 0-)

              1st:  My father-n-law suffered a massive heart attack a number of years ago.  After triple bipass however he was doing well and sent home.  While in ICU his room was next to a man who was dying from staph infection.  Yep - my father-n-law after a few days at home began to run a high fever.  We took him back to the hospital and he never came home.  Three months later he died from staph infection which destroyed his organs.

              His total hospital bill was nearly $300,000.  His insurance paid for about $270,000 of it.  The hospital sued his unemployed wife for the balance.  I'll bet this doesn't happen in Canada.

              2nd:  We have a local man in our rural community who became a doctor and surgeon.  He built a 6500 sq. ft. antebellum mansion on his father's farm.  The front room is 2400 sq. ft. with two spiral staircases on each end.  And guess what - he doesn't even live there.  It's for entertainment purposes only.  That malpractice insurance is about to ruin him - LOL - I'll bet this doesn't happen in Canada either.

          •  There's an element of truth to that.. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, Pris from LA

            but would it matter?  That 25% of america still think Nixon was treated unfairly and should have never resigned.

            I'll add this... as one of those people that love having dual-citizenship... I will be very wary of moving back to the u.s. (which was my intention in the next few years) after seeing what this health care bill has become.  

            For all of the flaws in the Canadian system (and there are a couple of doozies) it will probably look incredibly efficient and responsive compared to what america is about to endure.  

            You can thank Joe Lieberman and Barack's signature for that...

            "Brothers and sisters, the name of the game is power. If you ain't playing for power you're in the wrong place."

            by soros on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:11:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  asdf (3+ / 0-)

            Americans as a whole will never accept the concept that a poor homeless hispanic should get the identical care as the CEO of a corporation.

            I have little doubt that 'most Americans' would be perfectly find with seeing blacks and hispanics stripped of the vote and not permitted in 'their' hospitals without an insurance card.

            And any of their marriages to white people annulled.

            Shall we indulge them?

            Why not, since that seems to be your argument?

            I don't have "issues". I have a full subscription!

            by GayIthacan on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:45:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  volunteer to pay more? (5+ / 0-)

            we had no visa, we had nothing but an emergency...

            hubby had missed the stick of kindling he was cutting and sliced a gash at the base of his thumb...  so the campfire had to wait, and we visited the emergency room near the campground...  there was no wait to see the doctor

            gee,  I had no idea we could have volunteered to pay more than the scant bill presented that evening...  the dollar was still strong and the tetanus shot was about three dollars, stitches that healed without a scar...

            it was only a glimpse,  but to this American couple,  the Canadian system was working faultlessly.

            A year ago I had surgery to remove a brain tumor which proved not malignant...  in the support groups for that experience I communicated with many Canadian women...     in their experiences, with the same condition,  there was no move to come to the US for treatment...        the only complaints were the drive from rural locations to cities for treatment.     My treatment required me to drive to a larger city also...       There were no CEOs at my hospital, but there were long distance travelers from the Rosebud reservation.       Some of the staff are hispanics.  We're all in this together...   is Americans can't stand in line in a melting pot, maybe I'd better find a place where we can.

            When I was in third grade the pledge of allegience was changed and I had to learn the new version.  I was told year after year that America was a melting pot.      I'm becoming disillusioned in my old age...      

          •  Not so IMO (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

            by Bobjack23 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 06:15:35 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Technically easier? yes and no (9+ / 0-)

          Yes, we have a federal system, but the design of the Senate gives humongous power to a tiny fraction of the population in many underpopulated states.  

          Then top that off with the filibuster rule that requires a supermajority of Senators to close debate and force a vote.  

          A system designed to make rapid change difficult if not impossible.  

          A tiny fraction of the population is denying the majority the ability to do anything.  

          In a parliamentary system, Traitor Joe and Nelson would each have zero power to influence anything.

          A parliamentary system gets things done in a hurry.  Put a party in power and it does things.  The biggest problem is, there is not one American in five who truly understands why things don't work here.

      •  Great history links for CMS history (9+ / 0-)

        Did you know the doctors were so against it at first, in Saskatchewan (the first province to implement single-payer universal care) that they went on strike?

        I've read a lot on this, and it was a huge battle at first in Canada, just like here. They did start with a better bill than what we seem likely to end up with, but only in one province. And many of the same arguments against it were heard back then-government micromanagement of care, rationing, overwhelming burden of cost, socialism/communism taking over, doctors leaving for greener pastures resulting in less care available, etc.

        (Links on top don't work, links on bottom left do on these two pages. Much more is there, as well. It's fascinating.)

        Great interview with Dr. E. W. Barootes, one of the leaders of the 1962 doctors' strike, done in 1995:

        The article goes into a lot of the history of that period, as Barootes wanted to tell the story, not answer the reporters questions.

        And in the end?

        Dr. Barootes observes, "Today a politician in Saskatchewan or in Canada is more likely to get away with canceling Christmas than he is with canceling Canada's health insurance program."

        [reporter]"Thirty years ago, when you were describing the Saskatchewan Medical Insurance Act as 'legislation reversing the civil rights and liberties of citizens,' did you ever think you would hear yourself saying that?"

        [Barootes]"At that time I'd rather have cut my arm off."

        This is only the first fight. We need to scream and holler, make ever more phone calls and emails, send money to those who truly care about us and those who oppose helping the American masses, and get the best damn bill we can passed. Then keep yelling and fighting while the House and Senate reconcile their bills--fighting for progressive elements of the House bill to be included in the final bill.

        The top recced diary Voters Revolt: Only 33% Support for New Senate Health Care Bill should be repeatedly and constantly referred to, demanding a rebuttle to those who will deny us the choice of a public option, one where we know the vast majority of our premium dollars will actually be spent on health care. We should continue to demand a public option, starting with the self-employed and uninsured. Whom, in many cases such as my own, are one and the same.

        And when we get this bill, we will still be pissed, but we will have set the first brick in the ground. One that we can build on if we keep fighting in the future.

        And part of the future is making huge, overwhelming efforts to get rid of those like Leiberman. Can you imagine the difference Lamont would make right now? I sure as hell can.

        (PS Krugman's recent column led me to read over much of this history in the last 24 hours, and I've come around to agreeing with him. This is not the war, this is merely the first battle we have a chance to "win" in a much longer war.)

        "I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious." A. Einstein

        by bewert on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:36:06 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Canada NEVER Turned It's Healthcare System Over (9+ / 0-)

        to the insurance companies.  That's why they have the system they have now.

        Obama, on the other hand, wants to make everyone a health insurance customer.  Do you really think that it will become easier in the future to fight the health insurance industry after Obama gives them hundreds of billions of dollars more?  

        Before you answer, please keep in mind that with their new found plunder, the insurance companies will be able to buy more even lobbyists, more astroturf tea baggers, and even more politicians.  Me, I think it will get harder to fight them, not easier.    

      •  1962 -1968 (4+ / 0-)

        In Saskatchewan, the CCF administration of Douglas became the first provincial government to enact hospital coverage (in 1947) and medical coverage (in 1962). In 1964, a royal commission recommended a national health care system modeled on the Saskatchewan plan. (In 1958, the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act had been passed, providing government-sponsored hospital coverage to all Canadians. The federal government had no plan to extend their commitment to health care with full medical services coverage at that time.) In 1968, the Medical Care Act was passed providing universal health insurance to all Canadians.

        Tommy Douglas..the greatest a poll on our National Boradcaster..Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

        It was always about what was decent and what was right with Tommy Douglas.

        If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

        by ohcanada on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:17:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Nice diary (16+ / 0-)

      I am assuming, although you don't explicitly say so, that these people OK'd your use of their names and towns?

      The examples are the sorts of things that afflict ordinary Americans, but with far different financial results.

      As for this:

      what the US has spent on recent wars (Iraq and Afghanistan) can build a nation

      Thank you, Ibrahim in Edmonton

      If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament.--A Boston cabbie, to Gloria Steinem, in the 1970s

      by Mnemosyne on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:25:50 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Lived In Vancouver,BC for Two Years (38+ / 0-)

      And I was NOT covered under the Canadian Healthcare system.

      However, when I went to the doctor to get medicines, shots and such included, I found that the FULL-BOAT costs were lower than my deductibles and co-pays in the US would be.

      It was a real eye-opener about what a government that takes care of its citizens can do!


    •  I think I'm going to Emigrate. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Oh Canada!~

    •  Can I be a Canadian now, please? :( nt (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gabriella, Munchkn, Paladine

      Our system of law is premised on the idea that an unfettered government - rather than criminals - is the greatest danger to our lives and liberty.

      by pixxer on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:37:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Easy immigration is over (5+ / 0-)

        We inherited some land in Canada.  In every interaction concerning it, and at every border crossing, the Canadian authorities want to make it clear that we cannot go live there, and we certainly cannot become a beneficiary of their social programs.  It's all very nice, of course, but quite firm.  It seems that there are a lot of US citizens who agree that their politicians have made better choices.  

        Which brings us to the choices our Congress will allow us to consider.  If they think that Canada's system is so bad, let the states adopt it as part of a federalist policy incubation.  Give us the choice; watch what happens.

        •  in the early 70's people could get (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Paladine, pixxer

          the form for a Social Insurance card from the local Post office, mail it and within 6 weeks you had the ID you needed to work and live there. This is, of course, not the 'legal' route but it was that simple at the time. Draft dodgers, and people in flight for one reason or the other flooded into Canada. In fact the Govt. eventually came out with an amnesty program to solve it called, "Make our Country, Your Country". It worked.
             A  LOT of people signed on to end the worry over having false ID and  that whatever they put together in life up there could all be lost so easily. There were areas in B.C. I knew that were virtually all 'Americans', and they had established lives, Canadian born children,wives, husbands, houses and land.
          (The one area in the 'Kootenays' of B.C. that I do know about today still is full of those same exPats.)
          These days I'm refused entry to visit my daughter and grandsons in Canada because of their virtual zero tolerance for even misdemeanors on a police record. I hope they lose their current Puritanical attitude, but hey, even award winning journalist Amy Goodman was hassled for hours at the Blaine border crossing, and when granted entry she was handed a paper to present upon leaving the Country within 72 hours.

          without the ants the rainforest dies

          by aliasalias on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 07:45:57 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  More people going to Mexico now (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        At least retirees. Apart from the warmer weather and cheaper cost of living, seniors are finding they can pay an annual premium for comprehensive care for less than they spend on golf or bingo each month.

        The job potential for younger folks is probably poor, but if you've been wanting to be a beach bum anyway . . .

        PROlong LIFE with affordable & effective Health Care for all.

        by Belle Ame on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 09:25:24 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you develop immunity to whatever it is that (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Belle Ame

          makes you sick that's in the water? I loved my one visit to Mexico, but being paranoid of food and water is not my idea of how to spend a pleasant retirement!

          Our system of law is premised on the idea that an unfettered government - rather than criminals - is the greatest danger to our lives and liberty.

          by pixxer on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 10:51:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Thanks so much for these testimonials... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, Demena

      This is the single most powerful bottom line analysis of the corrupt opposition to healthcare reform.

      But what is more terrifying, apparently, to half of our senators, is that our northern neighbors’ government-managed semi-socialized system works.

      The rest of the Western industrialized world is torn between crying for us... and laughing at us.

      "Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies." - Thomas Jefferson 1816

      by markthshark on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:27:17 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Bill, who spoke about his father just lost his (0+ / 0-)

      dad on Friday.  Even in his grief, he was profoundly grateful for the heroic acts of kindness that had made his father's final months as comfortable as they could be and gave him a best shot at another 10 years.  

  •  Thank you for this!!! (15+ / 0-)

    Now, what we may all need soon are "How to Expatriate to Canada" as well as other countries.

    MEdical tourism can work for some, BUT.. Expatriation may work for others.  And, sadly, it may be needed in the future..

    Note: NOT revoking your US Citizenship, that is a move you must make pro-actively at a consulate.  THAT would be what some people would say is "Giving up"

    Remember how anxious we were for the Democrats Abroad delegates??

    These would be great to see..

    •  I am thinking of moving to canada when I finish (13+ / 0-)

      my Ph.D. There is a lot of good research being done in Canada and the funding is good (unlike here where its really bad, a little bit better though since the stimulus provided extra funding). Plus they actually have a health care system that works.

      All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.- Bokonon

      by ryan81 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:27:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I am dual citizen, born there, living here; (9+ / 0-)

        Working in a firm that does not give me bene's and have pre-existing cons so no private insurance, I do know that if I get cancer or other chronic disease, I have no choice but to happily go back singing Oh Canada! Wish I could get the care here, but we spent close to a trillion on Iraq, and even nowadays thats a lot of money, you could get universal health care for that.

        While it is not true that all conservatives are stupid; it is true that most stupid people are conservative. John Stuart Mill

        by 4CasandChlo on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:49:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  double check (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BradMajors, 4CasandChlo

          but if you don't live here for a certain period of time, I'm not sure what's all covered.

        •  residency requirement (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The Canadian system has a residency requirement.  Even though you are a Canadian citizen you will not be convered by Canadian health care until you have lived in Canada for a certain period of time, typically 90 days.

          •  and if you are sick when you arrive (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, 4CasandChlo

            we are less likely to cover you.

            •  Thank you all for this very helpful information; (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I was always uncomfortable with taking advantage of such generous people, I have had accidents in Canada (real) in which I was treated for free except for a small RX charge.  

              This is appreciated info and will factor into my plans, I also have a 2 year old to protect and perhaps I have to consider a move to protect my family in advance.  Kudos to kossaks.

              While it is not true that all conservatives are stupid; it is true that most stupid people are conservative. John Stuart Mill

              by 4CasandChlo on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:16:53 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Eh? If you apply to immigrate to Canada (0+ / 0-)

              you must have a medical exam and you will not be accepted to live here if:

              1.  your health is a danger to public health or safety
              1.  your health causes an excessive demand on the medical or social services systems

              If you pass the medical exam, using a doctor from a list designated by government (not your own doctor), you will get health insurance after the waiting period. (That's if you meet all the other criteria for residence as well.)

              Less likely to cover you?  No; as long as you meet the requirements to enter and live in Canada.

              Here's a link from the government of Canada

              "Vancouver B.C. - the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, single payer health care, and single payer car insurance"

              by marigold on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 06:44:12 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  um (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MsLibrarian, kyril, Losty, Paladine

        Canadian universities hire Canadians first. Yes, the funding is good, but is moving more in the direction of the U.S.
        But it is a lovely place to live. The taxes are really high though and you don't have mortgage deductability.
        And if you leave Canada later on, there is a departure tax based on the value of everything you own whether you sell it or not.

        Yes also if you move to Canada you will be subject to U.S. taxes and Canadian taxes. There are treaties between the two countries that help with that but the money you save there is spent on the accountant that understands the 2 taxes systems and the way they interact.
        Plus believe it or not. Canadians are different from us. Or shall I say WE are different from them.
        We sort of "stick out".

        by TexMex on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:56:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It would be interesting to see more details.. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Setup a Wyoming/SD/NV Corporation, and have them hire THAT?

          If you're low income, Healthcare?

          It would be interesting to see, and other countries to choose from..

        •  Not so sure about that... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis, Paladine

          I am a Ph.D. candidate in a major Canadian university. I have sat as a student representative on hiring committees and I can assure you that Canadian universities do not hire Canadians first. At least not in the humanities. Candidates from top tier US schools get put at the front of the line. There is some resentment up here at this sort of practice, but it is a well-established practice.

      •  What is your research in? (0+ / 0-)

        Nova Scotia has a ton of Universities and they are always looking for talent.

  •  I'd take out "Terrifying" in the title (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, jimstaro, politicslovr, swampus

    Think you'd get more readers.

  •  Maybe the North should secede? (18+ / 0-)

    Most the opposition to single payer health insurance comes from the morans and assholes that permeate the southern United States...(plus Joe the Asswipe from CT).

    Maybe its time for ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT, NY, NJ, etc to tell the neanderthals to go fuck themselves and then send a nice letter to the powers that be in Ottawa asking if they would like some new provinces.


    "Sick Around the World"

    Watch it, send it along to all you know.

    by oxfdblue on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:05:00 PM PST

  •  The horrors (11+ / 0-)

    those poor freedomless suffering multitudes.  ANd to think for the same per capita public spending that we currently pay for healthcare in the US could provide exactly the same level of care for every American as those benighted canadians.  

    In solidarity, maybe we should adopt a similar system, until such time as we can all be free from faceless bureaucrats stealing our freedoms.

    Those who hear not the music-think the dancers mad

    by Eiron on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:05:41 PM PST

  •  I know lots of Canadians that are very hapy with (16+ / 0-)

    their health system.
    And 2 of them had serious illnesses that are totally covered.
    And it's so cost efective.
    Please give us a Canadian style health plan.

  •  The truly terrifying aspect of Canadian health (23+ / 0-) is that it doesn't enrich the right people to the right extent.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:13:07 PM PST

  •  Those stories sound pretty typical. /nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimstaro, swampus, addisnana

    --- Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I'm a Freeper. - HollywoodOz

    by opendna on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:14:47 PM PST

  •  No healthcare system is perfect (11+ / 0-)

    Among developed nations, only ours in the United States allows you to die or go bankrupt if you get sick. Too bad too many of our politicians lack the courage to give us either a public single-payer system like Canada or a ruthlessly regulated private insurance system like Switzerland.

    The uninsured keep dying. Death to AHIP!

    by DWG on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:16:33 PM PST

  •  I RECOMMEND every diary like this (8+ / 0-)

    Never get enough of these.

  •  Those comments are just anecdotal! (8+ / 0-)

    As opposed to the anecdotal horror stories that conservatives use, that is...

    Fox News in a Nutshell: IOKIYAR and INOKIYO (It's Not OK If You're Obama)

    by wry twinger on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:19:34 PM PST

    •  Exactly. The lesson the left needs to learn (4+ / 0-)

      is that people remember stories way better than statistics.  There's a difference between science and communications.  Who was it who called the mammogram scandal "Communications malpractice"?  Anyhow, she was right.  We need to make sure that our anecdotes are representative, or else they will take us in the wrong direction.  But once we've done our homework, if we want a data driven evidence based system we then need to translate the data and evidence back into anecdote.

    •  So call a Canadian... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Your comment reminds me of an idea I saw a while back on a medical blog. Sorry, I can't find it at the moment to give proper credit, but the idea was basically to get United States citizens to start calling their Canadian counterparts (dial your own phone number substituting a Canadian area code) and asking them if they would mind talking with you for a few minutes about their health care system.

      I just think it's a really cool idea.  I have no problem with anecdotal evidence as long as it's not all that we're using.  Senator Boxer often does this.  She will use good solid science on the Senate floor combined with some anecdotal evidence in order to put a human face on it.

      But I think some TV ads suggesting that folks simply call their Canadian friends and find out for themselves could also be a powerful tool.

      •  my daughter in B.C. has an ongoing argument (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gabriella, swampus, Belle Ame

        with her cousin in New Orleans over the difference in health care between Canada and the U.S. so she sent me a few of their exchanges. He has no argument to support, just the usual rot wing talking points of 'govt. takeover',Socialism, taxes, etc. ...the general 'I got mine, they can go get theirs' crap.
        It's great that he has her to do this with because she shoots down every talking point he has with facts, and facts are stubborn. He is a nice guy and I hope she is able to get him to question what he is hearing.

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 08:16:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Original blog post... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If anyone is still around and interested, I found the original post written by "revere" at the science blog "Effect Measure":

          Call a Canadian

          Category: Health care • Health insurance
          Posted on: May 6, 2009 5:43 PM, by revere

          We get emails, all kinds of emails, from people thinking it would be great if we mentioned something near and dear to them on Effect Measure. We are flattered by this, of course, but we aren't journalists or a commercial site or a non-profit advocacy site (well, we are ultimately non-profit, but not intentionally). Occasionally, though, we get email that piques are interest and enthusiasm. This afternoon I got one from Jonathan Link, a writer for AboutKidsHealth, a project of the The Hospital for Sick Children at The University of Toronto.

          Back in the days when Quebec was a referendum in the Province on whether to secede from the rest of Canada, there was a campaign from outside to call a Quebecois to tell them that Quebec was a valued part of the country. People dialed their own phone number but with a Quebec area code. Mr. Link suggests that Americans start a similar campaign to Call a Canadian:

             Want to know what universal single-payer health care is really like? Do people die on gurneys waiting for operations? Would you pay through the nose in taxes? Is it really worry free? Instead of listening to "experts" from the health insurance industry, lobbyists, the government, or even Michael Moore, why not call an average Canadian and find out for yourself?

             Substitute your area code for a Canadian one listed below and call your own phone number. Introduce yourself and ask the person at the end of the line what they think about their health care system. Ask about their own experience. The service, the price, the choice, whatever.

             Then make up your mind if single-payer universal health care is a good idea for the USA.

             Canadian Area Codes:

                 * 709 Atlantic Time plus a half hour
                 * 506 and 902 Atlantic Time
                 * 819, 418, 581, 450, 613, 514, 438, 343, 416, 647, 905, 289, 705, 519, 226, 807 Eastern Time
                 * 204, 306 Central Time
                 * 867, 780, 587, 403, 587 Mountain Time
                 * 250, 778, 604 Pacific Time

        •  Facts are messy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Belief systems uncluttered by facts are so much easier on the brain processing power. You develop a list of about about 6-10 concepts that can be expressed in one or two simple sentences and use them to explain everything. If you ignore facts, they don't even have to make sense and you can go through life feeling good about yourself and not worrying about sad things because other people bring it on themselves and it will never happen to you.

          PROlong LIFE with affordable & effective Health Care for all.

          by Belle Ame on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 09:35:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I've Often Thought (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, mrkvica, cocinero

    The why that politicians and even the people who elect them don't just say to those who tout the Canadian health care as bad, or any of the others used, that even with conservative governments nobody goes into a big fight to rid their countries of it!!

    Blood cannot wash away blood. Hate cannot wash away hate. War cannot wash away war. ( an Afghan Proverb )

    by jimstaro on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:21:02 PM PST

  •  This Canadian would never give up our system (13+ / 0-)

    Canadian amazed by and addicted to US politics.

    by Mikecan1978 on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:21:14 PM PST

    •  I've been encouraging the NDP (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, lgmcp, mystery2me, leema, DrWolfy, cocinero

      that they should allow the Canadian healthcare to market itself as a HMO in the USA.

      --- Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, I'm a Freeper. - HollywoodOz

      by opendna on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:26:11 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Canada has a right wing Prime Minister (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      What would happen to Steven Harper if he tried to cancel the Canada Health Act?

      "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

      by captainlaser on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:44:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Political suicide. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        captainlaser, gabriella

        Even the right-wingers up here in Canada realize that Health Care is a sacred cow - despite its problems, people won't trade it for anything.  

        They can sometimes tolerate a little tinkering with health care around the edges - as private clinics in BC, Quebec and Ontario attest - but if you interfere with the basic premise of socialized care, available to all, and each according to their need (not their pocketbook), then your days in office are numbered.

        "We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege." - Pierre Trudeau

        by Wisewood on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:15:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gabriella, Wisewood, marigold

          Which should be everyone's answer to those who say Canadians aren't happy with their healthcare.

          No right-winger would try to get rid of it.  He'd be fed his own shortbreads.

          "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

          by captainlaser on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:19:00 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You know... (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            aliasalias, BlueOak, Belle Ame

            No right-winger would try to get rid of it.  He'd be fed his own shortbreads

            There's some degree of cross-pollenation between right-wingers up here and the Republicans, down there.  They attend some of the same functions and send 'observers' to each others' conventions.

            So perhaps a small part of the reason why the right-wingers (and some Democrats) down there fight so hard against health-care reform, and especially single-payer, is because it would likely endear and entrench itself to the electorate within a generation.  And, once that happened, it could never be repealed.

            Up here, the political dividends of our health care system were profound;  the Liberals (who were in power at the time the 1960s Medical Care Act was passed) enjoyed many decades of dominance in no small part because of it.  The NDP, which largely goaded the Liberals into passing single-payer, became a much more potent national force, establishing itself outside its home base in the West.  

            Down there, I might guess, profound reform like single-payer could become the Social Security and the New Deal for another generation or two.  If I'm not mistaken, those initiatives in the 1930s endeared Democrats to the electorate for many election cycles, afterward....

            "We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege." - Pierre Trudeau

            by Wisewood on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:39:58 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  But as I understood Canada Health Care (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              Pearson needed the NDP to maintain a coalition government.  My memory might be wrong on that.  

              We never have an opportunity down here where a progressive coalition can make or break a Presidency.

              Or do we?

              "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

              by captainlaser on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:48:33 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, they did. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Pearson needed the NDP to maintain a coalition government.  My memory might be wrong on that.

                They did, you're correct - but the Liberals had been losing some ground to the NDP for a few years because of health care issues, so it was effectively a win-win for them.  The Liberals were able to get the NDP's votes in Parliament in the short-term, and steal the NDP's main platform plank for the next election cycle.  The Liberals were able to wear the "party that passed health care" label for at least a little while afterward.

                We never have an opportunity down here where a progressive coalition can make or break a Presidency.

                Or do we?

                I don't know.  From where I am, way up here, it seems that the Presidency isn't all it's really cracked up to be.  Most of the moving and shaking on health care seems to happen in Congress;  Senators and Congressmen are apparently the ones who have more influence over legislation on the issue than the President.

                But, at least if the Canadian example is any guide, you don't really need either to finally get it done.  If you start passing health-care reform on the State level, then the Feds may well follow eventually - if only to make sure that Americans coast-to-coast are ensured a consistant level of care.  That's how the Federal government, up here, got involved - most provinces already had some form of universal health-care already, by the time Pearson and Parliament passed the Medical Care Act.  The goal of the act was basically to ensure that all Canadians received basically the same level of health-care.

                "We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege." - Pierre Trudeau

                by Wisewood on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:07:08 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  Prime Minister Harper's (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gabriella, Wisewood

              "people" were at the Democratic convention.  Our right wingers are not your right wingers.

              "Vancouver B.C. - the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, single payer health care, and single payer car insurance"

              by marigold on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 06:49:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You only need to read... (0+ / 0-)

                ... Harper's stuff - especially while he was head honcho at the National Citizens' Coalition - to see that he's got more in common with "their" right wingers, than most of us up here would probably like.

                He's just got a short leash because he's had a minority government.... thank goodness.

                "We peer so suspiciously at each other that we cannot see that we are standing on the mountaintop of human wealth, freedom and privilege." - Pierre Trudeau

                by Wisewood on Sat Dec 19, 2009 at 12:02:27 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  I think you mean 'sweetbreads' (nt) (0+ / 0-)
  •  Thanks for this diary...well done! (10+ / 0-)

    I too am an American married to a Canadian living in Ontario. My husband had a massive stroke three years ago...The story of our EXCELLENT experience with the Canadian Healthcare System can be found

    He continues to be cared well for...and has made remarkable progress, walking at least a mile every day when the weather is good...  

  •  This should be mailed to anyone (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    opendna, mrkvica, jimstaro, Mistral Wind

    who claims the government wants to take away our right to choose our health providers.

    GOP=Grand Obstructionist Party

    by Christian Dem in NC on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:24:34 PM PST

    •  anyone who says that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Christian Dem in NC

      really means the "gummint" "wants" to take away the rights of some priviliged few to make their fortunes exploiting the miseries of others. (And by "gummint," I mean a handful of elected representatives who put the well-being of others above the well-being of plutocrats.)

      -8.25, -6.26 If knowledge hangs around your neck like pearls, instead of chains, you are a lucky man... Alan Price

      by snookybeh on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:47:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a Canadian, let me say (43+ / 0-)

    that I've been unable to choose my own doctor, I've spent endless hours dealing with insurance bureaucrats and I've had to wait for medical services.

    Of course, none of this happened until I moved to the US. :)

  •  Hope you don't mind.... (9+ / 0-)

    ...but I sent some of your testimonials to some of my friends down here in Texas who, I swear, think Canadian health care is provided by Eskimo shamans.

  •  co-worker had his kidney removed -$50 total (0+ / 0-)

    right here in the US. and he spent 10 days in the Hospital - three in ICU.

    I had a baby this summer - $200 total including all the doctor visits  -- near the end, we were going to the hospital 2 times a week for tests.

    My co-worker and I have the same insurance -- we pay less than $320 a month for this great insurance -- it covers dental, vision, mental health and medicines.

    We need to stop focusing on Canada and work to get everyone great care here.

    BTW, since I once had a job offer in Canada, I calculated my taxes in Winnipeg and in the my Midwestern state.

    If I lived in Winnipeg, I would pay $15,000 US more in taxes each year. That is more than $1250 US a month.

    Talk about your back breaking mandates.

    It is not even close, I have a much better deal in the US. That is why I choose the job in America over the job in Canada.

    So, all these diaries that talk about how cheap medical care is in Canada conveniently forget that they are paying 1000's extra in taxes -- nothing is free.

    You pay it in premiums or you pay it in taxes.

    •  While this was once true (13+ / 0-)

      Canada has been fairly Conservative for a few years now, and taxes have been going down over the years (even under the Liberals.) The difference in taxation rates are not that wide at the moment.

      Currently, most Canadians basically now enjoy a higher standard of living than Americans. The household net worth of Canadians is substantially higher, and debt is significantly lower.

      Lack of crippling medical expenses is one of the principal reasons for this, along with the presence of government care, which helps Canada winhead to head competitions with the US for new plants.

      If apes evolved from humans, why are there still humans?

      by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:41:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I challenge you on that: Tax suprise . . . (15+ / 0-)

      Tax surprise:
      Most Canadians pay less tax than Americans

    •  It's true that either premiums or taxes (9+ / 0-)

      must fund the system.  But.  Taxation rates are progressive, with higher incomes paying a higher rate.  Premiums are NOT progressive, and if you are trying to get coverage outside of an employer plan, they are regressive based on risk.

      To the extent that health care is a human right, it behooves middle-class citizens to assist in making it available to poor citizens.  

      The American system does not do this.  

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:53:33 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Community vs every man for himself. (6+ / 0-)

      If you pay premiums, you cover yourself.  Your neighbor is on his own. If you pay taxes, you help to thicken the veneer of civilization a little.  That's the way I see it.  I am well into the top marginal bracket in Ontario, such that I pay high income surtaxes, and my total statutory deductions including federal and provincial income taxes plus Canada Pension Plan and Employment Insurance  premiums comes to 35% of my gross.  Remember, that includes medical coverage for my entire family of five.  I'm perfectly fine with that.

      I don't know what anymore.

      by peterborocanuck on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:03:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I wish my tax bite was only 35%. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just got a bonus check that was 40% taxed and yes, I live in NYC and pay for the privilege!

        •  misperception (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Val, elfling, Gray, mrkvica

          Bonuses are subject to Supplemental Wage Withholding. This just means a higher percentage was withheld. In your case it sounds like the Federal flat rate (35%) plus Social Security (6%) was withheld.

          The actual tax you ultimately pay will still be based on your total adjusted gross income for the year. If the amount of the supplemental wage withholding results in a net overpayment you will get it back in the form of a tax refund. I.e.: All other things being equal, if the top marginal rate for your typical wages is 28% you will get the difference between that and 35% back as a refund.

          Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

          by Joe Bob on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:28:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Maximum tax rate in Canada (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          is 43% or so for high income earners.
          Before deductions that a tax payer can legitimately take.

          Deductions for retirement savings plans, medical expenses (include premiums, drugs and procedures), school, etc. can considerably lower that tax rate.

          For example, in B.C., someone earning 100,000 per year
          who puts $18,000 into their retirement savings plan with no other deductions will pay income tax of 18000.

          That's it.  A tax rate of 18%.  I wouldn't call that too high for what we get.

          The old canard about Canadians paying higher taxes is just an old wives' tale.

          If the commenter above were going to pay an extra $15000 in taxes per year, I would guess that their salary is probably not that of a middle class earner.  A middle class earner, who, in the States, would pay the same health care premium as this person who is earning so much more.

          "Vancouver B.C. - the home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, single payer health care, and single payer car insurance"

          by marigold on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 07:38:38 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Reminds me of a framing debate (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        magic1, mrkvica, gabriella, aliasalias

        I use (borrowed from George Lakoff)

        Taxes can be framed either as

        1.  A government burden (the conservative framing)
        1.  An investment in the social fabric of the country (one I use but never seems to catch on).

        ... with liberty and justice for straight white Christians

        by DrWolfy on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:02:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  $1250 a month would be less than our (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elfling, mrkvica, smkngman

      premium. We were paying $24,000 a year because hubby is a writer. Now I have a finance job where the perks are still great, as we know. I pay NOTHING for my full family healthcare and so far we have been lucky enough not to test the limits of the polan.

      So, yeah, I am happy NOW but I can't leave this job and fewer people have the benefits I do anymore.

    •  BS (7+ / 0-)

      The US government today at this exact moment pays more for health care per citizen than the government of Canada does, more than the government of any other country save Norway.

      America pays 6% more of GDP for health care than Canada does, 280 billion per year just for paper shuffling waste and profits for the insurance companies, and that money comes out of your pocket one way or another. If it comes out as taxes or lost wages or bills from the hospital does not matter, it is still money out of your pocket for no reason other than the perpetuation of an insane system that puts profits for criminals ahead of good healthcare and a thriving nation.

    •  Funny stuff (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, mrkvica, codairem, Paladine

      You know those extra taxes Canadians pay - well those are used to balance the budgets (10+ years in a row until this US caused recession).

      Those taxes you are not paying - that's why the deficit is so high. This year's deficit works out to about $5,000 PER PERSON - so say $20,000 per family (and that is only at the federal level).

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:17:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd rather pay the same amount in taxes (9+ / 0-)

      than pay it to an insurance company. Why? Because of the knowlege that somewhere in the nation, a person with cancer can have the best therapy, the best doctors and not have to worry about the thousands upon thousands of medical bills that could destroy their marriage, their family, their life.

      It's not all about me.

      Who would Jesus let suffer? -5.75, -7.18

      by Rogneid on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:19:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup, instead of thinking my health care premium (0+ / 0-)

        is helping to pay for the $150,000 16th birthday party for the spoiled daughter of an insurance company executive.

        Hmmm, help another person get cancer treatment or help another person get a condo in Jackson Hole?

        PROlong LIFE with affordable & effective Health Care for all.

        by Belle Ame on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 09:41:47 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Please tell us (7+ / 0-)

      what plan you have? I have never in my life heard of such rates and benefits, and I'm sure the knowledge would be welcomed by many here.

      Back in my day you didn't recommend somebody, you called them an asshole. - sparks, DKos sage

      by occams hatchet on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:25:22 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, do! (0+ / 0-)

        We just had a new grandchild born under a "good" BCBS plan - they had to pay the hospital $700 up front and who-knows-what to the OB.  This is an 80/20 plan, BTW.

        I'd love to help them find that $200 rate in case they decide to have more children.

        (In 1988, our share of total childbirth expenses was over $700.)

        Sometimes it's better to individually address a problem rather than just criticize our politicians for failing to do so.

        by texasmom on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:07:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Really??? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nancelot, mrkvica, smkngman

      You'd better recalculate them there figures.

      You're paying for those that don't have Health Care every time they need care, from mundane to extreme!

      You also haven't a clue from one year to the next the costs nor coverage you're going to get nor when you'll be dropped!

      You're also paying, in a variety of ways, in lawsuits won for disfiguring or other complications of anyone who sues, even those for their choice of cosmetic care not needed care!

      No controls on cost of needed prescription drugs!

      And oh so much more!!!

      Blood cannot wash away blood. Hate cannot wash away hate. War cannot wash away war. ( an Afghan Proverb )

      by jimstaro on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:26:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's really great news (6+ / 0-)

      Which insurance company is this? Please share the information so that I can make recommendations to my patients. Hell, so I can switch companies myself.

      My predictions: 1) There is something that you are leaving out of your stories. 2) You will not respond to anybody's questions about which insurance you are talking about in such a way that anyone would be able to verify the specifics. 3) You will claim to be offended by people asking for verification of your incredible story.

      The plural of anecdote is not data.

      by Skipbidder on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:01:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  US healthcare is wonderful (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mrkvica, smkngman, Paladine

      until you lose your job and lose your employment based healthcare. What are you going to do then?

    •  But you have to pay to live in civilization (0+ / 0-)

      Living in a dog-eat-dog jungle is a lot cheaper.

      "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

      by captainlaser on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:46:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'd like to know how much you make (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nancelot, aliasalias, Paladine, absdoggy

      Because I've been living in Canada for 13 years, and at my income level (~30k CDN/yr) my taxes are pretty much the same as they were back in the U.S.

      And I don't have to buy health insurance. And I never had to make a co-pay for a doctor visit or a procedure in the hospital.

      And of course, I've never had to wait for "insurance company approval" for anything.

      You may not be able to change the world, but at least you can embarrass the guilty.
      - Jessica Mitford

      by Swampfoot on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:47:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Call B.S. on You (6+ / 0-)

      In Winnipeg you pay 15% on the first $40,726 in income tax and abaout 12% provincial tax.  In most midwest states ur about 4% state and 18% federal at that level = 22% combined vs 27% combined in Canada. On the next $40K, it's 37% in Canada vs 29% U.S. Even at $80K, this is about $5,500 at most total difference. On the next $43K, its 43% versus 32% = 11% or 4,300 brings us to $9,800.

      AFter that we're at 47% versus 37%, so 10% of another 5,200 we need is $52,000.

      So, you are making at least $175,000 to have this differential in taxes.

      Now let's look at insurance - the way you phrase this is very clever isn't it? YOU pay less than $320 a month for this great insurance.  In other words, YOUR share is let's say $315 a month - what does your employer pay? Actually, $315 a month for a single individual is actually pretty exhorbitant, and you say nothing about what your co-pays or deductibles are, only what you pay for insurance.

      Very misleading and says nothing about the truth that Canadian health care is less expensive and just as high quality as U.S.

      Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

      by absdoggy on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:01:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Anyone read The Healing of America by TR Reid? (6+ / 0-)

    I'm only a few chapters into it so far but it's very, very illuminating.  Germany, for example, has had a comprehensive healthcare plan since 1883! That's over 125 years! It was started by Otto von Bismarck, for crying out loud!

    What the hell is wrong with our politicians that they can't get even a decent basic system in place?

  •  Looks like we'll be having to retire there. We (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, Mnemosyne, mrkvica, Rogneid

    just got our renewal from AnthemBlueCross for our group policy. We're currently paying 833 per month for just hubby and I. Now they want 1400!! I'm just sick. Our business is down 30% this year. I'm assuming part of this is because we'll turn 50 this year. And I'm sure the CEO needs another house or plane. Thank god I am Canadian. If I could pick up our business and move it I would!

    "If this is true, why isn't it on Fox News by now?" Comment found on Warning - This site will make your head explode.

    by mrsgoo on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:37:04 PM PST

  •  My brother (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nancelot, mrkvica, mystery2me, codairem

    was on vacation in Arizona when he had a heart problem.  He was treated there and then returned to his home in Ottawa, Ont.  He had a recurrence of his heart problem and had it treated again at the heart institute in Ottawa as it had not been treated properly in Arizona.  He also has had prostate cancer treatments (cured) and is a diabetic and has always received excellent treatment at no out-of-pocket.

  •  Add my testimonial. (9+ / 0-)

    Sister-in-law has had thyroid cancer. She had surgery and radiation treatments and is followed yearly by her specialist at the cancer center.  Free.

    My mother has respiratory problems.  She gets checked 4 times a year at the Chest Hospital, with 1 scan a year.  Free.

    My husband's sedentary lifestyle and eating habits have led him (predictably) to having high cholesterol and Type II.  He's seen and endocrinologist and a nutritionist.  Within a month of the blood test coming back.  All free - including the blood test.

    Hubby also has sleep apnea.  The consultation, the overnight test at the sleep lab and the session with the tech when he picked up his CPAP?  FREE.

    Mother-in-law passed last March due to complications from a colon surgery (the Heparin thickened her blood instead of thinning it).  Surgery, 2 scans, hospital stay, transfer via ambulance to a trauma center for about 10 bypasses on different blood vessels, transfer back to 1st hospital by ambulance, and spent 10 days in ICU before passing.  It cost us the price of her burial (I'm taking about the money, not what we actually lost).

    Pregnant?  You're covered.  Worry about the diapers and the food, because you won't get a bill unless you opted for a private or semi-private room.  Those suckers cost at 20$ a day.

    BUT WAIT!!  In Quebec, new mothers ALSO are eligible to take up to a YEAR off work at 60% salary to stay with baby, and the law protects their job for them until they come back.  (It's part of a kind of UI benefit type thing...).  And fathers can take 2 weeks of paternity leave as well (more, if they have a good union).

    Being presented with a hospital bill or having to argue with pencil-pushers at insurance companies is considered barbarism here.  We have no idea how anyone could point to our system and not want one like it (or better, because as good as it is, it could always be improved).  The USA has no lessons to teach us when it comes to "equality" in healthcare.

    Do I pay lotsa taxes?  Sure.  But what I get in return I consider close to PRICELESS.

    When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die. - Linkin Park

    by mystery2me on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:43:51 PM PST

  •  Great diary, Thanks (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, lgmcp, Paladine, cocinero

    Sigh, i wish i had a skill that would qualify me to work in Canada. And isn't that a sad commentary for an american? I love this country but,increasingly i feel it's not just the Dems who are suffering from spousal abuse syndrome but all americans with the corporations as our abusers.

    With no definite future & no purpose other then to prevail somehow - The Mermen

    by blueoregon on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:44:51 PM PST

  •  O Canada! (5+ / 0-)

    My Daughter and her family live in Toronto. I hear the same stories about their health care. Canadian health care stands as clear proof of the merits of Single Payer!

  •  Premiums (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ott, mrkvica, lgmcp, mystery2me, cocinero

    Just a quick note that the premiums you quoted do not tell the whole story. Most of our medical costs are paid through taxes (income, sales etc) and come from general revenue. So in some ways the true costs are hidden, which may or may not be a good thing.

    Remember that up here in Ontario for instance there is a combined sales tax of about 15% on almost everything you buy (food excepted). It adds up although there are rebates for the poor. However in Canada most feel it is okay to pay taxes, because we actually get something for them.

    As for the quality and cost of health care - no complaints at all:

    My daughter had 4 eye operations before the age of three, some done by one of the top eye surgeons anywhere at Sick Kids hospital.

    My father has had heart surgery and a number of emergency issues. The service has always been top notch.

    You would have a VERY HARD TIME trying to get Canadians to part with their health care.

    I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

    by taonow on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:46:16 PM PST

    •  You can take my Canadian Health System (4+ / 0-)

      from my cold, dead fingers.

      Really, it's a no-brainer here.  Not having universal health care here is unfathomable.

      When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die. - Linkin Park

      by mystery2me on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:54:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  taxes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joe Bob, taonow, mrkvica

      I would say paying for health care through taxes is a good solution. The purpose of this attempt at health care reform in the US was to insure those who can't afford it. Putting the health care costs on the tax bill achieves exactly that. Those who can afford to pay for medical coverage do so through taxes. Those who can't, oh well, they get full coverage too. Objective achieved, with the added bonus of cutting out a few dozen middlemen.

      I guess I could add my testimonial:
      I'm norwegian and we have "socialized" health care, paid for through taxes. I am free to choose any hospital in the country for treatment, and everyone is entitled to have a "primary GP" who you choose through a easy-to-use webpage or by phone (you're free to go to any GP of course, but the primary is the one you're supposed to visit). There's a small copayment, but total medical expenses are capped at ~$500 annually.

      My only direct, personal experience with the health care system apart from routine checkups was when I needed to have a couple of wisdom teeth removed. My dentist did all the paperwork and a few days later I got a letter with an appointment time at my preferred hospital and simple instructions on what to do if I wanted to reschedule or needed transportation. I showed up, had the little devils extracted, paid about $20 and left. I could have had my transportation costs covered, but I didn't bother to dig out the the ticket receipts. Didn't fill out a single form, no hassles, no insurance bureaucrat to fight with, negligible expenses.  

      My mother has had some serious treatment though, including an implanted pacemaker. It's the newest technology and completely unintrusive. and was put in a day after the heart condition was discovered. Checkups are frequent, both at the hospital and her primary GP (who know her well), and she's paid virtually nothing for it all. The heart condition that caused all this is serious, but her life hasn't really had to change because of it.

      •  User fees and co-pays, premiums cost more in the (0+ / 0-)

        long run. The people who seek care are far sicker and it costs much more that way.

        The US system costs far more than the Canadian system because of the wy we prevent those who need it from getting care with artificially inflated prices and user fees. Also, sometimes sick people find that they can't get tests they need, and so, then they "aren't sick" until they are almost dead and its obvious.

        Insure those who can't afford it can't get care? That sounds more like the HCR bill.

        Because 35% cost sharing (in the plans that would presumably be eligible for subsidies) seems to me to be so much that it "insures" that sick poor people either won't be able to afford the still substantial uncovered health care costs (doctor visits, drug co-pays, out of network doctors if they cant get decent care in network)

        If they find the money, they possibly could lose the subsidies, because they will be seen as not having an income low enough to qualify for subsidies..

        For poor sick people, uncovered costs and higher than expected charges are really a dangerous wild card that deters them from seeking care until they are really, really ill..

        Its one that healthy people don't understand until they get sick.

        This ends up costing far more in the long run.  Here's a link to a summary of some of the research that shows this (from the Canadian government)

        Myth: User fees would stop waste and ensure better use of the healthcare system

  •  Canadians live more than three years longer (8+ / 0-)

    that we do because they have BETTER health care.  Go look at the CIA's life tables

    eschew obfuscation

    by jimG on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:48:06 PM PST

    •  And this is in a climate that for (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nancelot, mrkvica

      everywhere outside of BC is absolutely inhospitable at least four months of the year!

      If apes evolved from humans, why are there still humans?

      by Bobs Telecaster on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:57:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      nancelot, mrkvica, fayea

      we live longer because we are not exposed to the inanity of American conservatives/Beck/Fox etc on a regular basis. That has to take a toll on the old ticker. Probably 3 years worth.

      I can live with doubt and uncertainty and not knowing. I think it is much more interesting to live not knowing than to have answers that might be wrong- Feynman

      by taonow on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:07:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Cubans (0+ / 0-)

      are healthy too. The amount of misinformation about both Cuba and Canada's health care systems is astounding. But then the word socialism has been abused too.

      If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion. Dalai Lama

      by ohcanada on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:20:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most provinces don't even have premiums. (7+ / 0-)

    In fact I think BC is the only one.

    And I was friggin' outraged when I moved there from Manitoba and discovered I had to PAY for healthcare! (even if it only was $648 / year.)  That's still over a week's worth of pay for me.

    Thankfully I am back in Manitoba.  We also have socialist car insurance (the cheapest in the country - even though we are the car theft capital!) and socialist electrical power (also the cheapest around).


    What's ridiculous about hucking squirrels at a man who has angered the Economy?

    by RageKage on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:48:51 PM PST

  •  Oh, you Canadians, with your (7+ / 0-)

    compassionate surgeons and your best care available and your radical new procedures not readily available elsewhere and those small monthly premiums and your overwhelming gratitude plus those rocket science hospital interventions and that timely care with no delay in a crisis and your three incredible vascular surgeons, two anesthesiologists, bowel surgeon and kidney surgeon plus compassionate care and those nurses, physiotherapists, and doctors who make house-calls plus your 5th surgeries and that best care possible and that total cost of zero as well as your 2 beautiful healthy children and not being able to afford the cost of the hospital care without the Canadian medical system supporting you and your not having to wait for anything or worry about who would pay for anything and those $54/month premiums that get you EVERYTHING you need plus the best care you arrange for yourself by choosing the doctor, the hospital, the treatment for $114 for a family of four.

    Admit it: you'd kill to have a health care system like the USA. If it didn't kill you first.

    Slap it. Shoot it. Kaboot it.

    by adios on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:49:01 PM PST

    •  Um, what premiums?? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As mentioned by others, our system is paid for mostly by income tax and sales tax.  I've never paid a "health care premium" in my life.

      That's a lie.  I paid 'em when I lived in the States.

      When the rich wage war, it's the poor who die. - Linkin Park

      by mystery2me on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:57:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Depends on what province you live in. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias, googleimage

        Here in Alberta, until 2008, we paid monthly premiums.

        But...if you were poor, you didn't have to pay them due to subsidies.

        Now however, Alberta govt, foolishly, dropped those premiums, as Conservatives, they considered them a tax. Now, with hundreds of millions lost from the health care budget they are cutting services including putting mental health patients out on the street.

        Canadians still haven't figured out that conservatism is evil. Especially here in Alberta where we have had the same health cutting govt for decades. But hey, we are oil rich, what do we care about good governance.

        "Gorbachev sings tractors: Turnip! Buttocks!" - Bloom County

        by NorthAndEast on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:19:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I tried to warn you! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Four months ago, actually:


    Hideous there, isn't it?

    The best way to save the planet is to keep laughing!

    by LaughingPlanet on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:52:20 PM PST

  •  Um, yeah - UCLA nearly killed me (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, codairem

    a few years ago.  "Best in the West" the signs all say on the elevators... Of course they are very good, but they are so busy that they don't listen very well, and it took moving to a much smaller town in a state far away to learn why I didn't finish recovering from the accident they caused.  The so-called "Best" care isn't always that which helps people recover adequately.

    Torture: An act... specifically intended to inflict severe physical or mental pain or suffering upon another person within his custody or physical control.

    by MsGrin on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:53:30 PM PST

  •  I've held an unofficial poll over the past... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    taonow, mrkvica, lgmcp, cocinero

    7 months at one our motels which I presently manage. We've had about 100 Canadians come through since May and I've asked each of them if they'd prefer the US health care system over theirs, and it won't be surprising to tell you that 95% of those I asked would hands down take their system over ours.

    That doesn't mean they don't have complaints about their system (most common complaint is waiting times), but even with those minor inconveniences, Canadians still prefer waiting times over the threat of bankruptcy and high monthly premiums.  

    Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    by Jahiz on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 12:54:40 PM PST

  •  I'm a Canadian in America (8+ / 0-)

    I moved on my own to the US in 1994, leaving the family of my birth back in Alberta.  My father had some heart issues and received a triple-bypass at the tender age of 62.  He also suffered from kidney failure and was on dialysis 3 times a week.  Plus, a diabetic.  I can't even begin to imagine the financial cost to him and the rest of the family if he were one of the good people who hadn't yet qualified for Medicare.  6+ years on dialsys, plus the heart operation, plus the hospital stays, and he still payed his $54 / month to the gov't.

    My mother wound up with Leukemia in 2007.  Rather vicious strain called AML, which eventually took her life later in the year.  But not before she fought the sickness.  Hard.  Chemo, radiation, and a new experimental treatment from one of the Cancer Centers in Ontario.  Each treatment required a 3-4 week hospital stay.  Total cost, $54 / month.  There was never a decision.  She was able to concentrate on doing EVERYTHING to get healthy and not worry about cost.  Neither were the Doctors or Nurses, God Bless them.  Whatever was needed, was provided.  Because every Canadian pays, whether sick or healthy.

    I'm 41 now.  Have on eye on retiring at 55 ( God Willing and the creek don't rise ).  I actually had that glimmer of hope that the Medicare age was going to drop to 55.  Guess not, thanks Lieberman.  Considering taking my family back to Canada when I turn 55, unless my wife finds a position with health care.  I'm skeptical that I could find a private plan that we could afford without breaking the bank.

    So yeah, I'm a little biased towards single-payer.  The HORRORS of the Canadian health-care system are WAY overblown and really have no part in this debate.

    Bring on the filibuster, and force reconciliation on the Democrats.  They need to learn to fight fire with fire.  The Republicans have rendered themselves useless to the debate by voting "NO" at every turn.  This brings the debate entirely inhouse, where the Liebermans and the Nelsons get to play petty politics.  Screw 'em.  Go to reconciliation as Bush did 3 times for his Tax Cuts.  As Reagan did, As Clinton did.  This is why it's there.  Use it, or be at the mercy of this tactic for the next 3 years.


  •  My Son is in Paris (5+ / 0-)

    He gets health care via his live-in girlfriend for next to nothing.* It's basically like Medicare for all in the French system.  They call the doctor at 9 am and walk in at 9:30 with no wait.

    Every time I talk to my son, he asks why we haven't passed real health care reform yet.  The rest of the world looks on the US like we are a bunch of morons.  

    Germany has had universal coverage for 125 years; the UK initiated its NHS right after WWII, when the country was in full crisis mode; the US is the only industrialized country in the world with a for-profit health insurance system.  

    I thought Obama would bring real change.  It now appears that we will have to make him do it, like he said.  The uproar against the Senate bill is a good start.

    *(BTW there is an interesting story how France 20 years ago got to "domestic partnership" for all.  The GLBT groups tried to get domestic partnerships for themselves, but, much like in the US, the population wasn't interested in equal rights for gays.  So the GLBT group decided to make the domestic partnership law apply to anyone:  just roommates; adult mother and adult daughter; 2 elderly sisters, etc.  The right to carry someone on your insurance policy or to give them the right to visit you in the hospital, etc. was now open to everyone.  Once they took that route, the GLBT groups got what they wanted for themselves.)

  •  Oh sweet jesus ... (6+ / 0-)

    How I wish I had been born in Canada. Reading those testimonials made me cry. And $54 a month? Less than my water bill. I am so tired of fighting our useless government I can no longer weep. I haven't the strength to push out tears.

    Thank you for your diary. Canada-envy peaking now.

    •  oops (0+ / 0-)

      I meant: made me want to cry ... you can't cry and not cry at the same time.

    •  My parents were prescient (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      My parents decided to have me in Canada.  When I was twelve, my mom sat me down and told me that they'd made that decision because at some point in the future the US might not be such a nice place to live any more, and they wanted me to have the option of living somewhere else.

      They had no problem having me up there: my dad was a fairly sought-after professor at that point, so he just indicated his willingness to take a visiting professorship for a year, and let the Canadian universities bid against one another.  And it's a damn good thing they did: I was a premature baby, and was in the hospital (under the Bilirubin lights) for almost a month before being able to go home.  Total cost?  $10.

      The only reason I'm not in Canada now is that I fell in love with San Francisco.  Dammit.


  •  You want to move to Canada? (4+ / 0-)

    Well, ok, but remember we aren't all sunshine and roses sometimes we are snow and tundra.

    Some other things to know: - Thanks to our Conservative party, we are slowly becoming more like America - Violent assaults are permitted provided they occur on a sheet of ice - We have tar sands and dammit, we use them - Eastern Canadians think the West are a bunch of idiot hicks. Western Canadians just plain hate the East. And everyone who isn't French hates Quebec. - Newfies are awesome. - Soon to be selling our water like our oil (thanks again to the Conservatives) - Childish parliamentary system - The Queen of England is our head of state - Big fucking fish - The tolerance of cold is a source of pride: minus 40, bring it on. - Oh, and that's Celius, American!

    (some of that is tongue-in-cheek, especially the hate talk - rivalries, dont-cha-know)

    (Where the hell are my carriage returns ?)

    "Gorbachev sings tractors: Turnip! Buttocks!" - Bloom County

    by NorthAndEast on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:02:59 PM PST

  •  For everyone reading this diary. (6+ / 0-)

    Here are two incredible testimonials in favor of "socialized" medicine.

    Number ONE: The Canadian System.  In 2004 the Canadian Broadcast Corporation ran a series of 100 biographies over a year.  They asked the Canadian people to vote for the Greatest Canadian Ever.  The winner was Tommy Douglas, the person responsible for the invention and enactment of their health care delivery system.  The Greatest Canadian Ever, as voted upon by the Canadian people.  They fucking LOVE their healthcare system.

    Number TWO: The British System.  In 1945, Winston Churchill, the hero of World War II was voted out of office.  Why?  Because he opposed the enactment of socialized medicine.  The British people LOVE Winston Churchill but they LOVE their health care system even more.

    Any asshole that tries to feed you a line of bullshit about how fucked up socialized medicine can lick your ass crack when you tell them about these two very important testimonials.

  •  aboot time we got it down here, eh? n/t (0+ / 0-)

    It's called the American Dream because to believe it, you have to be ASLEEP! -Carlin

    by gereiztkind on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:09:31 PM PST

  •  Another Testimonial (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, mrkvica, irishwitch, IowaPopulist

    I just heard from my mother that my cousin just gave birth to a 10lb baby girl, with some complications.

    1. The baby broke her arm during a very difficult birthing process.
    1. The mother required immediate surgery to take care of the tearing that occurred.
    1. The local hospital brought in a team from Sick Kid's hospital in Toronto (about 50 miles away) to treat the child.  I didn't get any details, but if they had to bring in specialists, it was bad.
    1. The child was then airlifted to Sick Kids' for intensive care.

    All of this cost them nothing.

    Other examples from my family:

    - My father has his spleen removed 24 hours after he was diagnosed that it was about to go.  He's in his eighties, and had never had surgery before.

    - Two uncles have had bypass surgery - one double, one triple, both had their surgery within a week of being diagnosed as needing it.

    - I broke open my head when I was 4 (one of those awful forehead wounds that bleed like hell), and was treated in the emergency room within 10 minutes of arriving in my mother's arms.

    - My mother broke her arm right in front of me, walked to the hospital (two blocks away) and was gone for little more than an hour.

    None of these events cost a thing up front, it's all covered in taxes.  Are Canadian taxes higher?  Sure, but what's it worth to you to be able to walk into any hospital, anywhere in the country, and know that not only will you not be turned away for treatment, but you won't be charged either?

  •  Another Canadian who is addicted (4+ / 0-)

    to American Politics I too look at this debate for a system similar to ours and I shake my  head at all the communist screamers, particularly from those who would benefit most from such a system (can u say teabagger).

    My Premiums in the Province of Ontario are $600.00 a year.


    None......compared to what I know about the last civilized country to try and get on board......

  •  I married a Canadian, too (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, Paladine, IowaPopulist

    and my in-laws have similar stories. When my father-in-law had a heart attack, they flew him to Calgary (after he was stabilized) because the local hospital might not provide all the best options for him. We pay approximately ten times as much in premiums as my brother-in-law pays for his. Etc., etc. There will always be dissatisfied Canadians now and then, and I known it's only anecdotal, but most of them seem pretty happy with their care!

  •  A nice reminder of how good things can be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, irishwitch

    with a perfectly simple, rational health care system in a liberal, representative democracy. What the hell is wrong with us? We would rather fight each other to the death, even among Democrats, than pass the most modest health care reform.

  •  In the UK (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, irishwitch, Paladine, ridemybike

    Our tax system covers the cost of the NHS.

    Its been that way for 60 plus years. National Insurance tax is collect from employees by their employers on behalf of the government.
    Employers also make a contribution.  

    I employ 14 people 4 of which are part time employees who do not contribute to national insurance due to being below the lower earnings level.

    We seriously never give it much of a thought. Its just the way it is here.....and has always been as far back as I remember.

    I have the added bonus of living in Scotland and our government - Scottish National Party has reduced prescription charges from a flat rate of £6.00($10)  down to £4.00($6.50) and will abolish charges completely from 2011.

    It is astounding that the USA government cannot adopt a similar system to Canada or the UK and put the health, welfare and well being of their people above the for-profit insurance and drug companies.

    Man's inhumanity to man Makes countless thousands mourn! Robert Burns

    by yooneek on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:37:56 PM PST

  •  Come on Valerie, do you have to rub it in? :) (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
  •  Read My Signature (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, mrkvica, irishwitch, Paladine

    I have been posting the same news here for years. The crazy right-wing assholes who have sold their souls (and your bodies) to the corporations like to shit all over our system. They have no idea what they are talking about.

    I had a heart attack in 2003. My brother had a major stroke last year. Total cost to both families was the twoonie inserted in the hospital parking lot gate as family came to visit.

    Canada - where a pack of smokes is ten bucks and a heart transplant is free.

    by dpc on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:41:52 PM PST

  •  I lived there for six years... (4+ / 0-)

    No serious issues, but it was sure nice to be able to in, swipe your card, and leave.

    The doctor's, nurses, etc. were awesome, and the care first rate.

    I don't know why middle America thinks that system is so bad.

    Yes, there are waiting lists, but if you need to be seen, you are seen.  No questions.

    Speaking of "waiting lists", my mom waited 6 months for cataract surgery which cost her $2,000 even on Medicare, the "good ole US of A", "The best medical care in the world".

    I now live back in the US, have good insurance, that costs my employer a LOT OF MONEY.  The "cadillac" tax will hurt me and my co-pay will probably increase.

    I get very discouraged when people argue against what they don't know about, and support a system that is broken.

    ... with liberty and justice for straight white Christians

    by DrWolfy on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:48:22 PM PST

  •  Your testimony.. (4+ / 0-)

    is one of the reason why I am in the process of becoming a dual citizen myself.

    I'm in the middle of having my mothers original Canadian citizenship reinstated. Once that is done, I will be eligible for automatic citizenship, which I plan on applying for.

    If we lose the White House in 2012 to god forbid Palin or somebody like her, I will have to consider seriously relocating to the great white north.

    I don't know how much more I can take of the assholes who are determined to ruin this country.

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 01:48:29 PM PST

  •  My wife's best friend, US vs Canada - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, irishwitch

    My wife's best friend came down with Crohns Disease at age 19 while working part time at a fast food joint. It is a genetic incurable disease of the intestines/stomach.

    Imagine if she was an American. Obviously she would have no insurance when diagnosed, and as she was living with her parents would not be covered as indigent. The bills for her stomach surgery and ten days in the hospital would easily run what...$50,000 plus? Then medicines and so on...for the rest of her life. She would never be able to get insurance no matter what job she got, with her pre-existing condition, and any future illness of any kind would be all hers to pay for. Basically her future would lay in ruins, permanently screwed at the age of 19 while simply saving money for university.

    Thankfully she is a Canadian. She was being operated on literally within hours of going to the hospital. There was no paperwork to speak of. There was no bill. She recovered and can have the future she decides to have.

  •  With this bill, we'll never be like Canada. (0+ / 0-)

    Pass it chumps. Did the hole deeper so we never get out.

    My name is Douglas Watts.

    by Pometacom on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:11:12 PM PST

  •  Canadians complain about their health care system (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohcanada, irishwitch, Paladine

    ... But it's all a matter of perspective.   Canadians mostly complain about long waits for some treatments as well as a shortage of doctors.   Some would even like the introduction of some form of privitization of some medical services into the system.

    But give up single-payer universal health care and adopt a US-style system?   No way.  It's the third rail of Canadian politics.  It would never happen.

    •  Most Canadians are happy with the (0+ / 0-)

      current system according to polling.  The only times people do complain is if costs aren't covered by a new drug that is expiremental.  Like some Cancer drugs that can prolong life for 2 months at a cost of 44,000 month.  There comes a point when the cost of the drugs aren't worth the price.  Of course these people think diffently as it is their life.  

      My son was hit by a car two months ago.  He was taken by ambulance, no charge, given an MRI, CAT scan, had many X-rays all in 1 hour.  He was given the VIP treatment for sure.  All we had to pay was a 44 dollar hospital bill for the crutches and bootie for his cast.

      Yes, getting into an oncologist can take a long time.  But who really has the money to pay for the US system of Cancer treatments?

  •  I would not be writing this comment were (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joe Bob, mrkvica, irishwitch, Mol

    it not for the professionalism and brilliance of the Canadian health care system. I would be dead. I had a heart attack a year ago last April. From the EMR workers who got to my door faster than I could get dressed to the surgeons to the follow-up classes and exercise tests and lessons and super low-cost prescriptions the system has been better than I could have imagined it could be. If a local hospital is not equipped to handle a certain procedure they get you to where it can be done in timely fashion by ambulance or helicopter.

    I probably have had well in excess of $100,000 in care. Total cost: $50 for some excellent heart health classes and $6 per prescription (for an average of at least $100 worth of medication, probably more but they never tell you what it might have cost). I do pay a couple thousand a year in health surtaxes, but not because I have been ill, but because I have a high income. Those billing arrangements for health care are exactly how they should be.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:13:08 PM PST

  •  Canada also has banned (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, papicek, Paladine

    Direct to Consumer Advertising....

    Gotta love 'em.


    •   it's only allowed in 2 countries (0+ / 0-)

      usa and new zealand.

    •  I still see em ... (0+ / 0-)

      I get cable and I still see cialis ads and have seen boniva ads but not as many recently ... perhaps it's a cable thing.

      As far as healthcare goes I am also Canadian and I have had several surgeries in my life and regular medical care for my children and husband ...outside of a small premium that is mostly covered through our employer we pay nothing ... my surgeries? $0 ... my doctor checkups? $0 emergency room visits and there have been many with 2 kids $0

      My parents had several heart attacks in their lives ... all but one were completely covered .. and the one that they would have had to pay for but were eventually reimbursed for? Happened in Florida ... good care but we couldn't wait to get my dad back home so he could be cared for in Canada.

      My husband will eventually have to have his hip replaced. He has trouble now but it is manageable and he has elected to wait until it gets worse before treating it .. when he decides to deal with it, he'll go on a waiting list for elective surgery, it isn't quite there yet and HE gets to decide when he wants to step in line .. will he be on a waiting list? Yeah of course ... but it's HIS choice not to get in line now and we understand that those in more need will be taken care of first when he does decide to go forward it isn't like this waiting list is something to be feared.

      I have NEVER had a complaint about the quality of care I have received. I have NEVER had to pay for any treatment I have ever received. I do NOT have to worry about going bankrupt from medical bills. I do not have to worry about waiting to see my doctor or have someone else CHOOSE my doctor, or have someone in between my doctor and the care I receive. I do not have to deal with the health insurance industry AT ALL.

      Whenever I need to see someone ... I call. If there is an opening that day I go in, more often than not I may have to wait until the next day, cause I usually wait to long to call for an appointment ;)BUT IF I need urgent care and my doctor's office is not open or I cannot get seen right away .. I have 2 options ... I can go to a walk in clinic, or I can go to the emergency room. ALL FREE. I will be seen immediately ... well within reason I take my place in line and understand that it is a triage system. I have NEVER had to wait too long. The walk in clinic I go to is staffed by emergency room doctors who all take a turn at the clinic, the quality of care is as good as I would receive at the hospital and the records of the visit are forwarded to my family doctor who usually likes to call me in to double check that everything is going nicely and I am mending from whatever ailment sent me into the clinic in the first place. Once again ALL free.

      I have no idea why our system gets such a bad rap in your country ... but if there is one thing all politicians know up here it's DO NOT MESS WITH THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM OR THE VOTERS WILL THROW YOU OUT ON YOUR ARSE SOONER RATHER THAN LATER ... and that goes pretty much from coast to coast and I have lived on both so I know whereof I speak.

      People like to complain ... I have found that to many it's their favourite pastime so why oh why if our health care is so bad aren't MORE people speaking up against it? huh? Yeah you get the occasional loon, but you have to really look for them and yeah you may even get the occasional case where the system may have failed someone but if so I have never met one. It's like an urban legend might be true but no one knows the original story teller ... why is that?

      "Not all who wander are lost"

      by mysticl on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 07:43:26 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  My own take on Canadian Medicare (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    magic1, nancelot, mrkvica

    From a post I wrote in September at ePluribus Media:


    Real Canadians Talking Real Healthcare

    For those of you that just don't get what single payer healthcare is all about, via Karoli at US Health Crisis, real Canadians talk about healthcare:

    Why this video? Why now?

    In the spirit of truth, my friend Matte Black (@Shoq on Twitter) and his brother took their video camera to Canada on vacation to interview Canadians about their health care system. When we talked about it, I asked him to try to get negative views with specifics for balance. Here is the result. It has been edited for brevity, but the negative views were not removed, because there were none. He could not find one Canadian who thought they should kill the system. These are everyday people. They have no agenda at all other than being patriotic Canadians.

    Please watch it and share it with as many people as you can.

    I get a kick out of the responses to the co-pay question: "Co-pay? What does co-pay mean?" This is exactly what happens when the people demand a healthcare system that works for the people instead of for the bottom line of a corporation.

    I lived in Canada for about 28 years.

    I can't begin to list how much better everything is in Canada compared to the health care disaster we all suffer from south of the border. Cradle to grave, there is never any question about whether they will do everything they can to treat you in a reasonable amount of time.

    I could walk in to my primary care physician any time he was open. If it was his golf day or something like his vacation time? I would go a couple of blocks down the street to another doctor. I chose those doctors based on my level of comfort with them.

    My primary would even do house calls (probably still does?) if you or your kid were too sick to make it in.

    If you had something so severe as to need more than what your typical primary could provide? Walk into the emergency room (or take the ambulance - they don't ask if you have insurance first because that would be inhumane). It is my understanding that they now have CLSCs in Quebec to cover the less severe emergencies like breaks, sprains, stitches, etc., that might just need the basics or to use when your primary caregivers office might be closed. This alleviates pressure on emergency rooms at hospitals so they can concentrate more on the serious emergencies.

    <span style="font-weight: bold;">My father was diagnosed with cancer not too long ago and given about six months to live.</span>

    He was treated by the best medical staff he could find for his specific problems. He also had a good backup for second opinions. He chose them based on how he wanted and needed to be treated based on consultations with many caregivers. He lived 3 more years after that original dead end diagnosis and died in his 70s.

    No healthcare or treatment is perfect but had he lived in the USA he very likely would have been uninsured because of previously existing health conditions. In the USA he wouldn't have even had that "six months" diagnosis.

    And never, not even once, did he have to make any healthcare decisions based on whether or not he could afford the treatment. He decided (as do all Canadians) in conjunction with and on the advice of his doctors. There was no insurance company in between them to turn him down.

    <span style="font-weight: bold;">The American system is as cruel to the poor and those that really need the medical help as it is profitable to the insurance companies.</span>

    Those are just some of the things I can say about the Canadian system.

    Americans, in surveys, appear to be "more satisfied" with their healthcare providers than Canadians do. Maybe you don't understand this, being that you have had a crappy healthcare system all of your life...

    That is because Canadians expect a lot more from their healthcare system than Americans do.

    Never mind that the polls I have seen always point to satisfaction with providers BUT rarely address the cost and the mode of payment directly. Why? Because the few times we hear the voice of the people on this, for the most part, they say they hate their medical insurance companies.

    My primary doctor in the US is great. He supports Single Payer. Most of the hospital people I have dealt with are great at their jobs, too. I always ask them and they support single payer by a large margin. My children have a great pediatrician and, yes, he supports single payer as well. Nothing to complain about the actual service providers. That side is pretty much equal to the Canadian providers. Some are better and some are worse, but competent and caring nonetheless. They want to give you the best service possible. And, for the most part, the majority of those providers want to give you single payer.

    I am among the few that has half decent insurance. For how long, who knows? In this economy corporations are stripping workers of higher quality insurance for less costly junk plans. Our family's plan was changed to add higher co-pays and more restrictions on usage AGAIN, this year. And that is if these cash strapped corporations and small businesses aren't laying people off people all together so they have no insurance at all. If our family lost our source of health insurance we know that our budget would eliminate any possibility of keeping coverage regardless of government's provision of the costly Cobra plans. On unemployment, we would struggling to keep a roof over our heads and the kids fed. Regardless of that, I expect more from my healthcare AND I expect it to cost a hell of a lot less. But that is because I have seen and lived with a better healthcare system than the one we have here.

    I expect nothing less than Single Payer!

    Of course, that does not mean I am completely rigid on this and unwilling to compromise. It is just a higher standard that could be attained in this country. More recently we have seen a lot of discussion on the public option, since single payer has been banned from the political discussion and the media's coverage of healthcare.


    Most recently some morons are saying that is the "Left of the Left" that are pushing for the public option and this supposed to be shocking news to be breathlessly reported on in the traditional media... As they continue their twisted and contorted takes on reality, let us look at who really supports the public option, OK?

    67% of conservatives support having the choice between a public option and private insurance.

    71% of Republicans support having the choice between a public option and private insurance.

    77% of Americans support having the choice between a public option and private insurance.

    For those politicians and media stenographers that have a problem with reading comprehension I took a moment to annotate this Survey USA graphic. There is your "Left of the Left" in RED and BLUE...


    The black ink in the ledgers of insurance corporations is being balanced by the red blood of Americans.

    Right now about 22,000 Americans die every year because they are under or uninsured. This has got to stop. Now... You could do nothing at all about this issue OR you could contact your Congress critters and hammer them to bring some semblance of real reform to healthcare. Americans are literally dying waiting for something to be done. And a public option, at the very least, will allow for the uninsured to get insurance and give the underinsured the opportunity to choose better insurance.


    Not meaning to hijack your thread. :)

    ePluribus Media
    Collaboration is contagious!

    by m16eib on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:28:03 PM PST

  •  surprisingly cheap premiums (0+ / 0-)

    I know it's sliding scale- but it's still amazingly cheap.

  •  And I'll give you another. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrkvica, quantumspin, Paladine

    I gave my own details of the Canadian Health Care System the other day

    I'm back in the US and I'm terrified that if cancer strikes me again, I will have a "preexisting condition" and my health care coverage will be cancelled.

    This country is frankly not part of the civilized world which is one reason I've gone radio quiet over the last couple of days.

    "Marriage is the only adventure open to the cowardly." - Voltaire

    by captainlaser on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:42:59 PM PST

    •  re your comment...'this country is..not part of.' (0+ / 0-)

      I couldn't agree with you more.  Here in the U.S., unless you're rich and nicely tenured in a job, existing here is just that: existing.  The U.S. is a very brutal place, not just in its 'forever' wars, but in how it regards and treats it's citizens, and somewhat surprisingly, our citizens THEMSELVES brutalize and think lowly of each other.  Can't afford health care?  It's because you're a 'useless eater,' and can't find a decent job---and oh, there are just billions of decent jobs that pay 100k/yr here in the U.S.  Or maybe the reason is you're not a believer in the one true god.  Or maybe you just deserve the life you've made, and that you WILL poor health on yourself, in which case, here's a CD of music and a Bible to read.

      I've lived here all my life and have seen this country of mine become more and more mean-spirited each year, and frankly I put up with it because, for 20 years, I had a 'good job' with full, and I mean full benefits (put to the test when I got cancer), until my company hit hard times and laid off 100,000 people---including me.  Since then, my eyes opened to the health care issue.  Be a corporate or government employee or a tenured professor, and you got good health care.  Otherwise, terrible junk insurance, or those awful 'insurance savings plans' that you pay into, but you never know what your medical costs will be when you get seriously sick.

      I have a friend who was diag'd with cancer, and his chemo cost $30,000 PER treatment.  He had 17.  He didn't have insurance, so they billed him, and he can't pay.

      I'm sure, being beyond middle age that I will not see the US offer truly comprehensive, friendly, health care of the sort I got from my ex employeer, or that available to upper elites today.  My advice to younger ones:  get the hell out of America, because when you get older, you'll find out how bad it will be if you get sick and can't pay.  So, either be a CEO for life, or get into a huge law firm, or become a Congressman; otherwise, get out of the country while you are young and can set up a new life elsewhere, use your energy for that, rather than fighting the b.s. here.  It's not worth it.

      Over and out.  And good luck to all.  

  •  Canadians, in my experience, follow American... (3+ / 0-)

    politics more closely than Americans do,..."

    And so do my wife's family in Germany.  

    They are saddened, and appalled to see just what we are going through here in the states.  

    "Try not to become a man of success, but rather to become a man of value." ~ Albert Einstein

    by LamontCranston on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 02:50:48 PM PST

  •  I should start a dating website (5+ / 0-)

    that specialized in matching canadians to americans looking for love & healthcare!

  •  This is perhaps the biggest reason... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why I'm so resistant to move to the States to find a teaching job.  I simply refuse to accept the idea that my health is for sale.

  •  THANK YOU SO MUCH ... (0+ / 0-)

    for this, which is exactly what we should have been hearing more of all autumn.

    Keep it coming!

    Policy matters. As for party, if you want my support, you damned well have to earn it!

    by papicek on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 03:35:40 PM PST

  •  My sis and mom both live there (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A few years ago my sis was banged up in a car accident and taken directly to the hospital and patched up.  Cost to her: $0
    2 years ago she slipped on her wet top appartment step during winter and fell down a steep flight of stairs.  She broke her clavicle and dislocated her shoulder.  She was taken to the hospital, patched up and then was released for outpatient physical therapy. Cost to her: $0
    Last year my mom was diagnosed with bleeding veins in her legs.  They cause her pain and her doctor wants to schedule her for sugery immediately.  SHE is the one who is afraid to have it because of her advanced age.  Her doc has put her on some kind of alternative treatment until she decides.  Cost to her: $0

    My sister pays more in her payroll taxes for their single payer system, but doesn't mind that.  She never has to worry about going bankrupt from medical bills.

    So yes I agree with Valerie that opponents are opposed to Canada's system because it really does work.

  •  The only terrifying thing about the Canadian (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohcanada, NorthSideoftheHill

    health care system is the prospect that it may come to resemble more that of the United States.

    The well-known phenomena of psychological projection and confirmation bias account for 198% of conservative so-called 'ideas'

    by power2truth on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:03:20 PM PST

  •  These are GREAT examples! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm going to copy them for future use.  Heaven knows, I'll need them :-)

    -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

    by luckylizard on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 04:27:33 PM PST

  •  Proud Canuck (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Paladine

    This past summer I underwent surgery to correct a hernia.
    I had a top notch surgeon in an excellent hospital, with brand new, state of the art equipment in the OR (as the surgical team informed me before they put me under), and an over all friendly and professional staff. Everything went beautifully, and I am almost fully recovered at this point.
    I have no idea what this all might have cost me in the US, but as we pay no monthly healthcare premiums in the province I live in, the whole procedure cost me NOTHING.
    Now there's a neocon horror story for you.
    Oh, and by the way, if I had wanted to, I could have had the surgery within ONE WEEK after being first examined by the surgeon. That's a mighty nasty "waiting list".

    •  my daughter decided her second child (0+ / 0-)

      would be a 'home birth' and had 2 'midwives' (sorry I forget the other name) come to her home for the birth . She had already 'toured' several hospitals and weighed the pro and cons of each before she decided to go ahead with the home birth. This was not due to her not liking the choice of the available hospitals, they were just fine to her, they were part of the the menu of choices. Those were her decisions to make and  concerns  about 'cost' were never part of any equation.
      A beautiful boy was born without a price tag.

      without the ants the rainforest dies

      by aliasalias on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 07:04:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Eastern Canada here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Wisewood

    Grew up in a family of six. Most of us have had medical care and both parents have received a small fortune of it over the years. The total cost involved is probably in the many hundreds of thousands. It never cost a cent out of pocket and there was never a disruption in our family lives... there still isn't. There isn't the fear, nor has there ever been any, that we could lose all we have worked for as a result of illness either. That is absolutely priceless.

  •  Grew up in Detroit... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    aliasalias, Wisewood

    lived in west central Alberta and Bellingham. Hockey is the best, and I know a few rodeo cowboys in Alberta who think the system in Canada is fine!

    Go Wings!

    "War is the health of the state." Randolph Bourne "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel."Samuel Johnson

    by american pastoral on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 05:47:07 PM PST

  •  Canadian system did not happen with one law. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Belle Ame

    Those who want to pass a Canadian style system should keep in mind that Canada's current health care system didn't not come into being with one law or even in one Administration. It started in one province and slowly spread. In that first province, there was a question as to whether it would work.
    I think people who want to kill the current HCR effort and push for something like the Canadian system to realize that it didn't even happen that way in Canada.

  •  May I add a testimonial? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsLibrarian, aliasalias, Belle Ame

    In 1998 my Husband was in an auto accident while supervising a project for CP Rail in Parry Sound, Ontario. He was thrown form the vehicle, landing in a culvert on his head, and broke his neck. He was taken to Sudbury Hospital and I was notified, we traveled from our home in Ottawa to Sudbury. He was then flown, air ambulance, to Ottawa Hospital, I travelled with him. He remained in Ottawa ICU from October/1998 to January/1999 while they tried to save his life and stabilized his spine. He had a C-6/C-7 spinal cord injury. His heart stopped on many occassions, they saved him every time and implanted a temporary pacemaker. In January he was transferred to the neurological oberservation unit for 1 month. THEN...they took him to Rehab, a wonderful Rehab in Ottawa...he received such kindness and care. He stayed there for 4 months, was fitted for a wheel chair, counseling, occupational therapy, and we were taught how to help him. They even had an overnight apartment where Family could stay to practice care. It was amazing...

    I could never have afforded that level of care...I feel blessed.    

  •  I have the US version of the fibroid example (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I have had to have procedures for fibroids twice in the last 8 years. My employer is a small company that pays employee health insurance. I am the only employee in another state so the group rate for me consists of a pool of one.

    I do not get a bill but from some research I know it averages many thousands of dollars for a procedure that is minimally invasive and requires only one night in a hospital. Thus the costs of my "pool" are very high. The monthly premium for me has tripled over the past 8 years and is more than the combined premiums for the two owners and is almost as much as my mortgage.

    My employers are good progressives and continue to pay but it is no longer a comparatively minor expense. If my fibroids return I will probably need a hysterectomy which is much more expensive, with a long recovery time (limiting ability to work). So now I worry.

    -- will premiums continue to increase 20-50% each year?
    -- how will my visits for the sciatica I developed this fall affect the next premium increase?
    -- will they try to drop me before any laws go into effect?
    -- what if I need that hysterectomy soon? I can only imagine how that will affect the premium. (I stress out during my menstrual period checking for signs the fibroids are a problem again.)
    -- we are stable now but what if they have to let me go, or they need to sell the business? There is no way I can afford COBRA.

    That's just the main worries I have. So here I am, an example of person with decent employment, caring employers, and pretty decent health care plan, and there is still a part of my brain that has a panic attack whenever I think about the US health care system.

    PROlong LIFE with affordable & effective Health Care for all.

    by Belle Ame on Fri Dec 18, 2009 at 08:35:06 PM PST

    •  That's amazing to me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Belle Ame

      I've been thinking I should get a tube ligation, I'm older and I don't really want to get pregnant. But what's interesting is, my thought of undergoing surgery has nothing to do with keeping my job, or how I'll pay. My concern is when do I FEEL like getting it done.

      Also, if I happened to become pregnant in the big deal, I do love children, is my thought. I have no worry about bills or losing my home.

      Quebec even pays, or did pay, for childrens dental till the age of 9 or so...they also have a provincial prescription plan.

      The contrast is stark. After reading some personal accounts, I really feel for my American neighbors and feel much more grateful for what I have always had. Quebec even pays, or did pay, for childrens dental till the age of 9 or so...they also have a provincial prescription plan.

      Boy...what a difference.

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