comment gems

At my recent post about waiting for health care, Evan posted this excellent comment:
. . . BC also has an approximately 3 month waiting period: New residents or persons re-establishing residence in B.C. are eligible for coverage after completing a waiting period that normally consists of the balance of the month of arrival plus two months. For example, if an eligible person arrives during the month of July, coverage is available October 1. If absences from Canada exceed a total of 30 days during the waiting period, eligibility for coverage may be affected.

As another American transplanted to Canada I am in awe of the Canadian health system. The fact that it gets the job done with less government funding is also incredible.

It's not perfect. Waiting times can be a problem for non-life-threatening conditions (my wife has waited 10 months and will probably wait another 4-8 for a knee operation). But one of my blue-collar neighbors recently had a massive heart problem and was in ICU for about 4 weeks. He's home now. He's alive, although he may never work as a carpenter again, and he's not going to lose everything he owns to medical bills. I'll endure wait times for that kind of tradeoff.

The American system is as it is for the benefit of politicians and health care companies, not for the benefit of the American people. It's going to stay that way until the American people decide it's got the change and make it a priority. You'd think that 50 million people (is it up to 50? I usually hear 40) would make it a priority and start telling their congresscritters that their vote is dependent upon healthcare reform, but apparently wasting money in Iraq is more important. :-(
It's hard for me to imagine the American people making national health insurance a priority and electing leadership who will make it a reality. The people who would benefit from such a system are so divided, and so rarely see their common interests. (Cross-reference recent remarks about ignorant Americans voting against their economic interests.)

It's so easy for a politician with a stake in the insurance industry to wave the spectre of "free choice" and "big government" (i.e., socialism), not to mention the death-knell: taxes. And who is willing to take on the insurance companies? The last attempt we saw at national health insurance, a la Clinton, was pre-approved by Big Insurance, not exactly a recipe for lowering costs and extending care.

But hey. Just because I can't imagine something happening doesn't mean it can't or won't. It may only mean I lack imagination.

In yesterday's progress report, Tijo directed me to this blog - another American living in Canada - and the blogger's one-year update. Here are some highlights:
It's nice to have a healthplan that lets me choose any doctor I want at a net increase in taxes significantly less than what I would have paid for equivalent healthcare in the US. It's sad to listen to so many foolhardy Americans defending a freedom of choice healthcare system which was in truth driven to extinction over a decade ago by insurance companies seeking to slice a profit out of already expensive medical care. Sure the Canadian system has its own problems, but if you want to know what those problems are, ask any Canadian, not an American.

. . .

Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and pretty close to true ethnic equal opportunity are nice concepts as well. Americans who are into that kind of thing should give them a try, rather than pretending they already have them.
For someone I know is reading, he also mentions "near blanket wifi coverage - if there's no network where you're sitting, walk half a block and you'll find one." OK, now you have to move to Canada!

The rest of the post is great, too, and really well written. Looks like an interesting site.


Cin said...

Thank you for sharing that link!

And have I mentioned lately how much I appreciate having you here?


laura k said...

Thank you, Cin. I'm very touched.