7.06.2009

"they check your wallet before they check your pulse"

My astonishing track record with letters to the Globe and Mail continues.

I wrote in response to this column by Jeffrey Simpson. The sentence in brackets was edited out.
[The US media would have us believe Canadians wait months for routine care and that we all regularly travel to the US for treatment.] When I immigrated here from the United States, I learned that if you want to know about Canada's system - its strengths and its flaws - you ask a Canadian. Similarly, if you want to know about the U.S. system, ask an American.

Jeffrey Simpson calls Jean Chr├ętien's phrase, "They check your wallet before your pulse" a "gross exaggeration." I suggest it's barely an exaggeration at all.

In these difficult economic times, it's worth remembering that every unemployed Canadian and his or her family has health insurance. In the United States, if you lose your job, you lose your health care - if you were lucky enough to have a job that included benefits. Part-time and contract workers, who make up an increasingly large portion of the modern work force, do not.

Laura Kaminker, Mississauga

13 comments:

Nitangae said...

Well done.

Why do people keep on stating that numerous Canadians travel to the US for treatment? It has been completely refuted.

Dr.Dawg said...

I'm with you--but waiting times are indeed a problem.

http://www.knitnut.net/?p=1941

James said...

Why do people keep on stating that numerous Canadians travel to the US for treatment? It has been completely refuted.


And it's only one of dozens of statements anti-health-reform people make about Canadian health care that has been completely refuted, at that. But mere factual inaccuracy has never stopped these folks from promotion an argument of this sort.

Doug said...

check CNN's first page today on their website...another attack on our Canadian health system...it's unbelievable, it infuriates me, it's bogus journalism..like you said no matter what your situation in terms of employment, a student etc. you have health care, even some people in Canada take it for granted, wait times are grossly over-exaggerated, my mother needed a a quadruple by-pass she was in the next day, surgery done...at no cost , no inconvenience.....whereas in Alabama I was there once on vacation hurt my back severely had to go to 3 hospitals to get treatment as the first question they asked was "how i am paying"...it still bothers me as there were health professionals watching someone in pain and they could care less, it opened my eyes...here you get your health card and that's that....a system with weaknesses but a system built with compassion and caring in mind...

bgk said...

I just called a doctor's office here in the states to make an appointment. Before they asked my name/condition/situation, they were sure to ask for my insurance card info.

After that, I was a person who needed help. Feh.

L-girl said...

"I'm with you--but waiting times are indeed a problem."

There are problems. I'll not say otherwise.

However, people in the US do not understand what Canadians mean by "wait times". It is incorrectly taken to mean that we wait for any and all care.

Wait times refer to specific procedures (like hip replacements) or certain specialties. And they are based on availability - not income.

Two things to always keep in mind.

1. There are wait times for many procedures in the US, depending on the services where you live. USians with good insurance do not simply get any procedure immediately.

2. There are millions of people in the US who would LOVE to be on a wait list. That would mean they would eventually get care. But there is no wait list for the uninsured. There is simply suffering and an early death.

L-girl said...

"And it's only one of dozens of statements anti-health-reform people make about Canadian health care that has been completely refuted, at that. But mere factual inaccuracy has never stopped these folks from promotion an argument of this sort."

James is 100% correct. For an excellent summary of the lies they tell, see this post.

L-girl said...

"I just called a doctor's office here in the states to make an appointment. Before they asked my name/condition/situation, they were sure to ask for my insurance card info."

Living proof of Chretien's "gross exaggeration". She says sarcastically.

M. Yass said...

Nitangae said...

Well done.

Why do people keep on stating that numerous Canadians travel to the US for treatment? It has been completely refuted.


As Goebbels showed, when a big enough lie gets repeated often enough, it becomes the truth.

M. Yass said...

What do I find most ironic? Rural areas that vote Republican are hit the hardest by hospital closures and other cuts.

Consistent no-wait specialty care is only available (1) in large cities (that overwhelmingly vote Democratic) (2) to people with good health insurance (3) whose carriers don't find/invent a way to delay or deny access to said care.

L-girl said...

"What do I find most ironic? Rural areas that vote Republican are hit the hardest by hospital closures and other cuts."

Remember when Howard Dean (then a candidate) talked about people voting against their own economic interests - and was taken apart for inciting class warfare?

If only.

impudent strumpet said...

The weird thing about that is most things in life don't try to secure payment before you receive the service. In the vast majority of situations, you receive the good or service and then pay. The only exception I can think of is real estate, because you have to do the whole mortgage thingy.

L-girl said...

That's true. I never thought of that before.

I supposed it's because health care in the US is so expensive, it's completely out of reach of most ordinary people. If you were treated before payment, you might just get healthy and walk away from the bill!

Imagine that. Just treating people who need treatment.

Exactly what we do in Canada.