Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Northern Myth Busting

We shouldn't generalize about the state of health care from individual anecdotal accounts. But these blog posts in part 1 and part 2 back from February of 2008 by Sara Robinson are good testimony from someone who has seen both the Canadian and US systems from up close. Moreover, in debunking and occasionally confirming claims about the Canadian system she cites facts and statistics that corroborate her first hand experiences. In a word she says Canadian care is at least B grade for every Canadian, while for much higher cost US care is A grade for some Americans, and C or D grade for many.

More recently on September 10, 2009 she described her efficient and worry-free hospitalization and treatment in Canada on the very day of President Obama's health care speech to Congress.

But if you've time and appetite to look up just one item I'd recommend this entertaining link sent to me by single payer advocate Jonathan Starr. It features Canadian Steven Lewis exposing US health care myths and deficiencies with music, sarcasm, facts and humor.

At the bottom of this clip is a link to a longer and more serious expose titled "Universal Health Care Message to Americans From Canadian Doctors & Health Care Experts." Canadian health care is overall better and more cost effective than that in the US, though I prefer private insurers to be allowed to offer competing choices as in many European countries. That private competition is what all serious US reform proposals envisage anyway, though private insurers rightly fear most people will opt for the the public option if they're allowed to do so.

What about opponents of changes in US health care? Here is a clip of town hall protests on 8/29/09 against health reform in Spring Valley, CA. As I commented to some friends it's scary if these are "ordinary Americans". They remind me of the 2006 movie "Idiocracy" where future generations become retarded.

Too bad that Democratic leaders like Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus seem to have heeded such sentiments. After wasting months seeking a bipartisan solution he came up with an ineffectual Senate bill without a public option that's a sellout to the insurance industry. Surprisingly he still didn't get any of the Republican members of the "Gang of Six" to sign on.

The only way I'd view Mr. Baucus' efforts positively (or even Mr. Obama's to date) is if this bill has been conceived just get something past the Senate including their own Blue Dogs. And then the plan is to introduce effective changes like a strong public option through the reconciliation process solely with Democratic support.

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