Don’t Let Conservatives Badmouth Our Northern Neighbors’ Health Care

Conservatives are notorious for slandering or demonizing foreign nations when they act in ways wisely contrary to hidebound right-wing dogma.

Remember, for instance, when France didn’t support the illegal Bush/Cheney invasion of Iraq, a debacle that was incredibly called a “crusade” by our foolish past president, and which has needlessly killed perhaps over a million people.

France and “Old Europe,” where antiwar protests were commonly huge, were condemned by the reactionary Republican base. Who will ever forget the ridiculous absurdity of indignant conservatives renaming French fries “freedom fries”? No wonder goofy Sarah Palin later became their darling.

Well, they’re at it again, claiming that Canadian “socialized medicine” is an unmitigated disaster. It costs a fortune in taxes, they say, and features unacceptable service delays and denials.

But that simply isn’t so, as any fair-minded, honest appraisal readily reveals.

In truth, Canadians pay just a fractionally higher amount in taxes than we do. However, they get a substantially greater public-welfare bang for their buck.

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As Rhonda Hackett of the Denver Post put it, “Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash.”

Then there’s the assertion that Canadians allegedly can’t get care when they need it (callously overlooking the plight of 50 million Americans without any medical insurance whatsoever!).

Hackett’s June 7th article also addressed that canard:

There are no requirements for pre-authorization whatsoever. If your family doctor says you need an MRI, you get one. In the U.S., if an insurance administrator says you are not getting an MRI, you don’t get one no matter what your doctor thinks — unless, of course, you have the money to cover the cost.

Most compelling is what a Canadian poster over at Common Dreams recently said:

Last year, I was found to have a genetically defective heart valve that required open-heart surgery. In coming to that conclusion, I underwent several very expensive diagnostic procedures for which there was ABSOLUTELY NO WAITING PERIOD. The operation itself involved a team of surgeons, a team of anestheticists, a team of profusionists and several nurses. Again, ABSOLUTELY NO WAITING PERIOD. After the surgery, I spent ten days in intensive post-op care. The cost in the U.S. — hundreds of thousands of dollars. The cost here in Canada — ZERO.

Desperate to keep their profitable medical stranglehold on the American masses, Big Pharma and insurance giants, with full Republican complicity, are dipping deeply into their bag of dirty tricks.

One of those is a very misleading TV ad currently making the rounds. It features a Canadian woman who went to the United States for purported lifesaving surgery for a brain tumor that Canadian doctors supposedly wouldn’t perform.

In fact, as reported by Julie Mason of the Ottawa Citizen on July 20th, she actually had a “Rathke’s Cleft Cyst on her pituitary gland. To quote an American source, the John Wayne Cancer Center, ‘Rathke’s Cleft Cysts are not true tumors or neoplasms; instead they are benign cysts.’”

The lady was given appropriate appointments with Ontario specialists but chose not to wait the reasonable period. Her resulting surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona cost $97,000.

Interestingly, that case is being pumped by Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, whose state has an average yearly income of just over $37,000. It sure looks like his constituents could use affordable health care!

Perhaps the best-stated case for why our country desperately needs health care change came from Democratic Ohio Congressman and former Presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, speaking not long ago to Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

The insurance companies have almost a death grip on our political system. And they can have so much power that they can exclude 50 million people and trap another 50 million in confiscatory premiums, co-pays and deductibles, just jettison millions of Americans into bankruptcy. And yet, we still have this system. And people are saying, ‘Well, you know, we can’t have a government-run system’ Well, frankly, we tried this system controlled by private insurers, and it’s been a calamity for America.

Let’s quite trashing our friends north of the border, adopt what they and the rest of industrialized humanity have done right, and put an end to the grim reality of routinely seeing “spaghetti feed” fund-raiser signs and collection cans at U.S. supermarket checkouts for grievously ill Americans who can’t afford vital, genuinely lifesaving medical care.

And whose names appear next in newspaper obituaries.

Surely the richest country on earth can do better for its populace.

Dennis Rahkonen, from Superior, Wisconsin, has been writing progressive commentary with a Heartland perspective for various outlets since the '60s. Read other articles by Dennis, or visit Dennis's website.

Read the original article in The Dissident Voice

 

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