I've recently had a couple of conversations regarding health care in the US and particularly as it pertains to President Obama's plans for reform and the potential of ending up "like Canada." First, it's important to remember that I AM CANADIAN, and I have 20+ years of experiencing the "socialized medicine" that exists there. I also have 10+ years of experiencing the US side of medical health, so I'd like to think I have a perspective that most talking heads, pundits and members of the general public DO NOT have.
One particular thing that I HATE hearing is all of the generic comments about people waiting so long that they die because they cannot get treatment for cancer or a transplant, etc. My brother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago. He got aggressive treatment with very little wait, at a great cancer treatment facility in Hamilton. Unlike in the US, he didn't have to go into debt to receive treatment.
The Miami Herald actually published an article recently that referenced a study conducted of 1000 Americans & 1000 Canadians, asking them different questions about their health care. While the wait times were recognized to be higher in the Canadian system, what is most shocking is the gap in those who thought they could AFFORD care.
This gets right down to my personal pet peeve in the whole discussion. If you HAVE care, you complain about the wait times. If you have NO CARE you'd take that over a wait time ANY DAY of the week! And right now, those with care are the reasons why so many are going without. Because, it doesn't matter if you can walk into an ER, your doctor or a specialist and get seen right away - if you can't afford the treatment they prescribe - or can't even afford to sit down and meet with them because you can't afford the insurance premiums.
I have to say, growing up in Canada, I took it for granted that I could go to the DR and not have to pay a dime. I didn't need to choose between $20 in my tank or a $20 co-pay, but in the US, some people do. It frustrates me when people of power like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of KY, start using personal stories as propaganda for political gain. There's a great piece here about CNN's coverage and the unreported components of the "we're going to have universal healthcare and everyone will die because we're like Canada" crap being spouted by some.
When you get right down to it - every day, care is denied by insurance companies for various reasons. You have to wait everywhere for EVERYTHING, some places longer than others. But if it's not even an option, than it's a moot argument. As a Christian, I can't understand how we shouldn't be in favour of providing healthcare for everyone - whether we pay for it for them or not...