7/07/2009

Who Wants A Canadian Healthcare System?

On a motorcycle mail list, no less, a rider commented on the free Canadian medical care he got for his non-injuries in Saskatchewan with the following score card:

  1. Emergency Room visits: one (Regional Health Centre in Yorkton, SK)
  2. Elapsed time from arrival at hospital to first being seen by physician: 93 minutes
  3. Number of words in physician's first sentence directed at me: one (whereisyoupain?)
  4. X-Rays received: 3
  5. Broken bones found in X-Rays: zero
  6. CT Scans received: two
  7. Damaged organs found in CT scans : zero
  8. Number of times I subsequently wished the US had a "single payer" healthcare system "just like Canada": zero
So, I asked what experience he'd had in US emergency clinics and what it cost to have all that care for what a guy with two testicles would have just shaken off and ridden away from. ("Just curious, what was your out-of-pocket cost for Canada's medical care? Sounds like they went out of their way for what was probably obviously a non-emergency injury. ")

Instead of an answer, I got the following response:

"I've looked through my constitution and no where do I see that this country is obligated to give me free medical care."

and

"Sounds like you should move to Canada!I don't know one Canadian friend who likes their system better than ours....they pay far more in taxes (at least so far) than we do and their care is not as good.But before you get rid of our system please go live under the system you think you like better.....see how it works for you.....and then if you like it....just stay there ;)I have insurance and you don't....no reason for me to also have to start paying for you to have insurance...to solve the problem you need to find a way to get insurance..your problem, not mine....so you solve it and don't toss it onto my shoulders....I am far too busy working to pay for schools and illegetimate kids and kids with worthless parents and a bunch of other societal ills that really should not be my problem either.....so I don't need your problems added to that....just fix it for yourself and leave me (and the rest of us) out of your troubles." [his punctuation, spelling, and syntax]

This reminds me of my brief experience with Libertarians in the late 1970's. I went to a party meeting with a friend who had been invited by another friend. The first thing I noticed was that about half of the Libertarians were still wearing their USPS uniforms. The more I listened to them talk, the more obvious it was that a majority of Libertarians at that meeting were public employees of some sort. It resembled a "think green" protest where every participant drove himself to the event in a Hummer.

In my experience, an overwhelming number of people who say "I see no reason for me to also have to start paying for you to have insurance" [lots of words for a tiny statement] are folks whose insurance I've been paying for most of my 50 years in the work force: retired and current military; local, state, and federal politicians and bureaucrats; corporate welfare receipents (medical industry, military-industrial industry, oil and highway construction corporations, and the cast of deadbeats who lobby government); the finance industry; practically every business that imports or exports products and jobs) and most of academia from K-12 through Harvard.

It would be interesting to live in a country where none of us had to pay for anything we disagreed with. For example, I'd like to keep my money as far from anything military as possible. Those douchebags couldn't protect the country from a pack of boys with box knives or a truck load of fertilizer. I'm tired of paying to protect Little Dick Cheney's oil investments. I don't need pavement for any vehicle I care about, so I don't want my money wasted on highways or city streets. Dirt was good enough for the first 50,000 years of human civilization. It's good enough today, especially since I like dirt bikes. I absolutely don't want my money handed over to banks, GM, or people who don't pay their morgages. The War on Drugs (and all other victimless crimes) is a waste of my money and I'd like to see police forces cut back to 1960-levels. Don't waste any of my money on cops who spend their days eating donuts and worrying about kids smoking joints.

I could go on.

On top of all that, there are a ton of things government isn't doing that I'd like to pay to have them do. Top of the list is corporate monitoring and white collar crime. All that money that's being dumped into diddly crap police and federal regulators pretending to be doing ought to be poured into clamping down on corporate polluters, stock manipulators, employee abuse, and executive scams. Hell, I'd trade the entire military for a functioning national white collar police force.

For the record, every Canadian I know and have talked to is proud of their medical care system. Obviously, like every human endevour, it's a ways from perfect, but people get care when they need it. Any rational system will prioritize medical care and that's a huge fear in the US. Currently, if you have the money you can blow it all on hopeless procedures that contribute nothing to extending or improving your life. Tax money should not be wasted that way.

Here is a terrific article (Travel By Car: Minnesota's Big Public Subsidy) that describes one of the many places where we are all asked to pay for the convenience, luxury, and profit of a significant minority. The gas tax doesn't even come close to paying for the cost of highways.

No comments:

Post a Comment