As the primaries loom closer, we can expect the Democratic presidential hopefuls to start singing their usual sanctimonious song about the health care system. You probably know the lines:
40 million citizens turned down;
No insurance to go around;
Emergency wards on hold;
Poor kicked out in the cold.;
America - immoral - immoral - immoral!
Taking their cue from Michael Moore, these do-gooder Democrats are also sure to sing the praises of Canada's health care system.
Granted, Canadians have swallowed this medicine like some kind of metaphorical aphrodisiac. It helps some of us feel superior and certainly makes for fantastic fabrication, not to mention huge box-office sales for a guy like Michael Moore, but take it from real Canadians: state-controlled health care doesn't work.
Jane Pelton lives in Ottawa. She has a teenage daughter, Emily, who tore a ligament in her knee. Her case sheds some very sad light on Canada's health care system. Pelton was told that her daughter would have to wait three years before the country's "free and accessible" system could provide the necessary surgery. "Every day we're paying for health care, yet when we go to access it, it's just not there," said Pelton.
Ms. Pelton did what every good mother would - she jumped the queue. She spent $3,300 to fly her daughter to a private clinic for the arthroscopic surgery. That amount for immediate surgery sounds like nothing, I know. But in Canada, it is against the law to use your own money to bypass the waiting list and get private treatment.
And that is why a landmark lawsuit was filed against 12 Quebec hospitals in 2004 on behalf of breast-cancer patients who were forced to take "patience" to new levels. They were forced to find treatment abroad, because they weren't allowed to pay for private treatment in Canada. One woman flew to Turkey, and another - who had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer - traveled to Vermont on a four-hour bus trip every week with her 5-year-old son to get access to her treatment.
"The experience was humiliating," she said.
Waiting for treatment has become the hallmark of - and really the only truly universal thing about - Canada's "universal" health care system. And it underscores the pervasive injustice of the system, because we are told that "two-tiered" health care will create unfair advantages for the rich.
In Canada, everyone is put on a waiting list until they either leave the country for their treatment or die waiting.
As a letter from a hospital in New Brunswick to a heart patient in need of an electrocardiogram made clear, the appointment would be at least three months off. And the letter added this rather opaque line:
"However, if the person named on this computer-generated letter is deceased, please accept our sincere apologies."
There is something very unjust about not being able to pay for treatment when you live in a supposedly advanced country and you have the means to pay for the treatment yourself.
Read More Here: With 'universal' health care, we all wait
Talk Show America 7/6/2007