Public Health Care: A Message to Americans
I'm Canadian. We've had public health care since the 1960s. And not the half-assed kind Obama is talking about, either - we go much further than that. With the exception of dental care and prescription drugs, no one pays anything to get medical treatment. The government pays it all. If I were to collapse in the supermarket and spend three weeks in intensive care, my only monetary loss upon discharge would be lost paychecks. I'd actually lose less money than if I'd spent those three weeks in my own home. And it doesn't matter how much money I make - the same service is available for a homeless guy sleeping under a bridge and for a millionaire who owns several companies.
We do not have euthanasia, or anything close to it. 'Your Grandma' actually lives longer under such a system, because you don't have to pay for her respirator, or pacemaker, or lengthy hospital stays. The patient or the family can refuse treatment, but that's true anywhere. And informed consent is a big deal to doctors.
When we first got public health care, people came in to the hospital with easily treatable conditions, such as fallen wombs and hernias, that had languished untreated for years. Many of these people had been rendered unable to work, and went back to work once they'd gotten treatment. Now, we tend to think of untreated hernias and such as something that happens only in third world countries - I was shocked to realize that it happened in the USA.
Our economy has not collapsed under the pressure, and we're not as wealthy a country as US is. In fact, our economy has been booming lately, and our dollar is currently on par with the American Dollar. Most Canadians have a decent standard of living - some are quite poor, some are very rich, but most are in between. It's a fine place to live.
So when I watch the hue and cry over public health care, all I can do is shake my head, and wonder why they don't just look to the north.