Wednesday, January 30, 2019


The American health care debate never stops being amazing to the outside world.  Why?  Rarely, have so many people been lead so far astray with so few facts for so long.

To be clear, there is access to some amazing technology and facilities in the United States devoted to health care, and some AMAZING PEOPLE in the industry.  For all of the potential it is held back by a few people with motives ranging from money to power to just plain old prejudice.

The propaganda around a single payer system being SOCIALIST and therefore inherently evil has been played up the conservative and Republicans for a long time.  The TRUTH is that the arguments are held mostly on fear mongering and lies about government panels deciding who lives and dies.  This is COMPLETE BULL SHIT.  In truth the profit based systems are far more discriminatory.  There are problems with the single payer system, but they are not anything like the problems that exist in the purely for profit system in the states.


- As a whole system Americans have THE MOST COSTLY healthcare on earth.  Vastly more money per person is spent on healthcare than comparable democracies.
- As a whole, the outcome of American healthcare is much lower than other comparable democracies. As a whole, for everyone.  You may have had a great experience,  but is it reflective of the whole?

In Canada I shop around for my personal or family doctor.  There is ZERO interference with choosing my family doctor.  If I have an issue,  in consultation with my family doctor I get a referral to an available specialist.   If there are several specialists, I can ask to go to or avoid any one of them.  I can't just walk into a cardiovascular surgeon's clinic and say hi.  I need a referral. This is not a negative,  it's part of what makes the healthcare system, a system. There is a process that gets you from one place to another.

When a person presents at an emergency department they are seen based on their condition.   Rich people do not get seen ahead of poorer people because they flash their gold card.  This terrifies people who want their hang nail looked at before  a "lesser" person's heart attack. It has meant some long waits in emergency rooms for some very uncomfortable,  but not life threatening, conditions.

What about the "lack of competition"?  While major hospitals are owned and operated by the provincial governments my doctor has a PRIVATE PRACTICE.  His office is a partnership with another doctor.   THEY choose what services they want to offer and I get to stay or shop around based on the services and atmosphere or what ever I choose.

Competition in medicine,  as it relates to cost is counter intuitive.  Attracting clients to, hospital is based on having ALL the bells and services. CAT scan, MRI, helicopters, biggest and best EVERYTHING.  You don't look for a two for one deal on an appendix operation.  Competition in medicine more often than not drives costs up.

A for profit hospital needs the MRI to pay for itself.   To pay for itself, it needs people put through it.  It's hard to say no to the doctor treating your kid when told he/she needs a $1000.00 test done. These add cost, not always for the best of the patient over the best for the investors, but who the heck can tell?

The single payer system does prevent a real issue that drives up costs.  There is only one billing system to worry about. American hospitals have massive departments looking after billing and collections.  Often there are major portions of the admin department devoted to each insurance company.  The claim systems are very individual and complex.

There is only one major democracy in the world that has not accepted the notion that we are stronger together than we are divided.  We are also stronger when we are HEALTHY and able to participate fully in the economy.

The single payer system is NOT PERFECT.  Heck, it's not even perfect's cousin once removed.  It does do what it does, pretty well.  It guarantees the largest number of people the best overall chances at a healthier, longer more productive life. Why defend it so much, you may be asking.  It gets berated by forces with a lot of backing and money.  Defending it is not solely about giving the American people the chance to experience a healthcare system that CARES.  It is about comforting the people that have it now, that the picture painted by single payer's detractors is not the final word on the condition of the system.  We are rightly proud of s system that keeps us healthy as people and strong as a nation.

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