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Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Monday, December 03, 2007

The Joys of Socialized Medicine: P. J. was Right

"If you think medical treatment is expensive now, you should see what it costs when it's free." -- P. J. O'Rourke, author and humorist

Do we really want the same bunch who run the post office and the IRS to run the U. S. healthcare system? Besides, if we nationalized healthcare-- one-seventh of the U. S. economy-- where would Canadians go for medical treatment?


I saw on the news up here in Canada where Sen. Hillary Clinton introduced her new healthcare plan... something similar to what we have in Canada. I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about our healthcare in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canadian healthcare plan, I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have here.

1) The healthcare plan in Canada is NOT free. We pay a premium every month of $96 for Shirley and me to be covered. Sounds great, eh? What they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the healthcare system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes, 55% of my earnings go to taxes. A large portion of that, and I am not sure of the exact amount, goes directly to healthcare, our No. 1 expense.

2) I would not classify what we have as a healthcare plan; it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get in to to see a doctor quickly enough so he can tell you "yes, indeed, you are sick," or "you need an operation," but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang; some as long as two years down the road.

3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you, the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain? Here is a drug to take - don't find out what is causing the pain and why; no time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients through as possible each hour for government reimbursement.

4) Many Canadians DO NOT have a family doctor.

5) DO NOT require emergency treatment, since you may wait for hours in the emergency room.

6) Shirley's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back, and it required that his hand be put in a splint. To our surprise, we had to pay $125 for the splint because it is not covered under healthcare, plus we have to pay $60 per visit for him to get it checked out each week.

7) Shirley's cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage-- and put on a waiting list. He died before he could get treatment.

8) The government allots so many operations per year. When those have been done, no more operations unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government; then money suddenly appears.

9) The government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for healthcare, but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem, but it never goes away. But they are good at finding new ways to tax us. By the way, they don't call it a tax anymore; it is now a user fee.

10) A friend needs an operation for a blockage in her leg, but because she is a smoker they will not do it, despite her having paid into the health care system all these years. My friend is 65 years old. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either, because they are a drain on the healthcare system. Let me see now... what we want in Canada is a healthcare system for healthy people only. That should reduce our healthcare costs.

11) Forget about getting a second opinion; what you see is what you get.

12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me, but I am not allowed, by law, to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be "jumping the queue." I must wait my turn unless I am a hockey player or other athlete; then I can get looked at right away. Go figger. Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself, but are not allowed to spend money to get healthy? [NOTE: When a U. S. citizen reaches age 65, he has two choices: sign up for Medicare or DIE-- unless he can afford to go to another country for healthcare. A U. S. medical professional who treats a senior citizen who does not have Medicare can go to jail-- even if the treatment is FREE.]

13) Oh! Did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at taxpayer expense, despite never having contributed a dollar to the system and paying no premiums?

14) Oh, yeah, we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. People with diabetes, who pay into the healthcare system, have to pay for their needles because needles are not covered.

I send this out not looking for sympathy, but as the election looms in the States, you will be hearing more and more about universal healthcare down there, and the advocates will be pointing to Canada. I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about healthcare up here, and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when this subject is broached.

Step wisely, and DON'T make the same mistakes we have.

Several years ago, I went to Deaconness Hospital in Cincinnati to visit with Lewis Foster, an esteemed professor of The Cincinnati Bible Seminary (now Cincinnati Christian University). He had just returned from an extended visit in England. While there, he had what the doctors thought was a heart attack. I was talking with Betty, his wife, and she said they went to a doctor who thought he probably had a heart attack, but couldn't be totally sure as the doctor did not have an EKG machine in his office.

The doctor explained that there was a three-month wait to get into a hospital in the U.K., regardless of your problem. They asked if the doctor thought Lewis could make it back to the States. The doctor "supposed" he could, and they arranged a flight as soon as possible. Betty said he had a rough time of it, and they had an ambulance waiting at the Greater Cincinnati Airport to bring him straight to Deaconness Hospital. He did recover. Betty went on to explain that there was no incentive for a British doctor to buy any expensive equipment, as it would put nothing more in his pocket to do so. That certainly opened my eyes to the "lackings and failures" of a socialized medical system.

~~ Melanie Long

*** Here's a link to more material on this subject. Included is a YouTube video, "A Short Course in Brain Surgery," which is about a Canadian man with brain cancer who gets medical care in the U. S. because of his country's rationing of healthcare.


Blogger D.K. said...

I think the writer made an excellent point that we should consider asking questions about the types of things that were pointed out here.

We should have answers to such questions before we move to universal care. Those answers, I think, will demonstrate whether or not we should take that step.

Tue Dec 04, 09:54:00 AM CST  
Anonymous Carol said...

I'd like to add, I have a Dad, two years older than his brother, my LATE uncle. We moved from Canada to the U.S when I was a kid.

Both, overweight and lacking exercise, inherited the family's heart failure. My Canadian uncle had a heart attack and died a few years after it, basically untreated. My dad had a heart attack, had an immediate triple bypass a decade ago, has been followed closely and has had cardiac rehab.

Like his cardiologist in FL says, he has some patients who are in better health at 86, some who are in worse shape; but, heck, he's alive!

There's another moral in this, my aunt (a twin of my late uncle) who watches her weight, played golf until about a year ago (she's 84, remember), and still makes herself get up, out and walk, is living quite well, despite having the family heart disease. I have relatives who've devoted their lives to waiting for an inheritance from her. They're nearing 60 now; I'd suggest they think about getting a career! She'll be around for a long time, I suspect--and hope!

The moral (in my opinion): self responsibility for health and avoid excesses, both in lifestyle and dependence on governments!

Wed Dec 19, 04:12:00 PM CST  

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