Healthcare in Pottersville

This feature from CBC’s The National the other night will likely be condemned by so-called “conservatives” who pine for privatization of the healthcare system and practically drool at the prospect of people getting ruthlessly screwed over by insurance companies.

Good luck with that.

As I’ve said many time before in comments directed to right-wing asshats, if you think the American system is so bloody terrific, then please move there as quickly as possible and spare the rest of us the acute annoyance of your endless moaning and whining.

39 Comments

Filed under Health Care & Medicine

39 responses to “Healthcare in Pottersville

  1. Some of the stories about those who are refused health care (by insurance companies in the US) make you wonder how stupid Americans are. A baby too fat, a baby too thin, a woman that was raped……refused health care. Unbelievable.

  2. novagardener

    Check out Dr. Oz’s Free Health Clinic video. Sorry I don’t know how to imbed the video. Our health care system requires improvement, but I sure would never want to live under the US system.

  3. burpster

    I get bombarded on Facebook over my views on the ongoing wars, healthcare and politics. When I say bombarded, I’m talking about my “inbox” not where I’m discussing the issues. I had to turn my profile private because of all the whackaloons. Below is one of the mild messages. 🙂

    October 27 at 11:04pm
    Just a quick question, do work in the medical industry? I have for the last 25 years. I have also been able to travel alot to visit family in Canada and the U.K. and I can tell you that every single one of them has had to come to the U.S. for care because the cues and red tape were horrendous at home. My Canadian cousin would have died had he waited the 6 to 12 months in the cue to just get the diagnostic tests!! Luckily, he was able to come here, get the tests and treatment that saved his life. There is no free ride, you get what you pay for…oh that’s right you don’t want to pay for it?!

    October 28 at 5:59am
    I’m a Canadian and love our system. My wife is a American and loves our system in Canada. Go pedal your fear to a Fox news viewer.

  4. austin

    “There is no free ride, you get what you pay for…”

    That tool must think the money that pays for our system just magically appears.

    That guy who could not get a letter to return to work goes beyond a flawed health care system and speaks right to the character of the people who could not spend the 20-30 seconds it would take to write it.

    What an eye opener.

  5. The “Canada v. U.S.” debate is tedious.

    It’s sort of like a current discussion of who is the better hockey team – the Maple Leafs or the Oilers. They’re both fundamentally flawed, and need to look to OTHER teams for inspiration. But try telling that to someone from downtown Edmonton or Toronto.

    How about looking at, oh, France, or Germany, or some other country? Why is it that the discussion regarding health care is so often limited to “which system do you want, the American or Canadian?”

    You know why? Becuase they’re both screwed, so it gives comfort to ideologues, because they can pull out of their asses examples of the stupidity on either side of the border to then let them sleep at night that “their” system is actually ok.

    Keep drinking the kool-aid Republicans and left-side Liberals and NDP. There will be an awakening for both of you that neither of you are going to like, because both systems in their current state are going to fail.

  6. austin

    Hey you can mock my health care but leave my Maple Leafs alone.

  7. benalbanach

    RobH .The Canadian Health System has a better set of fundamentals than has the US. That’s all that’s being said….and not just by left-side Liberals and NDP. (Just have to get your digs in eh !)
    And if you want a system like that in Germany you might have to start listening to those left-siders.

  8. Ti-Guy

    The “Canada v. U.S.” debate is tedious.

    And here’s Rob. Didn’t watch the clip, but jumps in to dictate what the discussion should be about.

    Oh, well. At least the Canadian Right is no longer using the model of the American health care system as an alternative, although they did that for decades. Now it’s France and Germany.

    …*ahem*…

    This France/Germany vs. Canada debate is tedious.

    On-topic: I’d have been interested to hear more about the case with the formerly-wealthy doctor. That just seemed so hard to believe. Also, can you imagine that you’re a lower-middle class Canadian and you’re forced to rely on charity like this? I can imagine what it does to one’s self-esteem. I can also see how it relegates people permanently to lower class status.

  9. Ti-Guy

    The Canadian Health System has a better set of fundamentals than has the US.

    Stop trying to distract Rob by being didactic. He’s unteachable. Ask him some time what he knows about anything he pontificates on. Chances are, very little.

    That’s an unfortunate thing with libertarians; they spend so much time arguing for their utopia that they don’t have any left over to actually find out what’s going on in the here and now. Consequently, they are not capable of making compelling or persuasive arguments in order to change other people’s minds.

    I’ve certainly *heard* that our own system is going to be economically unsustainable (from right wingers exclusively), but I’ve yet to see convincing data about that and am not convinced that process re-engineering and adjustments in taxation levels wouldn’t be enough to take care of these problems.

    I want to keep private insurance the hell out of it, however. We all know what these money-grubbers and frauds are capable of.

  10. TG. Honestly, sometimes, you are such a tool.

    Here’s the deal. Society has problems, real problems. If you think health care isn’t struggling in Canada – well, go look at any Provincial budget from BC to Nova Scotia. They are increasing at a rapid pace and will continue to increase as our population ages. That isn’t my “guess”, I’ve reviewed the relative budgets of Provincial health care in Canada and the changes in expenditures in Canada over the past decade. They are signficant.

    Am I lying? Go ahead, point me to a source of any kind suggesting that health care expenditures have not increased dramatically.

    Now – TG.. I happen to be relatively well off financially, so, you know what, part of me doesn’t give a shit. But that’s what kills me – because when society begins to feel financial pain – it’s not guys like me who suffer, it’s people at the bottom end.

    So – when we don’t take proper steps to make health care sustainable, and we start to raise taxes to compensate – and, well, business adapts to that by raising prices and reducing their work force – which is what business does you simple-minded buffoon – I’ll deal with the added expense and cut down on my trips to Europe. You can go explain to the laid off construction worker or the person earning minimum wage and paying an additional 5% for their groceries that this is just the price of progress.

    You would think even a simplistic boob like you would realize that, yes, there are really auto workers out of work in Ontario. And there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. Because there is a certain reality to capitalism, which is still going to be the fundamental basis of the North American economy during our lifetimes, whether you like it or not, that will dictate that business doesn’t suffer expense without a response.

    Pretend otherwise. I don’t really care.

    According to TG – everything if fine just the way it is. He’s in love with the Harper government, he believes that all steps necessary to respond to climate change are being taken, and that health care will be just fine the way it is.

    What? You don’t like Harper? Well, how can that be – you clearly don’t need to have any discussion or debate that would influence Canadians to consider voting for someone else.

    What? We aren’t doing everything we could do in response to climate change – well, how can that be, you and the crew at BCL are all so content with how perfect the state of the world is such that discussion with those not supporting you is unnecessary.

    How are we doing so far Ti – do I sound convinced that I should be changing my point of view? Has your amazing rhetoric resulted in my capturing an “aha” moment of realization that your insults and arrogance were exactly the tool needed to win over those who think that Michael Ignatieff and his ilk are a bunch of arrogant, out of touch, buffoons?

    Guess not.

  11. …even a simplistic boob like you…

    “Oh, I’m so sorry. I was looking for Madame de Staël’s salon. I must have knocked on the wrong door. I’ll just be on my way.”

  12. austin

    “I’ve certainly *heard* that our own system is going to be economically unsustainable (from right wingers exclusively), but I’ve yet to see convincing data about that and am not convinced that process re-engineering and adjustments in taxation levels wouldn’t be enough to take care of these problems.”

    If you don’t think the age statistics for this country is enough convincing data, then there is no convincing you. I agree that we need to keep private insurance out of our country but how much higher taxes are you willing to pay? We would need significant tax increases to support our ageing population. User fees for people who rush to the emergency room for sniffles would be a start.

  13. I was looking for Madame de Staël’s salon

    As KEv is often fond of saying, this isn’t always quite the Algonquin Round Table.

  14. Navvy

    Rob, who are Micheal Ignatieff’s “ilk”? Educated people? Serious question.

  15. Ti-Guy

    That isn’t my “guess”, I’ve reviewed the relative budgets of Provincial health care in Canada and the changes in expenditures in Canada over the past decade. They are signficant.

    What are the rates of increase? How have they changed as a proportion of total budgets? How does that spending compare with other program spending? What is the % change in health care spending as a proportion of grosse national/provincial income?

    Choose at least one of those for discussion. Include sources.

  16. Rob, who are Micheal Ignatieff’s “ilk”?

    They’re the people who doubt if Cro-Magnon really did ride dressage on the backs of Triceratops. Bunch of mincing, espresso-guzzling, élitist Stalinists.

  17. Ti-Guy

    but how much higher taxes are you willing to pay?

    Better direct that question to the 10 percent of the richest Canadians who are making more money than they ever have in the past while the middle class has stagnated for decades.

    I’m only in favour of taxing them to the point where they all immigrate. After they’re gone, we’ll figure out the rest. I’m sure we’ll be pleasantly surprised at just how much cheaper everything is once they’re gone. 😉

  18. austin

    Yeah and when they go they will take thier companies with them leaving no jobs for the rest of us. Your logic is awesome.

  19. Rob — Healthcare is struggling all over the place. Nobody here — certainly not me — is pretending that our system is a panacea.

    Speaking from personal experience, I’ve had to avail myself of its benefits several times for various reason over the last couple of years and would give it a mild thumbs up in terms of access, timeliness of services delivered and overall quality. Not perfect by any means… and even quite frustrating at times, but it hasn’t cost me thousands of dollars in premiums per year or disqualified me on the grounds of a “pre-existing condition” or some such ridiculous thing. There is no way in hell that I’d be able to get coverage in the USA, that’s for sure.

    There are different systems out there in the world that work quite effectively to one degree or another. Switzerland for example isn’t really a government run system at all, but one made up of private insurance companies — however, they’re all heavily regulated, their fee structures are capped, they can’t exclude people for pre-existing conditions and generous subsidies are provided for those in need. Others are hybrid models of public/private insurance like in France and England.

    A lot of Canadians tend to be quite dogmatic and protective about the present healthcare system because they fear that if a “two-tier” system were allowed to take hold, there’d be a flight of expertise to the for-profit side of things and the majority of people would end up with a crappy system in even more chronic need of doctors and other qualified professionals.

    But you know, there’s all sorts of misconceptions about our current system. Fact of the matter is that much of it is “for profit” — certainly the corporations of doctors, clinics, imaging labs, and various other ancillary services all are. The difference is the concept of “single-payer” which is simply the means by which all of these medical entities involved in the system are reimbursed for their services — which is through the health ministries of the various provinces.

    Why on earth anyone would want to have the “payer” be a for-profit entity with overhead of 30% or more with a mandate to maximize return on shareholder investment (frequently by denying coverage or rescinding it should expenses outweigh the premiums paid into the scheme) as opposed to a government system with a 3-5% amount of overhead focused on minimizing expenditure while dealing with the most critical problems and preventing catastrophic incidents from occurring in the first place is beyond me.

    But back to your original point. The reason healthcare systems are struggling at the moment is simply a matter of demographics. We have a rising tide of aging people at the moment that are an immense drain on systems and obviously cost far more to look after than young, relatively healthy people. In other words, the “risk pool” is seriously imbalanced at present and, unfortunately, this situation will only get more so for the next 20 yrs. or so until such time as these folks are weeded out of the general population through their natural expiration. Sounds a bit callous maybe, but that’s the fact of the matter.

    I personally happen to believe that these individuals should expedite their journey to the great hereafter (or existential void, if you prefer) rather than prolong their time on planet Earth going into dementia and pathetic physical decrepitude and we should do anything to help expedite this process as rapidly and humanely as possible. I also quite like Franken’s idea of arming them and sending them into battle so they can go out in a final blaze of glory…

    But I seem to be in the minority as far as these opinions go, so as long as people are obstinately bound and determined to “live” for as long as conceivably possible riding around on golf carts, we’re going to be stuck with this great (albeit, in the big picture, somewhat temporary) burden of oldsters who persist in not politely dying as they should and therefore require expensive medical treatment in the meantime.

  20. Ti-Guy

    Yeah and when they go they will take thier companies with them…

    You mean they’ll ship out all the wood, the mineral resources, the oil, the hydroelectric generating stations and all the agriculture when they go? I’d like to see that.

    They’ve already closed down or off-shored everything else. And they did *that* during the good times.

  21. I personally believe that these individuals should expedite their journey to the great hereafter (or existential void, if you prefer) rather than prolong their time on planet Earth…

    Where’s the delicious Michael York when you need him?

  22. austin

    We have a lot of workers in this country that work in the service sector, companies often times owned by rich people who are not going to pay rediculous taxes when then can go to America or where ever and do the same thing for less.

  23. SF — Or perhaps this…

  24. austin

    “I personally happen to believe that these individuals should expedite their journey to the great hereafter (or existential void, if you prefer) rather than prolong their time on planet Earth going into dementia and pathetic physical decrepitude and we should do anything to help expedite this process as rapidly and humanely as possible. I also quite like Franken’s idea of arming them and sending them into battle so they can go out in a final blaze of glory…”

    RT- This may be the best paragraph I have ever read.

  25. Rob — What? We aren’t doing everything we could do in response to climate change – well, how can that be, you and the crew at BCL are all so content with how perfect the state of the world is such that discussion with those not supporting you is unnecessary.

    You can be a very reasonable guy at times, but Ti and “the crew at BCL” certainly do seem to get you wound up. 😉

    I have a rather modest, and dare I say “conservative” proposal when it comes to the tar-sands. First, simply charge the oil companies a fair rate for the amount of water they use. Sounds fair, don’t you think? It is a public resource, after all. Second, require that they provide adequate funding (and not just a bare pittance for public relations purposes) for complete remediation of their extraction. Third, they come up with a way to eliminate their toxic waste tailing ponds (which should actually be called “lakes”).

    In other words, find ways to make the process relatively neutral and sustainable. Quite aside from the carbon that’s being spewed into the atmosphere they’re engaging in a grandiose act of public theft.

  26. Ti-Guy

    We have a lot of workers in this country that work in the service sector, companies often times owned by rich people who are not going to pay rediculous taxes when then can go to America or where ever and do the same thing for less.

    These people won’t take their companies with them They’ll either shut them down or sell them off…cheap. Other Canadians can buy them.

    A lot of these so-called service industries aren’t worth having anyway. All the big-box stores, for example, just exacerbate the problem (low wages, no transferable skills acquisition, no real advancement). If they go, smaller businesses will fill the gap.

    Wealthy people are like the abusive alcoholic husband who the wife won’t kick out because she’s afraid the family will be destitute. When that does happen, she’s amazed to find out how much he was really costing, in real financial terms and in other, less tangible ways.

  27. Austin — Thanks.

    Hey, if we must insist on making war, then it seems only reasonable to chuck the oldsters into the front lines of the fray with whomever we decide to pick on… or, excuse me, “liberate”!

    If nothing else, it would make for great comedy. Plus, they’d probably enjoy the whole experience. It might even be the best time of their (soon to be shortened) lives!

    I would certainly sign up for it in an instant. What better way to die than killing another army of oldsters similarly bored with the dreary hum-drum and rather annoying level of aggravation associated with existence as they’re at the end of their tether?

  28. And, might I add that from a strictly economic sense it’s ridiculous to pull healthy, ostensibly productive young men and women from the workforce when there are untold millions of pensioners just aimlessly loafing around, idling in coffee shops, playing Boggle or golfing every day… all the while drawing government welfare cheques and generally being a drag on society.

    Give then a mission! Something to do… A renewed purpose in life! Like freeing the world for “democracy” and “freedom” — with guns and bombs!

    We need to prise George Bush away from giving “motivational” speeches on behalf of a former drug-addict for $4.95/head and put his talents to good use — driving the oldsters into battle in order to save our healthcare system and make the world completely safe for giant economy packs of toilet paper, cheap ni-cad batteries and “value-priced” generic bacon from Wal-Mart!

  29. Ti-Guy

    when there are untold millions of pensioners just aimlessly loafing around, idling in coffee shops, playing Boggle or golfing every day…

    What I don’t understand is all the shopping they do. Don’t these people have everything they need already? Hasn’t the novelty of *getting stuff* worn off?

  30. austin

    But think of all the children who wouldn’t have those shiney nickles from Gramma & Grampa. Would somebody please think of the children.

  31. One would think so. I suspect it’s a “comfort” thing as much as anything else and the acquisition of material “stuff” makes them feel relevant in some odd fashion. But hey, I’m not a psychologist, so that’s just a theory…

    My Dad bought piles and piles of books and CDs that he could never possibly find time to read or listen to towards the end of his life and I think it just made him feel “secure” and perhaps even kind of hopeful about the future in a rather strange way. Like somehow he’d have boundless time to absorb all of this literature and great music. Unfortunately, a good deal of them were still in their wrappers after he passed on — such a total waste.

    Other times, I think it’s more just a question of profound boredom and shopping perhaps alleviates that sensation. Plus, it brings them into contact with people in a manner that they can garner some respect (being in the position of purchasing things which kind of obligates a sort of deference).

  32. But think of all the children who wouldn’t have those shiny nickles from Gramma & Grampa.

    That makes me think of Colbert’s line the other night when referencing the $4.95 entrance fee for G.W. Bush’s motivational talk:

    “What, do you think I’m made of nickles?”

  33. austin

    $4.95 is $14.95 over priced. How motivational is it to listen to someone murder the english language?

  34. Apparently, he failed to impress — even at that low, low price.

    I might be tempted to go to such an event, just as morbid gawker than anything else, but I’d certainly never give more than pocket change to further enrich this murderous douchebag.

  35. Ti-Guy

    I might be tempted to go to such an event, just as morbid gawker than anything else…

    I don’t think I’d be able to stomach the rapturous acclaim from the Bush worshippers in the audience.

    I can’t trust myself around those people. At a demonstration in front of the American Embassy in Ottawa I happened upon just before the Iraq Invasion, there was this woman carrying a star-spangled tote-bag yelling out to the crowd “Bush is my hero.” I wanted to strangle her with my bare hands.

  36. I can relate to that sentiment.

    Not that I feel proud about it, but the visceral anger over the insane stupidity of the previous eight years is somewhat difficult to get past.

    And to be perfectly honest, the “rapturous” feelings of anyone, for any party or anything at all are difficult to stomach. People slapping their “thunder sticks” and yelling in support of their chosen team leader just make me deeply sick with a level of profound contempt that would, in a previous era and under different circumstances, have converted them into bars of soap or accessories for lighting fixtures.

  37. Ti-Guy

    And to be perfectly honest, the “rapturous” feelings of anyone, for any party or anything at all are difficult to stomach

    Well, you’re right there. It’s appropriate for particular events, but it generally gives me the heebie-jeebies.

    As I remember it though, there was something else with this Bush-worshipping dolt that bugged me. She was looking around, grinning maliciously, almost hoping she was upsetting people with her mindless enthusiasm. That’s a sentiment I sense very often on the Right: that they’re happiest when they’re sticking it to their adversaries.

  38. That’s definitely a tendency I’ve observed amongst a certain quite needy group of right-wing bloggers who seem to regard it as a badge of honour to attract the withering scorn of people like our friend “Canadian Cynic” as if that’s some great achievement. It’s a strange dynamic…

  39. Well, I had a medical emergency (described here) last night which seems to be turning into multiple visits to clinics and hospitals. I have already paid $50 in co-pays and am wondering what I am going to receive as a final bill. I’ll let you know.

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