Monday, August 27, 2007

"Sicko? The truth about the US healthcare system". Can Michael Moore handle the truth?

Regarding Andrew Gumbel's article, "Sicko? The truth about the US healthcare system" (Jun.4, 2007, the independent/UK) which appeared on Aug.27, 2007) , I wrote:

The Canadian Supreme Court’s Chaoulli decision was made in June 2005, and applies, at the moment, only to the province of Quebec, as healthcare delivery is a provincial responsibility. At issue was the fact that patients in Quebec - as in the rest of Canada - were being denied timely treatment by our so-called universal, government-run, single-payer health monopoly, yet (in this ‘twilight-zone’-worthy, but sadly quite real scenario) the government also banned patients from any recourse to buy their own private insurance to ameliorate our state-run monopoly’s negligence. The Chaoulli decision is commonly summarized as showing that ‘Access to a healthcare waiting list, is not actual access to healthcare’. The philosophic/political zeitgeist of our brand of slick socialized medicare is that we’re promised a virtual reality. There is no consumer choice for us in healthcare; the government taxes us and then decides how to ration the care. Our healthcare is not “free” (as some bizarrely believe) - yet the government of Ontario in 2004 added a highly-unpopular “health premium” (fancy leftist lingo for “another tax”) AND simultaneously cut previously-covered health coverage services! (And no, for the paranoid Dems out there, this was not some right-wing-government that cut medicare in Canada, it was the Liberal government of Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty). Now they are denying cancer treatments to patients, deeming it “experimental” or “not approved”, so patients are self-funding and going to the States because THERE IS NOWHERE ELSE! We can only dream of having had the chance to buy health insurance. Michael Moore fans out there who think that your HMO’s are bad should try dealing with the only payer in the country for your healthcare: the non-competitive government bureaucracy. Oh, yes, we’re “covered” in Canada, all right - but many of us are forced to go to the U.S. for service! Yes, we can “choose our doctors” -that is, if we can find one first. Recent press stats claim that Ontario, with a population over 12 million, is desperately short about 2,500 doctors. “Universality” in Canada is a feel-good promise of rhetoric, that is until you hear about all the Canadians forced to flee to the States for treatment which ours fails to provide (the Alberta Jepp quadruplets having been born in the States being a recent high-profile example, but there are countless others). Michael Moore’s praises about Canada in his mockumentary ‘Sicko’, should be taken with a grain of salt: they are manipulative, and misrepresent the reality of what 40 years of socialist medicare has done to us. Don’t be fooled into believing that Canada’s ‘fool’s gold’ of a system is some kind of medical Nirvana. Our Chaoulli decision is a foreshadowing of what, state by state, Americans will have to go through in about 20 years if you adopt a state-run, single payer monopoly system, as your much-ballyhoed dreams of “universality” eventually, and predictably, fail to deliver as well. In Canada, province by province, there are now Chaoulli-type constitutional Supreme Court challenges slowly winding their way through the system. If you believe Michael Moore that your U.S. system is so terrible, then it’s also an inconvenient truth to admit that Canadians are running to the States to obtain treatment. It’s convenient for the left in both of our countries to insultingly dismiss this phenomenon as “anecdotal”, because it doesn’t jive with their rose-coloured aspirations. Don’t envy Canada: emulate us at your own risk. Many Canadians are thankful the U.S. system was there when we needed it.

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