The Health Care Debate
Okay, I guess it’s time I waded into the healthcare debate. This one has been on my mind for awhile, and with congress hotly debating your healthcare future, I felt compelled to share my own experience.
I am a bit shocked by the amount of fear being expressed in regards to trying something new. Regardless of what is decided I wish people could let go of the “I can take care of myself mentality”, or the “I don;t need big government telling me how to live!” That song is easy to play until something unexpected happens and you find yourself having to choose between food and medicine, shelter and medicine, or worse, with no choice at all!
My family and I moved to Canada 8 years ago from San Francisco. I had never had health insurance in the States until my son was born, I was 37 at the time and had been lucky. We paid $600.00 a month for the privilege of being covered. This lovely policy came along with a variety of strings; co-paymentsof 30 to 50%, $2000 deductible. Basically it was a get hit by a truck policy — life insurance for my kid. That same policy would cost us about $1000 bucks today. My brother in-law is currently paying $600 a month and has a $5000 deductible along with an equally long list of do’s and don’ts. Now I have never been a big consumer of western medicine, but shit happens, and sometimes you really appreciate having it around — even more so when you know it is not going to bankrupt you.
When we moved to British Columbia we were required to buy into the provincial health care program for a whopping $100 a month — thats for my whole family! When we have a health concern we simply walk into our GP, or any clinic for that matter, if they can’t figure it out your referred to a specialist or the hospital. We give them our healthcare-card and never see a piece of paper, much less a bill. Last year my son lost a finger in a sailing accident, the year before my daughter received elective surgery to improve her hearing. In each case the only paper we got was a questionnaire asking us how our experience was at the hospital. All for $100 bucks a month. That’s with no co-pay, no deductibles. If you can’t afford the 100 bucks you get it for free. I did have to pay $75 for my son’s ambulance ride to the hospital, about the cost of a taxi, but I was happy to pay it given the care and support he had received. If you don’t feel like waiting for that elective surgery you can buy it sooner. It’s like a giant sliding scale with everyone receiving basic health care. And for most of us that’s all we need, basic health care.
So I guess I just wanted to say that it doesn’t have to be that complicated. If Canada can do it than so can you! Whatever you may think of the job Obama has done this past year, he is putting himself out there right now to try and change things. Seems like we should all being doing our part too!
Cc: President Obama
It would be nice.
I agree that sounds great. However, we are not getting anything remotely similar to that with the health care bill which may soon go through. We are getting a plan, as far as I can tell, which requires people to buy health insurance from the same private corporations which are screwing us now. I know some people say this is an intermediary step to a public or single payer plan, but the Democrats have as much power now as they are likely to have for the forseeable future. If they can’t do it now, I don’t know when they’ll have a better chance. Also, Canadians don’t have a huge war machine to pay for, so they can use their tax money more wisely. It would be nice though.
What are our options?
Yes, the current plan isn’t anything like what I hoped and dreamed for, but would it be better to kill it and live with the status quo? Given the fight that getting this far has been, and that even this has people freaking out about the government take over and socialism, I’m consoling myself with the hope that this is better than no change at all.
A sensible solution to the health care problem:
“Treat People Like Dogs”, by Karen Oberthaler, V.M.D., Newsweek, March 2010.
From the viewpoint of a vet, it is ins. cos. guiding policy and the threat of lawsuits guiding medical decisions in the U.S. health care system that keeps driving up the cost.
Thanks everyone for your
Thanks everyone for your replies. I guess my point is that sometimes in the face of complexity there is actually a simple solution. And I agree that it needs to be a single payer system. I think people really need to get out and let their voices be heard on this one, and I think that it is easy to feel overwhelmed at the idea of having another bureaucratic agency. In canada the system is federally mandated but each province administers its own program, perhaps States or regions could do something similar.
Michael Victoria, BC
“sing’in rooty toot toot for the moon!”
I love this blog…
and I wish we Americans will have happy ending like yours. I get really mad when I see people -obviously medicare age- who are out vigorously campaigning against health care reform, who don’t trust the government for anything but their own healthcare in retirement! That level of selfishness rankles me.
The “reform” is probably going to look something like Massachusetts right now…and it’s pretty crazy for those who need (or in some cases think they need) lots of med. intervention to be on Mass. Health (the public option). Of course it can be pretty insane to have the private insurance as well. The costs -no matter who gets blamed for it, malpractice, pharm research, overhead- are all based on capitalism. They will charge as much as the consumer will pay (and then a little more).
It is a beginning. Perhaps a clunky, crappy beginning, but given that it is clear the democrats are no longer on the side of the “little guy” it is a place to start.
I have really regretted that I talked my husband into voting for Obama because I think all of things we wish, it is only Ralph Nader who ever promised something we could all be happy about (well unless I was in the upper 1% income bracket). And Ralph Nader has been delivering on his promises for 3 decades. I feel duped by the media and social narrowing once again that I did not vote for him. He must just shake his head sadly anytime he bothers to turn on the news.
Thanks Ralph for trying, I guess we were just not ready for someone as forward thinking as you.
The expense of health care
The expense of health care is going through the roof, and it’s really no question that there’s a lot of discussion about health care reform. Health care is what every one needs for it helps every one of us to stay healthy. However, being healthy does not only rely on health care alone. It is still necessary that we are going to choose the food the we are going to eat. Kentucky Fried Chicken must be destroyed. I think in the pursuit of this “low carb” business many people have gone entirely too far with the meat sandwich idea (sans buns) and have used it as the inspiration for some serious evil. Seriously – the KFC Double Down is preposterous. Sandwiching bacon and cheese between two fried (or grilled) chicken patties is just grosse. Each time somebody thinks about purchasing that, another cardiologist knows he’ll never need payday advances. You basically are buying a doctor a new Mercedes and renewing his country club membership whenever you eat something such as that.