American Elephants

Shona Holmes Warns Us About Canadian-Style Health Care. by The Elephant's Child


She wants all her health care right now yet she doesn’t want to pay for it. This is the type of woman complaining at the fast food window..

Comment by Graham H

The story is false. She did not have a tumour or cancer. She had a non-life-threatening cyst. She had to pay $100K for a surgery in the US, and to do so, took out a second mortgage on her house and borrowed from friends. All this to slightly expedite a surgery which would have been performed for free.

AE responds: Wrong. According to the Mayo Clinic, and CNN, She had a tumor/cyst (its unclear when it became clear it was a cyst, but according to the Mayo Clinic cysts can also be cancerous) and no one knew if it was cancerous or not. It would have taken MONTHS in Canada just to find out if it WAS cancer. In the meantime it was causing her pain and according to the Mayo Clinic doctors threatening her vision:

headaches, sleeplessness, dizziness, low libido and, worst of all, rapidly deteriorating vision. Her family doctor in Canada ordered an MRI, and a brain tumor was detected. But it would take months for her to get on the appointment calendar of a neurologist or endocrinologist in Canada.

When you are going blind, and suffering pain, sleeplessness and other problems, waiting months is not “slight” as you say. How pathetic that you have to defend a woman losing her vision in order to defend your health care system!

And she would have had to travel all over your country to see the different specialists she needed because they don’t all exist in the same place.

The most significant quote in the CNN interview comes at the end where she breaks down in tears about how Canadian “health care” was not there for her when she needed it.

A story shared by countless Canadians.

Afterall you dont see Americans fleeing our country to get Canadian health care, but untold thousands of Canadians, including your government leaders flee your country to come to the United States to get the best care on Earth. Care they cant get in Canada.

Comment by Josh

The Mayo clinic’s website will confirm that this was not a tumor and not life threatening.

She could have gone completely blind. That’s still pretty bad. So, why the need for the lies? I assume it’s to pay her bills.

Comment by Mike

Based on all the information I’ve been able to gather, from several websites, including the Mayo Clinic site and the John Wayne Cancer Clinic site, I concur with Josh. It seems she felt her condition was worse than it would appear her doctor thought it was. She would have had surgery in Canada had she not given in to panic. I, myself have had surgery here in Canada with waiting times that were appropriate for the condition. I must say that several times the waiting time was way less than I thought it might be.

Comment by John

You’ve got it a little backwards, Graham. Canadians pay for every bit of health care in their taxes. It is not “free.” Wait times in Canada can be life-threatening. Even the gentleman who was the”father” of the Canadian health care system has said that it simply doesn’t work.
And ObamaCare will not be “free,”if you do not pay for it in taxes, you will pay for it in the inflation in every good and service, and in the inevitable rationing of medical services available.
Josh, Your source? Doesn’t matter.She is just one of the many Canadians who have to seek medical care here because of wait times, rationing, or unavailability of diagnostic tools. Again, not “free”, that is a delusion.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

We accepted Ms.Holmes story in good faith, and if it is not true, we apologize. But you keep insisting that Canadian health care is “free”. It is not. The assumption that it is free is what is breaking the system. Governments cannot run much of anything efficiently. They prove it over and over, but wave “free” in front of voters and they lose all their common sense. We have more MRI and CT scan machines in most ordinary American cities than there are in many Canadian provinces. When government says you can have everything “free”, governments immediately have to start rationing, for if there are no limits, they cannot bear the cost. You don’t notice it until it affects you directly — when you are in real need, and then it may be too late.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

This lady seems to be making big waves in the US.
She is full of it.
Her political commercial says she would be dead in six months but the US and Canadian Doctors disagree with her.
I live in Canada and have had a heart attack recently. No cost to me, for ambulance, stay in hospital, surgery or anything else to save my life.
My wife has had an ongoing bowl problem and all hospital and emergency visits are no additional costs.
In Canada we have the Canada Health Act and no person can be denied health care.
I do not know of any person that has needed health services for a life threatening illness that has not had it provided.
If I need an MRI for a severe problem I get one immediately.
If it is a problem that I can go on a list for then I go on the list.
If I don’t want to wait then I can pay a private MRI for the service.
The Government health system does not tell me who my Doctor can be.
I can choose who my Doctor is.
If my Doctor refers me to a specialist, than I can say if I want to see them.
I think that the media in the US should come to Canada and do a report to show how our system actually works.
Scott MacKay

Comment by Scott MacKay

Of course our Canadian health care system is not free. We pay taxes. But somehow when your child’s life is being saved, in a timely way unlike the false testimony of Ms. Holmes, it seems free. I have experienced that feeling.
As we go about our daily lives we do not feel the cost of our health care system, but many of us do thank God for it. The fear that has been engendered by Fox News, and the like, is not real. The real fear is dying without being able to save yourself from a disease that is curable because you can’t afford it. That’s awful – deplorable – and does not have to happen to any American.

Comment by Karen

Flapping her lips in the wind to anyone who’ll listen, Ms. Holmes refuses to acknowledge one very basic and simple fact: she ONLY got treatment in the U.S. because she had the means to pay for it. If she did not have health care insurance, or the money to pay for her treatment, she would NOT have been treated. She would not have even gotten past the admissions desk. Holmes can deride and mock Canada’s healthcare system all she wants, but how strange it is that she now expects OHIP (the Ontario Health Insurance Plan), funded by the taxpayers of Ontario, to fully reimburse her for the $100,000 she paid out to the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. For someone so averse to socialized healthcare, she doesn’t seem to mind it when it’s to her financial benefit. Being Canadian, I personally hope Ms. Holmes and her family will return and remain in the States. But they all better pray they stay healthy, since with no national health insurance plan, they could not afford to get sick.

Comment by Grant

This sort of thing goes on constantly, just this morning before i saw this on canada am, i was thinking how can i get some health insurance for the states.
Last week I almost died because the Digby Hospital in Nova Scotia, gave me a shot of torodol and pain pills and sent me home, I had to go back the next day because nothing had changed…I was screaming in agony, they did no tests and assumed that because I was there in may of this year because i threw my back out that was what the problem was…
needless to say, it was not my back, they even had the audacity to send me a bill for urine tests and blood tests that they did, when they actually did not do them…I’m glad they sent me this bill because now i have proof that the hospital was trying to defraud our government for charging for something not actually done.

I ended up going to the Yarmouth hospital a few days later, and was told that they didn’t know if they could save my kidney as doctor told my husband and I that if we had waited one more day that septa semia would have set in and I either would have lost my kidney not to mention my life…When I heard this, I was so dissapointed in our government that I was in tears….I am planning myself to look for healthcare else where…
I could go on and on about all the things that happened the last two weeks, but it would be a very long list as there are many things that happened that are just inhumane…
This province is full of aging seniors and now I really fear for them if they use the health system here….not to mention, how many have already lost organs and or died because of the neglagence.
After seeing shona holmes’ vidio this morning, I have decided to do something about this if i can, i refuse to be responsible for another persons health or even death by keeping my experience to myself……
I have to say though, I will never ever trust another word from our government ever again, they are liars, and I am not afraid to tell my story….People need to know whats really going on….take your heads out of the sand and wake up people, we are being abused by our own health care system, and I even called the halifax paper, and told them, but they never got back to me, and the only reason I can figure is they are to scared to cover it…I have alot of proof and paper work from this last two weeks, and I am going to do my utmost to bring this to light as well….We need change and we need it now, and we need to stop the needless deaths that are caused by this tragedy…I love canada, but I’m sure not proud of its leaders anymore…not when they have no regard for our safty or our lives…
Wake up Canada! this is REALLY happening!!!!!!!

Comment by Kim

I was diagnosed with a brain tumor years ago, received all the care needed at once because of the life or dead situation. I am a Canadian citizen. And this woman is lying it is not true, you are put on the top of the list (if any) for your emergency care,I got my operation and did not pay a cent. Got MRI and all the after needed at once, like medicine and radiation therapy, where on earth did you find this lying story and how much is she being paid??

Comment by Dominique Susnjic

It is unfortunate that this Canadian woman is allowed to rant against our Health
Care system.
There are comments about her but nowhere am I viewing on TV the other side.One relative of mine just received approximately 1 million in stem cell transplant for leukemia.One woman telling lies does NOT prove our system is bad.All Canadians receive free Health Care why not let one of the 47 million Americans with NO Health Care answer her complaint ON TV.

Comment by Joy Taylor

I’m glad that some of you Canadians like your system. Please leave us free to reject what is being offered us, for it is a very bad plan. Joy Taylor, we do not have 47 million Americans with no health care. We have about 45.7 million with no health insurance. Over 10% of those are entitled to existing programs but have not signed up. Over 10% earn over 300% of the poverty level, can afford insurance but choose not to buy it. 5% are childless young adults who choose not to buy it. The remaining uninsured who need insurance but cannot afford it are a little over 10%. 9% are non-citizens. No one goes without care. The stories I have heard from Canadian citizens complaining about their health care system are extensive. Claude Gastonguay, the “father” of Canadian Health Care has recognized that the system is failing. If you’re happy, good for you. But allow us the opportunity to opt for freedom and personal choice, which are very important to Americans.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Josh, I went to Mayo like you suggested – what part of “a brain tumor was diagnosed” is unclear? Oh, I get it – since our sterling US doctors using the best equipment in the world correctly diagnosed the tumor as non-life threatening, then Shona’s whole story should be ignored? In my mind it even further proves her point – the Canadian system fell short. Are you really arguing that you would be willing to live with the diagnosis of “brain tumor” for 6 months because it might only be a cyst? Well, I wouldn’t!

Comment by Meme

I’ve tried to follow the links from here and elsewhere to the Mayo Clinic to see what they had to say about this story myself. (I am a Canadian and this story sounds so fishy and antithetical to all I know about my and others’ experience with our medical system.)
I can see that this story was available on the Mayo Clinc website but appears to have been totally removed (except for the old links pointing to other stories or “page not found” errors)
Why would they have removed a true, self-serving and interesting story like this – Maybe because their story and Shona’s own self-serving commercials and interviews no longer match up?
By the way, the “father” of the Canadian health insurance system, Tommy Douglas (Kiefer Sutherland’s grandfather) was recently voted “The Greatest Canadian”!

Comment by Robert Loblaw

Isn’t it amazing that Ms. Holmes story is longer on the mayo clinic’s website. I wonder why….
Some of you need to do a little research..The father of Canadian health care was actually Tommy Douglas who introduced universal healthcare to the provinceof Saskatchewan and then was adopted by the Federal Gov’t.
While I agree that my taxes pay for healthcare, I do take comfort in knowing that if your situation is life threatening, you do get treatment right away. Like everything else in life, people fall through the cracks and those are the stories that make the news. The Shona Holmes ad is blatant manipulation and is nowhere near indicative of how healthcare operates on a daily basis.

Comment by bruce

I support a public health care system because I believe everyone should have equitable access to treatment & services. Unfortunately it will be harder to implement in the U.S. because of it’s massive population. Comparably, Canada does a pretty solid job with its Health Care services because there are only 33 million Canadians vs 300 million Americans. Yes it’s a lot of tax, but it also means that you’ll be able to keep your house after heart surgery. Btw, it appears that they have pulled Mrs.Holmes testimonial from the Mayo Clinic website. Good Health to All!

Comment by Torontorrential

Shona Holmes NEVER had a brain tumor. She had a benign cyst. She panicked and came to America despite living within minutes of low cost MRI clinics that could have seen her immediately, and despite her condition never threatening her life.

Even better, she’s suing the Ontario government to recover the cost of her treatment in America. Looks like she wants to have her cake and eat it, too.

Comment by Ellid

From the 7/22 (11:38AM) post of The Elephant’s Child: “I’m glad that some of you Canadians like your system. Please leave us free to reject what is being offered us, for it is a very bad plan.”

You’re of course entitled to YOUR opinion of OUR (Canada’s) healthcare system. I happen to be one of those Canadians who like OUR healthcare system. Since I’m not American, the type of healthcare YOUR country has or doesn’t have is of no interest to me whatsoever.

My previous comments were in specific regard to Shona Holmes and the U.S. lobbying group that paid her big bucks to trash Canada’s healthcare system. THAT is what concerns me, together with the fact that the woman is plainly nothing more than an opportunistic liar:

a) she did NOT have a brain tumour, but rather a benign, non-life threatening cyst

b) the “world class” treatment she received at the Mayo Clinic cost her approximately $97,000

c) and now, incredibly, she fully expects HER government’s disgraceful – or, in your words “very bad” – healthcare system to reimburse her that money

If Americans and their legislators want to buy into Ms. Holmes’ lies, half-truths, and melodramatic fight-for-life story they are of course more than “free” to do so. Again, like most Canadians, I really don’t give a rat’s behind what kind of healthcare system the U.S. has or doesn’t have, since, unlike Shona Holmes, I’m not expecting to run down to the States any time soon for medical treatment I simply could not afford. Personally, I only hope this woman’s 15-minutes of fame are nearing an end, as I’m sick to death of seeing her little TV commercial on every channel I turn to. Just hearing her say, “I am a Canadian citizen” makes me cringe.

Comment by Grant

Unfortunately the main Point is being missed here.
At this point in the United States the Americans are being lied to about the Canadian health system.
It is a well financed and planned attempt to stop the change to the current health care system.
Big business is spending big monies to keep its high cost health system.
I hope for all of the uninsured millions and debt ridden sick people in the US that this lie is seen for what it is.

Comment by Scott MacKay

Of course, our Health Care in Canada is NOT free. It is in our taxes and if you are over a certain income bracket you pay additional money at tax time. However, there is so much wrong with this womans story. She says she is in Washington and NOT getting re-imbursed..yet she claims to be financially ruined and cries when she sees her friends and cannot pay them yet. Yet she can afford to go to Washington? Hmmm. She says her appt with the nueroligist was 4 months away, and then says she could not get follow up care after returning from her surgery. Hmmm. Did she cancel her nueroligist appointment? I suspect that she was anxious as we all would be if we had something in our head that was not suppose to be there, but to go to the States and do a commercial for them? and try and fix their health system? Hmmm. If she is NOT getting paid why is she not up here fixing our’s that she is broken? She cannot “fix” our system south of the border can she. There is waaaaay more to this story that will come out.

Comment by Jocey

I am an Ontario resident. I have yet to be let down by our health care system despite having many family members treated for life threatening cancers. My mother received free treatment here in Ontario for pancreatic cancer. Her care at The Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto was beyond what we could have expected. We were admitted immediately due to the severity of her diagnosis. Treatment over 2 years was estimated at over 1 million dollars of which we paid absolutely nothing. Americans find this hard to believe but I must repeat that our family paid absolutely nothing for excellent treatment.

Comment by David

Facts speak for themselves

United States

Infant mortality 6.26 /1000
Total Life Expectancy At birth 78.11
Death Rate 8.38/1000


Death Rate 7.74/1000
Infant Mortality 5.04/1000
Life Expentacy Birth 81.23
Death Rate 7.74/1000

Source: C.I.A. World Fact Book

Comment by Mike Wright

Actually Mike, those facts do not speak for themselves. The infant mortality rate is measured differently in other countries. They do not count low birth weight babies as live births that the US does count, and so your statistics are almost useless.

Comment by American Elephant

“Actually Mike, those facts do not speak for themselves. The infant mortality rate is measured differently in other countries. They do not count low birth weight babies as live births that the US does count, and so your statistics are almost useless.”

Really?….The stats are useless because countries calculate infant mortality differently. Did you check to see if there is a vraience between Canada and the States? How about life expentency…is that calculated differently or would you agree that dead is dead.
What a weak arguement. The original poster made his point. You didn’t.

Comment by bruce

Yes Bruce, Comparing apples to oranges is useless.

The United States tries to save the lives of babies that Canada doesn’t even consider babies. That raises the infant mortality rate and the death rate for the US, but it is a dishonest and deceptive argument.

The original poster did not make his point, he obfuscated the facts with misleading statistics. As Mark Twain observed, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics.

Comment by American Elephant

Elephant, At least the poster offered some stats regardless if you call them apples or oranges. You offer nothing other than blatant false information to justify your position. Why don’t you offer some proof to back up your claims that the States tries to save the lives of babies that Canada doesn’t even recognize? If it were true, don’t you think life expectancy rate would actually fall below that of the States, yet…it’s higher. Go figure.
I find it interesting you pointed out a Mark Twain quote. You obviously don’t fit the statistics portion of the quote since you offer nothing to back up your claims but you seem to be a nice fit for the first two.
Is mudslinging on a topic you have little experience in, really credible? How sad that you and the Republican party need to scaremonger the masses in order to keep your payola rolling in from the healthcare industry.

Comment by Bruce

And lets end this nonsense that Canadians pay for their health care.

Americans pay for a very large portion of it.

Remember, Canadians only enjoy lower prescription drug prices because they threatened the American manufacturers of those medications that if they didn’t meet the prices the Canadian government demanded, that the government would simply ignore the patents and manufacture the drugs themselves.

Otherwise known as extortion. The Canadian government said, “if you dont give us your product at well under market value, we will simply steal it.

So Americans must pay MORE for prescription drugs to make up for Canadians fare share that greedy Canadian socialists refuse to pay.

We also pay for your health care by providing your national security for you. Like most of socialist Europe, you have a tiny, token military and mooch the vast majority of your national defense off of us, so that you can pay for socialist programs instead of defending yourselves — the primary responsibility of any government.

So, let’s please end this nonsense that Canadians are paying for their own health care.

Comment by American Elephant

I guess my time here is done as your attempt to push my buttons is quite frankly, a waste of time. I’ll respond to your ridiculous statements of misinformation one last time.

Americans don’t have to make up for our cheap prescriptions- Your population is 10 times the size of Canada. Big Pharma sells 10 times the drugs in the States than in Canada yet Americans have to subsidize Canadians? You better redo your math.

You provide national security to Canada? Just how do you do that? You mean like in WW2 when our token army was liberating Europe while your army was sitting on its ass doing nothing until Pearl Harbour happened and then you decided to fight? Is that the security you’re talking about? Do a little research and you’ll see that I’m not mistaken. Or do you mean the security you’ve provided in Afghanistan that Canadian soldiers have been fighting in while the Americans are in Iraq fighting a war they will never win all over weapons of mass destruction that were never found??? You need to realize that Canada as well as most other nations, don’t require a security force as large as the States because we aren’t despised to the extent your country is. There’s a reason your youth, that travel the world, put a Canadian flag patch on their backpacks.

Although in Canada I am a conservative, I could never be associated with someone with such ignorance. For some reason, you get your kicks on picking on Canada. We produce enough oil to look after ourselves, do you? No, you buy from us. We produce enough electricity to power ourselves. Do you? No, you buy from us. We have enough fresh water to sustain us for centuries. Do you? No, you’re already trying to buy from us.

Again, my time here is done. Good luck in trying to push someone else’s buttons.

Comment by Bruce

Here you go Bruce. As I said, the previous poster is comparing apples to oranges and his statistics are useless and misleading

According to the way statistics are calculated in Canada, Germany, and Austria, a premature baby weighing <500g is not considered a living child.

But in the U.S., such very low birth weight babies are considered live births. The mortality rate of such babies — considered “unsalvageable” outside of the U.S. and therefore never alive — is extraordinarily high; up to 869 per 1,000 in the first month of life alone. This skews U.S. infant mortality statistics….

Norway boasts one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world. But when the main determinant of mortality — weight at birth — is factored in, Norway has no better survival rates than the United States. [more]

Comment by American Elephant

Americans don’t have to make up for our cheap prescriptions- Your population is 10 times the size of Canada. Big Pharma sells 10 times the drugs in the States than in Canada yet Americans have to subsidize Canadians? You better redo your math.

I apologize, I should have known that naturally a socialist Canadian would not understand arguments based on the laws of supply and demand. Let me be clearer.

Your “cheap” prescriptions are only cheap because we subsidize them. Your government refused to pay the going price and told the drug companies that if they did not provide them at prices lower than market value, that Canada would simply steal the drugs, by ignoring patent law and manufacturing the drugs themselves.

So someone has to pay the cost that cheap, greedy, socialist Canadians will not, so Americans end up paying for Canada’s fare share.

And as for your military. Sad really that you have to harken all the way back to WWII to conjure up a Canadian military that actually pulled its own weight. Unfortunately socialism has taken over Canada since then and your military is a pathetic shadow of what it once was. decimated by years of liberal socialists like Trudeau and Chretien.

Or do you mean the security you’ve provided in Afghanistan that Canadian soldiers have been fighting in while the Americans are in Iraq fighting a war they will never win all over weapons of mass destruction that were never found???

Actually Bruce, while Americans have been fighting in Iraq (NEWSFLASH BRUCE: the war in Iraq is won, Saddam is gone, Iraq is free, democratic, and now rely on the United States less for their national security than Canada does!) and while Canada has NO troops in Iraq, the US simultaneously has approximately 10 times the troops in Afghanistan that Canada does. In fact, we even had to transport your troops to the theater because Canada didnt have the ability to get them there!

Yes, you are done now.

Comment by American Elephant

My dear Canadians, We are not trying to put down your health care system. Many of you like it and that is good.

We are engaged in a political battle here. Democrats control Congress and wish to use that dominance to force a health care policy on the rest of us that is economically illiterate, unaffordable, ill-advised and misguided. It will not do the things claimed for it, and its promoters are using unseemly tactics to force it through — bribery, threats, bullying and lies.

Our comments on the Canadian system come from years of reading the Fraser Institute studies, the Canadian Press, and Canadian physicians who have left Canada to practice here, rather than from individual experiences. If you are experiencing good care and like the way it is funded, fine. There are British and French who like their systems too. But that is not what Americans want for themselves. We’re pretty big on liberty here, and on the free market.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

“The government shouldn’t come between the patient and Doctor” but the American system allows the insurance companies to come between the patient and Doctor. I have a diificult enough time dealing with insurance companies to fix my car after an accident, I couldn’t imagine dealing with them after surgery. I’d like to see Shona Holmes try to get health insurance in the U.S. now, sorry a pre-existing condition makes you a high risk. I guess she’ll have to get a second or third mortgage. Control of the masses by keeping them poor, uneducated and in ill-health, that’s American way.

Comment by Joe

“Claude Gastonguay, the “father” of Canadian Health Care”. A couple points; it is Claude Castonguay and he was not the father of Canadian Health Care, Tommy Douglas is credited with that honour. If you can’t be accurate with the simple facts how credible can you be with the complex issue of Healthcare.

Comment by Joe

Claude Gastonguay was NOT the ‘father’ of Canadian health care. He is a politician and businessman. It was Tommy Douglas who laid the groundwork for Medicare, which was launched by his successor as premier of (the province of) Saskatchewan in 1962. The program proved so successful that it was extended to the entire country in 1966. Tommy Douglas was voted “The Greatest Canadian” of all time in a nationally televised contest organized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 2004.

Some “liberties” are simply not worth their cost. I am more than happy to give up the liberty of worrying about how to pay for my health care. I am more than happy to give up the liberty of having to declare bankruptcy because I can’t pay my medical bills. I am happy to give up the liberty of battling with insurance companies who would deny me coverage, refuse to pay, require me to co-pay, and drop me when I have been ill and am at my most vulnerable. I am happy to give up the liberty of having an insurance company decide which doctor I should see, and what treatment plan is (financially) acceptable. I am happy to give up the liberty of having to deal with paperwork connected with medical procedures, as my aged American mother-in-law had to do the day after major surgery. I am resigned to having the ability of choosing my doctor, my specialist, and my hospital. All these liberties I happily give up in order to participate in an admittedly imperfect single payer system, which has never let me or my family down.

Comment by Johanna

Sorry Joe,

You’re wrong. The American system, unlike the Canadian system is built upon the freedom of association. There are hundreds of options open to us. You have ONE option. We shop around and find the doctor WE want, the insurance WE want, the treatments WE want….you are TOLD what you can and cannot have. We have choice.

Shona Homes never HAD insurance in the United States. Like so many Canadians — including your government leaders — she fled your country and came to the United States to get treatment she could not get when she felt she needed it in your country.

And your last statement is the most ridiculous of all.

Your entire life from cradle to grave is controlled by your government. You spend the majority of your life working to pay your government. Your very health is dictated by government. What tests you can have, when you can have them, when you can see the doctor, what treatments they can give you, when you can have them….ALL controlled by government. Your education is controlled by government, your income is confiscated by government, your religious freedom is controlled by government, your SPEECH is controlled by government.

WE have choices and freedoms, you are owned by the State. THAT’S the Canadian way

Comment by American Elephant

As I have understood from Canadian sources, Claude Gastonguay pushed through the first governmental health care in (Quebec? I forget what province) and it was subsequently rolled out for the rest of Canada (with changes) but largely based on his original policy. The Canadian sources thus claimed him as the originator, however minor. If I am mistaken, I apologize.

We like Canadians. Nice people, it’s just that they say the word ‘out’ in a way that makes us giggle. I really don’t understand what you are all on about.

You are inserting yourselves into a battle here in the U.S. that has nothing to do with you. If you are happy with your health care system, wonderful. If you want to change it, that’s OK with us too. If we use examples from your country to demonstrate what we don’t want in our country, there’s no need to be offended.

We have given away far more of our freedom than we want, and we oppose the plan our government is trying to sneak through. It will destroy our economy, and do damage to everyone else’s too. You might keep that in mind, as Canada is our most important trading partner.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Stop saying Canadians should “butt out”. There are approx 700,000 American citizens living in Canada – I am one of them. Many of us have lived in both countries and sought care in both systems. There is no question that the Canadian approach is superior. For every Shona Holmes who is unhappy with her care in Canada, there are probably hundreds of dead Americans who didn’t stand a chance of getting proper care because they didn’t have the money. Oh and the comments about Canadians having no freedoms are laughable. Freedom is far more intact here than what I’ve seen in States the last 8 years. Canadians do tend to be more softspoken, but don’t confuse that for being controlled by the government… 🙂 Perhaps they appear more calm because they generally have it really good up here – with all the good quality healthcare available based on Need, rather than based on ability to pay. If you don’t like Obama’s plan, support another one that will reduce costs and get care to more people. U.S. doesn’t have to have Canada’s system, but something has to be done!

Comment by Thinkrr

I don’t believe I ever said that Canadians should “butt out”, I just don’t understand why they want to intrude themselves into the argument. You, Thinkrr, clearly are not an American or you wouldn’t be so completely unfamiliar with American health care. Dead Americans indeed. Anyone can go to an emergency room and receive care, by law. Apparently you just want someone else to pay for your care. If you are not paying for it, then someone else is. Governments have no money of their own. There are names for people who freeload on others.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

I seem to have hit some raw nerves. You can have whatever medical system you want, all I ask is that you stop trolling for horror stories from the Canadian system. I do not know what sources you have used to conclude that my entire life is controlled by the government, I am not living in China or the former Soviet Union. I have freedom of association, I can choose what schools I attend, what religion I practice and practice freedom of speech. Canadians choose the healthcare system we have it was not imposed upon us. We have choosen a system that is for the greater good not one that is best for only the privileged. Since you brought up religion, I will conclude my participation in this forum with this quote from the religion I have the right to associate with; “Whatever you do to the least of my Brothers that you do unto me”. With that I am off to Church.

“God keep our land glorious and free.”

Comment by Joe

Those of us in the US with employer-subsidized health insurance sometimes forget its full cost and what the cost would be on the “open market” in the US. It’s not cheap and has risen considerably over recent years. Like higher education, health insurance costs continue to spiral upward.
My health insurance (for a family of 3) costs $13,535 per year, most of which is paid by my employer. The same coverage would cost me $19,500 if I were buying it on my own. This plan does not pay for everything by a long shot; I still have a fair amount of out of pocket expenses. My insurance company does offer a more complete plan for $27,027 (if I were to purchase it on my own).
Despite the high cost of my insurance, I confess that the only costs I think about are those I must pay “out of pocket” when I get a prescription or visit a doctor, etc. I think this is likely the case for most of us who have our insurance deducted from our pay check. We make our budgets based on take home pay, not total salary. It is unfair to call folks freeloaders because they don’t want high “out of pocket” costs.
Remember that all insurance companies make money because most of us cost less than we pay, be it for car, home, health, or life insurance. The only “non-freeloading” system would be one of pay as you go. That is, if you get sick, you pay the full cost — at that time. That would eliminate freeloading, but would be a very scary system for all. I personally want a kid with cancer to be able to get a life-saving treatment even if her family does not have the money to pay for it. I’m happy that some of my money that I pay to my insurance company will allow that, I’m sad that more of this money doesn’t go for this and that some much goes to administrative costs and executives’ salaries.
I’m also very lucky that I have health care that can not be canceled by the insurance company; this is not the case for all health insurance paying Americans. We must remember that some of those “freeloaders” are individuals who had been paying for health insurance for years and then when they developed an expensive health condition, had their insurance dropped.
The question is how do we pay for everyone’s health care in the most fair and equitable way possible? There are many possibilities and no perfect solutions.

Comment by Diane

In reading through these comments I see so many Americans complaining that we are trying to force our health care on the American public. I don’t know where and why this idea started. Nowhere have I seen where a politician or spokesman from Canada has pushed our system in your country, with the exception lately of trying to present the other side of this current debacle with Shona Holmes, that your media is so gleefully portraying. This post I believe started because “most” of us Canadians are apalled that the Republicans/and/or/big business drug companies would hire a Canadian to badmouth “our” health care system, to prove their own point. Not to mention the fact that of course what they are presenting as the norm here, is certainly “not the norm”. I wonder why it is that they are not willing to present any of the “failures’ in your own country. No system is perfect. In the end we don’t care what system you have, but when you continually pick at ours; that’s when you’ll hear from us. On top of that those of you who seem to always have to throw the military issue into the equation, really should get a life. It seems that when pushed into a corner – that old card trick always comes out – “well you Canadians can’t even defend yourselves”. How crass!

Comment by Lynda

You’re wrong. The American system, unlike the Canadian system is built upon the freedom of association. There are hundreds of options open to us. You have ONE option. We shop around and find the doctor WE want, the insurance WE want, the treatments WE want….you are TOLD what you can and cannot have. We have choice.

So sorry to you too! I chose my doctor at the age of 21 – simply picked up the phone and called. I don’t know where you get the idea that we have to go through “Government” to do this. I guess that idea only has to come from your media portrayal which I am afraid is sadly lacking in this respect. I am not 64 – have had this same doctor for all those years – and have had many referals by him to specialists etc. You shouldn’t believe everything your media tells you.

Comment by Lynda

Your entire life from cradle to grave is controlled by your government. You spend the majority of your life working to pay your government. Your very health is dictated by government. What tests you can have, when you can have them, when you can see the doctor, what treatments they can give you, when you can have them….ALL controlled by government. Your education is controlled by government, your income is confiscated by government, your religious freedom is controlled by government, your SPEECH is controlled by government.

WE have choices and freedoms, you are owned by the State. THAT’S the Canadian way

Elephant, I wonder where you get this crap from! In the last five years my husband has had two separate health issues. On referal from our doctor (whom we chose and have had for over 40 years) he saw 4 different specialists. Nowhere did the government play into this equation. In fact the first specialist he saw was a Haematologist – AND -he saw him in the next week after the appt with our own doctor (whom I just have to say, we chose on our own and have had 40 years – sorry to repeat myself – but it seems hard to get this point across to some of you). After seeing the next 3 specialists – they determined what the problem was and he was put on treatment. And we did not have to mortage our house to do all of this. Fast forward to two years later. Tightness in the chest, down to emerg (and not number 770 on the waiting time as portrayed on Fox TV lately- what a joke that was). He was in a bed and hooked up to monitors within half an hour. No heart attack – but concerns on cardiogram – so 2nd set of test ordered to be done 4 hours later to compare – and angiogram given 2 days later – with stent insertion, home next day. No money out of pocket. No government intervention to say “why are you doing this now, blah blah blah.” Done, finito. Yes, we pay out of our taxes. But hey, I’d rather take my chance here than there. Again I’m not here to badmouth your system, but when you badmouth mine, and present “your facts” where are nowhere near accurate – you will hear from me -with “true stories”. Sorry to burst your bubble!

Comment by Lynda

The elephants in this room have been herded into a series of falsehoods and misinformation about our brothers to the north. Canadians, as a citizenry, are far better governed, their citizens individually are far better regarded internationally, they sit on amazing resources which we will want to one day access as we hyper consume our way into the future – so we had better have more regard for their feelings and respect for them (which I happen to have). When, oh, when will Americans quit behaving like spoiled brats, believing that we’re entitled to anything and everything we desire? The Canadians NEGOTIATED better prescription drug prices – they’re not subsidized by us. If we had half a brain, our government would do the same. If we had half a brain, we wouldn’t go off foreign adventuring a-la GWB, necessitating huge defense budgets which do nothing for our citizenry but much for the military-industrial beast. They are making different choices up there, and I, for one, applaud their priorities. I am a guest commenter on your blog, but you elephants aren’t being in the least bit wise. Too bad – we need smart, pragmatic folk to lead our way forward here in the USA.

Comment by Donna

Another thing, on the radio I heard the CEO of Kaiser Permanente (who also heads an international body of healthcare providers, and has his pulse on the issue on a macro level) give the following statistic:

Avg.Cost of obstetrician (vaginal delivery):
Canada: $750
France: $1,050
USA: $1,500 – $3,500

This was the head of one of the most respected healthcare providers in the US. HE believes we need massive change in healthcare delivery.

Comment by Donna

To American Elephant
As a Canadian I am happy with my healthcare system and believe that you have the right to your own healthcare system. Your choice of healthcare system is strictly up to all Americans to decide. However, to state that Canada is riding on your back to have our healthcare system is truly offensive and a falsehood.
To your comment on our military being small and mooching from the Americans, I say shame on you. Our military (however small it maybe) has been in Afghanistan doing the work of your military while you were off on your crusade in Iraq.
We do appreciate that you are now back in the mission that your country (and our country willing assist you on) started. As for defending ourselves, I believe that Canada has had little need to defend ourselves globally.

Comment by Pat MacKay


I’m sorry you do not understand the basic laws of supply and demand, but I assure you, Americans are subsidizing your health care. When your government “negotiated” prices with the drug companies, threatening to violate the companies’ patent rights if they didn’t agree to the government’s demands — who exactly is it that you think makes up for the lost revenue?

Everyone else does. Everyone who still operates in the free market pays YOUR fare share because you used your government to extort lower prices for yourself.

It’s welfare Pat, and every single Canadian is on it.

As for your military, we appreciate the small help you were able to muster. Sending what token troops you have is the very least you can do for mooching your entire national security off of us for the past decades.

You would be completely unable to afford your massive social welfare system if you actually had to support your own national defense the way any responsible nation does. But your country doesnt want to be responsible. It wants to be socialist. So instead, you allow the United States to pay for your security so you can spend your money on socialist goodies for yourselves.

But contrary to your misperception, your military is hardly doing the work of anyone else in Afghanistan. For crying out loud, your troops had to hitch a ride with ours because you couldnt even transport your own troops there.

But far from doing our work, while Canada has but a token presence of 2,000 troops, the United States has NINETEEN TIMES that amount, or 38,000 troops in Afghanistan, with 17,000 more on the way, bringing the total US troops to almost 30 times as many as Canada.

And I thank you for making my point for me. It’s true, you DON’T go around invading other countries to protect your self interests. You can’t! You rely on US to do it. Canadians have been killed in terrorist attacks all around the world — in the World Trade Center, in Jarkata, Indonesia, Mumbai, India, etc… and Canada has been completely unable to do anything without the United States aid.

Iraq, which not long ago was just as much a threat as Iran and North Korea, is now a free democracy and ally of the United States and the West…which once again Canada gets to reap the benefits of without having to actually pay for it themselves.

Your national symbol should be the leech.

Comment by American Elephant

yes, everyone believes America needs health care reform.

The main reasons costs are higher in the US are twofold

1. Just like Americans subsidize Canadian prescription drugs, Americans in the free market also pay the difference for Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIPS, and all the other socialist programs in the United States.

There is no such thing as a free lunch!

2. Liberals often complain that the US uses 20% of the worlds energy, but are completely nonplussed by the fact that the US has 75% of the worlds trial lawyers. Lawyers who make nothing, create nothing, and whose lavish lifestyles depend on finding people to sue. They are called “ambulance chasers” for a reason!

As a result, American doctors, hospitals and all other health care providers pay the most expensive malpractice insurance in the world. The doctor pays for malpractice insurance, the nurce pays for separate malpractice insurance, the anesthesiologist, the surgeon, the radiologist, the hospital all pay for separate malpractice insurance. ALL pay more than in any other country. And they ALL pass that cost on to the consumers.

But you never hear about those costs from Democrats or their trained monkeys in the media because trial lawyers are Democrats number one campaign contributors.

But that is a good reason for tort reform, not to give more power to the people who have destroyed the system to begin with!

Comment by American Elephant

Tort reform is necessary. No question, and should be part of the negotiations. I, as a consumer of healthcare, would like to see a percentage figure on which incomes streams my healthcare dollar travels. BUT remember! Even malpractice insurance is AN INSURANCE, with profits being made by just another subset of the insurance industry – that layer of entities which make decisions with our dollars and ration healthcare. Are there any figures about the profitability of malpractice underwriting??!? If they’re still in business, they’re making nice enough money – thank you.

Coverage expense versus an actual award to a litigant whose case, if vetted through the entire legal system, has some validity. In other words, a true life consequence of true life actions – accountability. Insurance is just probabilities of future possible actions for which other businesses receive income streams. It’s more like a game. I’d rather one of my healthcare dollars go to cover pain and suffering or additional care for an actual recipient of a poor healthcare decision on the part of a provider than have that dollar go to an insurance company for providing coverage for that same provider PLUS the insurance company’s administrative overhead and performance bonuses. GET IT??! Also, while we’re on the subject of income streams – don’t cry for the pharmaceutical industry. If they receive less Canadian dollars, they have a choice to amortize their business model into longer schedules – but wait! Wall Street would frown because quarterly earnings would be poor. If Big Pharma would prefer lobbying to the tune of billions of dollars to keep their Prescription Drug Benefit – a Christmas gift from GWB, then Americans will continue to pay through the nose. Our gov’t is not “By the People, For the People”, it’s bought and paid for by the healthcare conglomerates and they like the current system FINE and DANDY, thank you. And any Republican or Democrat who continues to carry water for that nest of thieves are not thinking about their constituents. We’re the fattest, unhealthiest people amongst developed countries and it’s being delivered to us by Corporate America, consumed with reporting quarterly earnings. Continue with that amoral system, if you like. More of the same is the definition of insanity.

Comment by Donna

My parents’ healthcare is single payer – the US gov’t, because they have Tri-care. He goes to Cleveland Clinic and has choices and is happy with his insurance/healthcare. If it works for our men and women in uniform, why not the rest of us?

In case you characterize me as an America-bashing liberal, I’m an ex-Republican, registered Independent who grew up as a military brat, lived around the country and parts of Asia and Europe, small business owner who sent my kids to both private and public schools and who chooses to get my info from a variety of sources both domestic and international and from internet sources from across the spectrum. I say this because as I glance at your blogroll and bloviatelinks, I see that you MIGHT, just MIGHT be operating in somewhat of a partisan vacuum.

Comment by Donna

You two (Elephant & child) are being called out on your inability to grasp how false and hyperbolic your rant on Canada is. Spend any time whatsoever in that country, and you will NOT see nor feel anyone being “controlled by their government”. False to the point of laughability. Remember, the only wild and free “native” elephants North America ever had went extinct millenia ago. American elephants are the controlled ones. Some even perform in circuses.

Comment by Donna

You people are a laugh-riot! Something that you apologists for America’s insurance companies don’t seem to be able to grasp is what would have happened to Ms. Holmes if she had been an American citizen with American-style healthcare and the same thing happened. First of all, if she were in the US, she might well be among the 47 million that don’t have any health insurance at all. If she did have insurance and was diagnosed with a benign cyst, she may well have had to wait longer than four months for surgery if she got it at all. If she decided to jump line like she did in Canada, mortgage her house and pay for the surgery herself, she’d simply be SOL. She would have no recourse to recover those costs in America like she does and is doing in Canada. American insurance doesn’t cover elective surgery.

Furthermore, since her diagnosis was a Rathke’s Cleft Cyst, which is an “embryological remnant,” meaning that it formed before she was born, that’s what we Americans like to call a “pre-existing condition,” which would most likely have resulted in the recision of her insurance policy and she’d be left holding the bag for not only all of the costs of the surgery but for all of her future medical costs as well because at that point, she would be “uninsurable” in America.

Because she is Canadian, her health is still covered today and she may still recoup her costs. If this happened in America, she’d have no such luck, she’d have her policy rescinded for a pre-existing condition and would be REQUIRED to mortgage her home and would probably have to go through bankruptcy if she wanted the surgery at all.

Someone please tell me, how exactly would that be better than the position she is in now?

Comment by democracy_inaction

Health care is pretty good in Canada. I live in Manitoba. I’m diabetic. I have a primary care physican and recently called another to see if I could get in. No problem. My regular physican might retire in a few years. When I was diagnosed with diabetes they sent me to classes to teach me about the disease and how to take care of myself ( eating healthier, etc. ). Even gave out free recipe books. I get a full physical every year, 2 full eye exams and have never had a problem getting a doctors appointment. I waited 2 weeks for an MRI. I’ve had CT scans, EKG’s, etc. without a long wait. I’ve never had to pay for anything or fill out any paperwork. The gov’t doesn’t decide what medical care you need, the doctors do. The doctors bill the gov’t. You just give them your medical card that identifies you as a resident. The elderly get excellent care. My MIL was getting dizzy and couldn’t think straight so she was taken to the emergency last week. She got in right away. They kept her for 2 days running tests every 2 hours. It turned out she had mixed up her medications and taken too much of one. The cost was nothing. They even provide your medications free when you’re in the hospital. It doesn’t cost anything to have a baby as far as I know. Even my friend who collasped of a brain hemorage was on the operating table within an hour ( a 12 hour operation ), in a comma for 3 weeks after with round the clock care, and then had to go for rehab. So even after 3 months of care his bill was nothing. They saved his life. He was in his late 30’s when it happened. My Mother who is 79 has had 2 hip operations,caterac surgery, breast cancer and needed surgery and crones disease. All was taken care of within reasonable times. There are wait times in Canada. If it’s life threatening there are no waits but if it isn’t you wait your turn. I think my Mother had to wait 6 months for her hip surgery. All in all I feel it’s a good system.

American Elephant. You’re really misinformed about the Canadian Health Care System. Back when Tommy Douglas introduced it we didn’t have the internet but Insurance companies were advertising all over with horror stories on how we’ll all die if we adopt anything like that. It’s called fear mongering. They fear loosing some of their profits. And the canadian gov’t did not threaten to steal American drugs. It was the American drug companies that threatened Canada. They said if we didn’t pay their mafia charges for them they would cut us off and let Canadians die. Fortunately, the drug companies came to their senses and realized a 20% profit was better than nothing.
Please stop spreading lies.

Comment by Leslie

Oh, and BTW Elephant. It was the GOP and Health care Profiteers in the U.S. that brought the Canadian Health Care System into your debate. We really do not care if you wwant to ask your Grandma if she has enough money to live. Stop using us. Dopn’t use lies about Canada to prevent any Health care Reform and then accuse us of interfering.

Editor: No one has lied about your system other than the Canadian commenters defending it. They claim healthcare in Canada costs “$0”. Thats a lie. They claim the government doesnt control what care you can and cant get. Thats a lie.

And by the way, it is countries with socialized medicine that the elderly need to fear. Like Obama has stated, he wants the elderly to reconsider getting healthcare. Ezekiel Emmanuel, who Obama has put in charge of his plan, has said he doesnt think the elderly or infirmed should GET care. Their idea of healthcare for the elderly is hospice and euthanasia. Moreover, it is socialized countries where people think it is the governments job to take care of the elderly, where the elderly suffer most. France had a heatwave a few years back in which tens of thousands of elderly died, from nothing but HEAT, because socialists dont take responsibility for one another, they feign compassion while what they are really doing is schlepping their responsibility to look out for their family and neighbors off onto the government so they dont have to deal with it.

Remember, Americans are FAR more charitable than Candians both in dollars and percentages of time and income. One reason for that is because we are more religious, and the other is because we are more free.

Comment by Leslie

We have been reading about Canadian health care for 8 or 10 years in responsible publications, and reading studies from scholars at think tanks. A number of doctors who have left Canadian system write regularly about Canadian health care.

This does not necessarily have anything to do with your personal experience. You may have had only excellent care. You make silly comments about American health care–such as it was the GOP and “Health Care Profiteers” (whatever they are), that brought the Canadian system into our debate. Wrong. The Canadian system has been part of the debate here for years, as has the British system. We have had experience with government-run insurance in Massachusetts, Hawaii, Tennessee, Oregon — all failures. We have the Indian Health Service, the Veterans Administration. It is deeply complicated.

The Commonwealth Fund, which supports reform, did a study of people who have at least two chronic conditions to see what they had to say about their system. 32 percent of Canadians say only minor changes needed. 50 percent say that fundamental changes are needed.

While your individual experiences are interesting, they have nothing to do with our debate, which is based on economics, the free market, competition and careful analysis on one side and bureaucratic control on the other side.

The ‘average’ Canadian pays 42.6 percent of their income in a variety of taxes. The ‘average’ American pays 28.2 percent.

People who are healthy and only contact the health care service for minor things may have a vastly different experience that those who have a life-threatening illness.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

When it comes to personal income taxes, you pay less tax in Canada if you’re making $37,000 or less.

Editor: Interesting. People who earn that much in the US hardly pay anything. So I guess you are admitting that people who earn under 37k in Canada are wards of the state paid who dont pay their own way.

You pay more than the U.S. rate if you’re making more than that. Canada also has lower business tax rates than the U.S. Canada also includes the health care system costs in the tax rates and most tax comparisons do not take that into consideration.
Here are some sites you might want to browse.

There is no shame for the U.S. to look at other countries and how they deliver health care. Look at what works and doesn’t work and come up with a made in America solution. However, to point fingers at other countries, cherry pick the worst cases you can find, or even worse, lie about them, does nothing to advance your cause.

Please cite evidence that anyone has lied, according to both the Mayo Clinic and CNN piece posted above, the only people lying here are the Canadian commenters.

Health care costs in the U.S. ( per capita ) are higher than any other Industrialized nation and they’re out of control. Every country is struggling with this but it’s putting U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage. I don’t just represent 1 Canadian with this experience. I represent over 30 million that feel this way.

Editor: You speak for the entire nation of Canada? Well, why not? Canadians health is dictated by the government, why not their opinions too!

Our health care costs are shared.

Editor: Not really. They are paid for overwhelmingly by the wealthy.

Our companies don’t have huge health care premiums to shoulder. There isn’t a country in the world that looks at the U.S. and thinks you’re health care system works.

Editor: Actually, there isnt a country in the world with socialized healthcare, INCLUDING Canada from which people do not flee to the United States to receive better care — including those countries’ leaders!

NO ONE, on the other hand, leaves the US to get healthcare in Canada.

No one wants to copy it. It’s difficult to understand why the U.S. is so afraid of change.

Editor: For the very same reasons your ministers and other citizens come HERE — because our healthcare is better!

Comment by Leslie

Ya, we’re not going to pay her back the 100k she spent on jumping the queue to have a non-cancerous cyst removed, sorry.

Editor: The Canadian Heathcare system had NO IDEA whether it was cancerous or not. She would have had to wait months just to find out if it were cancer or not. Months that would have cost her her vision, and could have cost her her life if it had turned out to be cancer.

Also, if she was an average American, where would she find the 100k to get treatment at Mayo? Most plans would deny that in a heartbeat, especially given that it is not life-threatening.

Editor: If she were an average American, she would be covered by insurance. And no, most plans would NOT deny that. They would not be allowed to deny it. That is precisely the type of care that insurance exists to cover.

The whole story stinks, and watching people like you backtrack from your earlier comments based on assumptions and lies will be enjoyable.

Have fun eating your hat

Editor: The only people lying here are Canadians who are trying to defend using the government to force other people to pay for their healthcare.

Comment by Canadians

Actually, this was a benign cyst that a wealthy citizen spent 100,000$ to remove at the Mayo clinic – but her life was never in danger.

These lies will not be allowed to stand, thanks kindly.

Editor: Yes, Machinator, your lies will NOT be allowed to stand. The Canadian healthcare system had NO IDEA if it was cancerous or not! She would have had to wait MONTHS to even find out if it were cancer. In the meantime, it was, according to doctors, threatening her vision, and if it HAD been cancerous, it most certainly would have threatened her life.

And how pathetic that you have to justify a woman LOSING her eyesight unnecessarily to justify your socialist health system.

Comment by Machinator

Enough is enough…all these horror stories, this womans ridiculous claims. We have a system that cares for everyone, a system that may not be perfect but works, yes we pay taxes for it and for that our care is 48% the cost of those in America – I mean of course the privilegded ones that can affordit not of course the 47 million that go without. And I honestly don’t understand why everyone thinks that the care the middle class gets in the US is so great?! I remember overcrowded ER’s, insurance providers providing me with a small list of doctors I could actually see and some pencil pushing insurance guy deciding which procedures I could actually have…hmmm…I don’t get it!?
Canadian healthcare works, it works for me it works for those I love, it works for everyone.

Editor: No, it doesn’t work for everyone. Thousands upon thousands of Canadians flee your country to get care in America. Your members of parliament get their care in America for crying out loud. Thousands more who cant afford to leave Canada die waiting for care.

Ms. Holmes would have gone blind and had her growth been cancerous, would have lost precious time and possibly her life waiting for your system to treat her. As so many other Canadians do.

No one is claiming ALL Canadians are going to die or lose their eyesight waiting for care, but a great many people who would live had they been FREE have died and will continue to die in Canada because the government dictates what they can and cant have, and when they can and cant have it.

Comment by Katie

Health Care: Canada vs US

This was written by a Canadian who has been living in the United States for 17 years.

Myth: Taxes in Canada are extremely high, mostly because of national health care.

In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border. Overall, Canada’s taxes are slightly higher than those in the U.S. However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars, even beyond health care (e.g., tax credits, family allowance, cheaper higher education), so the end result is a wash. At the end of the day, the average after-tax income of Canadian workers is equal to about 82 percent of their gross pay. In the U.S., that average is 81.9 percent.

Myth: Canada’s health care system is a cumbersome bureaucracy.

The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world. More than 31 percent of every dollar spent on health care in the U.S. goes to paperwork, overhead, CEO salaries, profits, etc. The provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead. Think about it. It is not necessary to spend a huge amount of money to decide who gets care and who doesn’t when everybody is covered.

Myth: The Canadian system is significantly more expensive than that of the U.S.

Ten percent of Canada’s GDP is spent on health care for 100 percent of the population. The U.S. spends 17 percent of its GDP but 15 percent of its population has no coverage whatsoever and millions of others have inadequate coverage. In essence, the U.S. system is considerably more expensive than Canada’s. Part of the reason for this is uninsured and underinsured people in the U.S. still get sick and eventually seek care. People who cannot afford care wait until advanced stages of an illness to see a doctor and then do so through emergency rooms, which cost considerably more than primary care services.

What the American taxpayer may not realize is that such care costs about $45 billion per year, and someone has to pay it. This is why insurance premiums increase every year for insured patients while co-pays and deductibles also rise rapidly.

Myth: Canada’s government decides who gets health care and when they get it.

While HMOs and other private medical insurers in the U.S. do indeed make such decisions, the only people in Canada to do so are physicians. In Canada, the government has absolutely no say in who gets care or how they get it. Medical decisions are left entirely up to doctors, as they should be.

There are no requirements for pre-authorization whatsoever. If your family doctor says you need an MRI, you get one. In the U.S., if an insurance administrator says you are not getting an MRI, you don’t get one no matter what your doctor thinks – unless, of course, you have the money to cover the cost.

Myth: There are long waits for care, which compromise access to care.

There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists’ care, and much longer waits for elective surgery. Yes, there are those instances where a patient can wait up to a month for radiation therapy for breast cancer or prostate cancer, for example. However, the wait has nothing to do with money per se, but everything to do with the lack of radiation therapists. Despite such waits, however, it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined, according to the U.S. Cancer Statistics Working Group and the Canadian Cancer Society. Moreover, fewer Canadians (11.3 percent) than Americans (14.4 percent) admit unmet health care needs.

Myth: Canadians are paying out of pocket to come to the U.S. for medical care.

Most patients who come from Canada to the U.S. for health care are those whose costs are covered by the Canadian governments. If a Canadian goes outside of the country to get services that are deemed medically necessary, not experimental, and are not available at home for whatever reason (e.g., shortage or absence of high tech medical equipment; a longer wait for service than is medically prudent; or lack of physician expertise), the provincial government where you live fully funds your care. Those patients who do come to the U.S. for care and pay out of pocket are those who perceive their care to be more urgent than it likely is.

Myth: Canada is a socialized health care system in which the government runs hospitals and where doctors work for the government.

Princeton University health economist Uwe Reinhardt says single-payer systems are not “socialized medicine” but “social insurance” systems because doctors work in the private sector while their pay comes from a public source. Most physicians in Canada are self-employed. They are not employees of the government nor are they accountable to the government. Doctors are accountable to their patients only. More than 90 percent of physicians in Canada are paid on a fee-for-service basis. Claims are submitted to a single provincial health care plan for reimbursement, whereas in the U.S., claims are submitted to a multitude of insurance providers. Moreover, Canadian hospitals are controlled by private boards and/or regional health authorities rather than being part of or run by the government.

Myth: There aren’t enough doctors in Canada.

From a purely statistical standpoint, there are enough physicians in Canada to meet the health care needs of its people. But most doctors practice in large urban areas, leaving rural areas with bona fide shortages. This situation is no different than that being experienced in the U.S. Simply training and employing more doctors is not likely to have any significant impact on this specific problem. Whatever issues there are with having an adequate number of doctors in any one geographical area, they have nothing to do with the single-payer system.

Comment by Leslie

If Canada has enough doctors why do some Canadians need to wait a year to see a neurosurgeon? This is true, I’m Canadian, and saw the list of neurosurgeons at my GPs office (with the waiting time). At least two had a 12 month waiting time, one was six months, and I cannot remember the rest of the times, but none were immediate, so I wouldn’t want to have a possible brain tumour in Nova Scotia. You could be dead by the time the appointment date arrives. This is just the appointment to meet with the doctor and he/she chooses what tests get done. After the test are done, one goes back to their specialist. The doctor can then decide on a surgery date. Obviously, it does not take a rocket scientist to determine that this is not a very efficient system. Scary if you ask me.

Comment by Anne

This is how some Montreal women are being treated. Would these women have been treated with such a lack of compassion in the US or would they received better care?

Montreal woman left alone during miscarriage at hospital
Husband helped her deliver dead fetus

More miscarriage horror stories

Comment by Anne

Check all the European countries, middle-east countries, Cuba, and even Taiwan have very good health care. My Family members had heart surgery, cataract and glaucoma surgery, medical exams, mammograms all free. Wait times are not bad at all. We pay in our taxes and each and every one is covered. Why is it 40 million US citizens are without health care? The politicians are in the pocket of the large medical insurance companies. Why does the so-called richest country not have it? ASK, really ask, your politicians and you will get all sort of lies about other countries care. Don’t believe them my friends. Shona Holmes panicked as she had a benign tumour. If it had been more serious, she could have had surgery in a couple of days. US Insurance etc. are spending millions to attack other countries’ systems. Do not believe them!

Comment by Edna K

If Shona could get surgery in a couple of days as has been reported – had her condition been labeled more serious condition, why did one man in Ontario face a year long wait to have his skull repaired?

Comment by Anne

Let’s get our facts straight, Canadians. Shona Holmes had an MRI in Canada. She was told that she had a brain tumor.

She was having constant debilitating headaches, and was losing her sight. She was told that she would have a six month wait for surgery. She had pretty much lost her sight in one eye, and was losing it in another. It is quite understandable that she went to the U.S. for treatment. She had another MRI at Mayo, and they diagnosed a cyst that, although benign, was causing her to go blind. She returned to Canada with the new diagnosis, and her doctor refused to even look at the Mayo diagnosis. She opted to return to Mayo to save her sight.

Why are you Canadians so defensive? We’re not trying to piggyback on your healthcare system. You get your drugs at reduced prices, and we pay for it. If Canada can’t provide what you need, you can hop across the border. We are debating our own health care system, and we don’t like or want yours. Is that so offensive?

Edna, Cuba has good health care only for tourists who can pay. Ordinary Cubans are out of luck — dirty hospitals, substandard care. The United States has the best health care in the world. We do not have 45.7 million uninsured. A big chunk are eligible for other programs but have never signed up. A huge percentage can afford health insurance, but choose not to buy it, and another big chunk are young healthy people who don’t think they need any. Leaves about 10 million who may need some help.

Our politicians are not in the pocket of the large medical insurance companies, or they wouldn’t be trying to eliminate the insurance companies.

Everything that is wrong with our health care system has been caused by government actions. That most people get their health insurance through their employers started with FDR. Politicians cannot stop meddling. If your government gives you “free” insurance (and it is not free) they can also take it away. The Massachusetts Plan was supposed to be a model for national health care in the US. It is failing, after just 3 years. They have just dropped 30,000 legal immigrants from the plan to try to save money. Doctors have left Massachusetts in droves, just as they have left Canada. There are far better answers, but they involve things like the free market and competition, anathema to Democrats who are economically illiterate.

If you like your Canadian plan, fine, keep it. I hope that your government doesn’t have to start dropping people, or refusing care to the elderly or the disabled. The plan they are trying to stick us with does. If anyone is going to ration my care, I’d prefer to do my own rationing, not leave it up to some bureaucrat in Washington.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Actually, Shona Holmes has known since 1998 that she had a benign cyst. That’s when it was first found. She was born with it. Since it was benign and wasn’t doing anything, they were keeping an eye on it. When she started experiencing the vision problems she went back to see the doctor. They were various treatment options available to her. Including steriods to bring it down. She was told that an operation to drain it would have “up to a 3 month” wait. She has already admitted it wasn’t 6 months. She hadn’t lost most of her vision. And it wasn’t permanent. Any vision she had lost would be restored after the operation. She decided she didn’t want to wait and cancelled her appointments. She has filed a lawsuit against the Ontario Gov’t to get her 97,000 back. She filed a lawsuit against the gov’t a few years back as well. She now doesn’t want to give any interviews. More details will come out in court.

Comment by Leslie

Actually, American elephant, if you take into account low birth weights to try to gauge the differences in infant mortality, it’s even worse for the US. I actually did a study of this and it skews it further to Canada’s favor and not to its disfavor.

Comment by Lawrence

Sorry Lawrence, The United States ALREADY includes those babies with low birth weight. Canada and other countries do not.

If you make Canada and other countries count all the low birthweight babies as living things, then the United States does far better.

Comment by American Elephant

The truth about Canadian healtcare:

Comment by American Elephant

Elephants one and all….the only thing that is free in the good ole USA nowadays is the ability to be without any insurance at all!

Thanks to Bush running our entire country, our rights and our constitution into the ground…. we’re screwed!

Thanks Elephants one and all.

Shona…. another fear-mongering Fix News (Fox) concoction.

Mannnn you guys need to have your tv’s taken away from you.

Editor: Pamela, we don’t get our news from TV. People like you do, which is why you are so misinformed.

And by the way, freedom does not mean that you get things for free. Freedom means that you are not controlled by the government or others.

A great many people, including the entire nation of Canada, are happy to give up their freedom in order to get things for “free”. You appear to be one of them. How pitiful.

Comment by Ala Clax

This certainly has been an interesting discussion with the elephant herd following proper herd mentality – mouthing the usual myths and cliches about Canadian health care, followed by a range of comments from people with experience in both countries – the majority of Canadians expressing satisfaction with our health system and a few who are not so happy (most of whom seem to be from Nova Scotia). There are also those (Americans)whose collective mind has been made up, with regard to what they think is going on in Canada, and who obviously do not wish to be confused with facts. People make heavy emotional investments in their prejudices and will consequently defend them with vigour! Just a few final remarks to elephant and child: the founder of the Canadian health care system was, indeed, Tommy Douglas of Saskatchewan – a remarkable man who, despite his small stature was nicknamed “the Prairie Giant”. In my 62 years, I have never heard of the person you attributed the founding Canadian health care to – and you don’t even know which province he came from! Your writing fairly shrieks – in bold print- that “hundreds of thousands of Canadians” flee our oppressive system for the haven of US medical care. Hmmm, according to an article from the Canadian National Population Health Survey (NPHS),
“Only 90 of 18,000 respondents to the 1996 Canadian NPHS indicated that they had received care in the United States during the previous twelve months, and only twenty had indicated that they had gone to the United States expressly for the purpose of getting that care.” According to a 2008 census our population is 33,212,696. I’m not sure how far your math skills will carry you, but the “hundreds of thousands” you are so shrill about only exist in your McCarthyesque imagination. I have read that During the ’88 primary, your Sen. Paul Tsongas claimed if he’d been a Canadian when his cancer appeared he would have been dead by then. It turned out that his treatment had actually been pioneered in Canada – but there’s an old saying that Americans have never let reality get in the way of a good anecdote. This seems to be particularly the case when we’re on the subject of health care.
You love your health care – fine! But please stop telling lies about us.

Comment by Linda

American Elephant
Direction to The truth about Canadian healthcare:
And Comments are a bunch of BS:
Because some idiot runs around and shows how he thinks our system does not work some people believe this.
This is a BS report. If it were worth reporting you would see it on CNN and MSNBC. For sure you would see allot more of this BS on Fox News.
The ABC Report is based on comments from a Canadian that Doctors that now work in the US and an inept reporting team.
Note: they are not a news group; their reporting is to stir opinions and attempt to gain profit share based on viewing audience.
Most Canadians have family doctors. We use the hospitals for emergencies, not just to see if we can talk to a doctor.
If we need emergency health care, it is there for all Canadians at no extra cost.
If we need to see a doctor, once you have one established as your doctor appointments are readily available.
If we go to our Doctor it is at no extra cost.
If we go to our hospitals it is at no extra cost.
We do not allow the rich or well off to buy their way around the less fortunate or poor.
They have the option of paying the extremely high fees in the US and without losing their health care or having rates increased in Canada.
Also NOTE: SHONA HOLMES WARNS US ABOUT CANADIAN-STYLE HEALTH CARE False report has been pulled from the main networks

Most Canadians have family doctors. We use the hospitals for emergencies, not just to see if we can talk to a doctor.

If we need emegency health care, it is there for us. If we need to see a doctor, once you have one astablished as your doctor appointments are readily avalioble.

Comment by Scott MacKay

Of course Americans do not come here for health care! They can’t—for it’s not being sold, and they don’t have the insurance. But Canadians residing in the U.S.A are careful to retain their Canadian health insurance, so that they can come to get it when they need it.

Another point, no one likes dealing with insurance companies, be it for car insurance, home insurance or whatever. We Canadians are so fortunate that we don’t have to deal with greedy insurance companies for essential health care. And our doctors are better off, too; they can focus on the job of healing, rather than worrying about what is or is not covered.

Comment by Linda

Oh, and by the way, I would like to address one other piece of elephantine hyperbole that keeps popping up – to wit: that not one single American goes into Canada to seek medical treatment. Actually, they do, but it is not very easy to calculate numbers. You see, ANY resident is entitled to medical treatment, so it often involves periods of residency and setting up dual addresses; however, people have gone to the trouble of doing this, presumably out of desperation and the fact that it is actually cheaper than trying to get their conditions treated in the “land of the free” (yeah, right!) Some people have taken other measures, for example: Ontario (a neighbor of Michigan) has had to re-issue O.H.I.P. cards (medical insurance cards) because there were so many phoney cards being used by Michigan residents. You can’t use the Canadian health system without a card.
There’s a whole lot that ordinary stats. don’t tell you!

Comment by Linda

American Elephant disparages Canadian efforts in Afghanistan, saying that Canadian troops are not pulling their weight, and saying that the U.S. has10 times the number of troops that Canada has.

It is to be expected that the U.S. would have 10 times more troops—the population is 10 times greater than that of Canada. Besides, many Canadians do not see this as our war. We are not so fraught with fear. Some of us suspect that the war against terror is a cover for other geopolitical issues related to American interests. As for “pulling our weight”, proportionally we have done more. Canadian casualties are proportionally higher than those of the U.S. That’s because Canadians have been doing much of the heavy lifting in the most dangerous part, Kandahar.

So, even while making a considerable sacrifice in Afghanistan, we also manage to provide health care to 100% of the population.

Comment by Linda

I am not the same “Linda” as the one who addressed the “elephantine hyperbole” that no American ever seeks health care in Canada. But I agree with her fully. She makes an excellent point, that some Americans would quite likely use our system, if they could get their hands on an OHIP card. My OHIP card does not have photo ID, but all of the new cards do. The U.S. now requires passports, for fear of terrorists from Canada. We now have photo ID health cards, to keep out American health care “refugees”.

Comment by Linda

I am the other Linda, and agree completely with Linda’s comments. Just as an additional piece of info – not all the provincial health cards require photos (Alberta Health cards don’t have them). So if folk like Shona Holmes represent “a tip without an iceberg” (see report I’m not sure what we could call the U.S. healthcare refugees who have a keen interest in not being counted at all.

Comment by Linda

Sorry, Linda, Linda and Linda, You’re ALL wrong.

Studies show Americans are more satisfied with their own health care than Canadians:

Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians. When asked about their own health care instead of the “health care system,” more than half of Americans (51.3 percent) are very satisfied with their health care services, compared to only 41.5 percent of Canadians; a lower proportion of Americans are dissatisfied (6.8 percent) than Canadians (8.5 percent).[read more]

In addition, lower income Americas are in better health than their Canadian counterparts, survival rates are better in the US, Americans have better access to treatment, Canadians have to wait FAR longer for everything, Americans have better access. AND we are responsible for most of the medical innovations that you, as Canadians, are lucky if you even get to wait in line to use — many of which you simply dont get because your government deems them too expensive.

Now I know your whole national identity is wrapped up in this notion that “at least we have ‘free’ health care” but its not free, your healthcare is likely paid for by wealthier people, and rationed out to you by the government like a parent to a child, deciding what you can and cannot have. You are dependent children. Your healthcare is controlled, rationed, and almost entirely out of your hands.

No wonder Americans are so much more satisfied with our own care.

Comment by American Elephant

American Elephant says, “Your healthcare is controlled, rationed, and almost entirely out of
your hands.” In Canada, we are never denied healthcare because of “pre-existing conditions”. Essentially, when an HMO in the U.S. uses various ploys to avoid paying, such as the excuse of pre-existing conditions, that is healthcare denied. Talk about control!

Comment by Linda

I can add to that. I have worked in diagnostics, scheduling various tests, including MRIs, sonograms, bone densitometries, colonoscopies etc. I can assure you that people who are in immediate need do NOT wait “months and months”, as the elephant herd likes to believe. In fact, the whole system is set up with emergency spots ready for those who need their tests immediately so they can have a procedure done asap. The only time the patient is directed to a particular hospital is when he/she needs the earliest emergency spot. Even then, there may be some choices available. In non-emergency situations, patients can decide which hospital to enter for treatment, without worrying about whether this particular hospital is attached to a particular insurance plan (unlike the good old “you-know-where”!) The horror stories of long waiting lists are also only partly true. If a procedure or test is scheduled some months down the line (which NEVER happens in an immediately life-threatening situation), the patient is put on a waiting list, and rarely has to wait for the full time originally scheduled. They are more likely to get in a lot earlier (I know, because, to repeat, I am one of the people who has worked in scheduling.) The wait times in emergency can be trying, but this is because patients are triaged and served on a basis of need (not necessarily first come first served). In the case of the woman in Quebec who miscarried in a waiting room, this was clearly poor triage work. (Of course, there are no incompetents in your country and the story of the woman who collapsed and died in a Brooklyn hospital, ignored by staff last year is merely a mirage.) As a final note, six months ago my husband (originally from another country) complained of chest pains, dizziness and nausea. I phoned a service called “healthlink”, which is free to anybody (including foreigners), and described my husbands symptoms. The health professional, after asking me a few questions immediately connected me with 911, who asked a few more questions, gave me some brief instructions, and arrived within 15 minutes (it may actually have been less). My husband and I were asked which hospital we preferred, then packed off into the ambulance accordingly. After several hours of hospitalization, testing and generally great treatment, my husband was released with a prescription and much relief that his problem was not a heart condition after all, but something easily treatable. When he asked me how much it was all going to cost us, I was happy to answer, “Nothing” – or, if you elephants would prefer “already paid”. (since you make such a deal out of the fact that we use our taxes for this!) Tell me I’m wrong, if you like, but this is my experience. I live here and I work in the health care system – how about you? As for expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction – this can often mean just the opposite of what you think. If you don’t believe me, try walking around a city in North Korea and asking people if they are satisfied with their government.

Comment by Linda

Read this it is more to the point

Comment by Scott MacKay

In Canada, we are never denied healthcare because of “pre-existing conditions”

No, you are denied health care because of cost. From drugs, to diagnostics, treatments, and surgeries. There are cancer fighting drugs available to Americans that extend life by years, and you cant get them in Canada, because your government says no. So you die instead.

But your premise is entirely wrong as well. Insurance companies can only deny something as a pre-existing condition for 6 months in my state, and there are similar laws in most states (one of the reasons insurance is expensive to begin with!). And this only effects people who dont have insurance of any kind. If you already have insurance, and switch to another policy, your coverage is continuous and the new insurance company cannot start a new “pre-existing condition” phase. Once you are covered, you stay covered. And since we already pay for insurance for the poor, the only people who get denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition, are irresponsible people who can afford insurance but don’t until they find they have a problem.

Should responsible Americans pay more to cover people who can afford their own health insurance (the poor are already covered and people making over 300% above poverty), but would rather spend their money on beer and iphones and bars? Hardly.

Essentially, when an HMO in the U.S. uses various ploys to avoid paying, such as the excuse of pre-existing conditions, that is healthcare denied.

Wrong! When an HMO denies someone citing a pre-existing condition, what that means is that the person didnt have healthcare, and only decided to get it because they found they were sick. The HMO can only deny them coverage for a short period of time — less than what many Candaians wait on a routine basis. Thats not control, thats basic economics. If HMO’s have to cover pre-existing conditions from day one, then why would anyone buy insurance to begin with? people would all keep their money and wait til they got sick, then go get insurance to pay for care, then quit paying when they got better. Which would be even worse than YOUR system in which your government tells providers how much they can make and patients how much care they can have which is why you have no providers, have enormous waits, and dont have the choices we do, and why your survival rates for things like cancer are so much lower than ours.

Talk about control!

There is no control there whatsoever. An HMO is a business. If I dont like the services they offer, I can go to numerous other HMO’s and find a better deal. I can pay out of pocket, and forgo health insurance altogether as MILLIONS of Americans do because they dont want to deal with insurance.(yet they are dishonestly counted among those “without coverage”). As the consumer in a competitive market, I am in control.

Canadians, on the other hand, cant go ANYWHERE but to another country. Namely here. and have NO choices other than what the government allows them. In Canada ALL your choices are made for you, what treatments you can and cant have, when you can have them, how urgent your case is. Many Canadians have to travel to another province just to get a scan or see a specialist.

You are controlled at every turn.

And that is why, as the studies above show, Americans are much happier with their own care than Canadians are.

Comment by American Elephant

Say, Elephant Man, have you taken a moment to check out the link Scott provided?

Comment by Linda

American Elephant claims that American survival rates for cancer are much lower than those of Canada. Studies I have seen show that cancer survival rates in Canada are quite close to those in the U.S. Canadians have greater life expectancy and lower infant mortality. And our healthcare costs are lower by a third.

Comment by Linda

As well it has been stated that the US is more innovated that the Canadian system.
I have seen reports about the cardiac breakthrough technology and the diabetes technologies out of Canada.
Not to mention the development in Canada of the medicines that are sold at such outrageous costs in the US.
It is shocking that some people can believe the propaganda that big business wants them to believe.

Comment by Scott MacKay

Wow. So many liars here. And I am talking about those in favor of the Canadian health care system. The claims that tyhey can get treatment when they want, what they want, how they want, etc. There is one poster who claims that he has never had to wait for treatment in Canada. Thats a lie. NO ONE in Canada gets treatment without waiting….and long waits at that.

Comment by CRD

It is time the BS stops about the Canadian health system.
Canadians have the right to health care under law.
I do not know of and do have personal knowledge that if you have a life threatening illness you do not wait.
The US groups that are pushing to stop the Obamma health bill are not telling you the truth.
Canadians cannot be cut off health care in Canada.
Canadians do not go into debt for health services that are needed.

Comment by Scott MacKay


I have recieved treatment several times without any wait.

Comment by Les

So have I.

Comment by Linda

I have too and it was done at no additional cost to me.

Comment by Scott MacKay

Is Health Care a commodity to profited from or is it a basic human right?

Comment by Joe

Is health care a basic human right? Is food to eat a basic human right? Is a home, shelter, a basic human right? These are things you want, not things that are guaranteed to you.

If there is no profit, there is no health care. Did you think all those doctors and nurses work for free? That hospitals are built for free? That the medical schools are built and teach for free? That all the MRIs and CTscan machines are free as are their operators? Ambulance, stretchers, miraculous pharmaceuticals–all free. It is all free, and just appears by magic because you have a basic human right, is that it? Is that how the world works?

People in comments above insist that they have a right to free health care in Canada, that they cannot be cut off, yet in BC, they plan to cut more than 6,000 surgeries. Budget shortfall. When you turn over the control of your health care to the government, the government decides what you can have. It may be what you like, until they decide to cut it off.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

If something is a “want” then it is a choice. I didn’t realize that eating was a choice. No, I do not believe that Health Care is free. I cannot see how a nation of 300M can have about 1/6 of it’s population without Health Care. I think you have explained it though; I
WANT my elective surgery now and I shouldn’t have to wait because some poor slob who makes only $25K per year needs heart surgery.

Comment by Joe

Are you unaware of the governments who have starved their citizens as a matter of policy? Stalin’s Russia starved the Kulaks by the millions to death in the Ukraine. Mao starved more millions to death in “the Great Leap Forward.” Pol Pot starved people to death, and Africa is rife with examples. If you choose not to provide for yourself, or are unable to provide for yourself; then you must put your faith in your government, or in private charities. You may have a bargain with your government that it will provide, but there are many examples of government choosing not to provide, or, because funds are short, deciding not to. This is where the oft quoted “those who do not know history…” comes in.

Your math is off. We have approximately 12 million uninsured, not the “47 million” often claimed. That includes people who are qualified for other programs, illegal immigrants,people who can afford insurance, and young healthy adults who don’t want any. The number who cannot afford insurance is around 10-12 million. Everybody gets health care here.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Re:american elephant, July 25/09

I find it interesting that the most ignorant comments about Canada are made by people who probably couldn’t find Canada on a map.
We’ll start with Shona Holmes – I didn’t realize that she received free treatment in the states – I was under the impression she paid over $90,000.00, which, by the way, she has subsequently filed a lawsuit against OHIP (Ontario Health Insurance Plan) to recover her costs!
As far as Canadians being told which doctors we can see, or hospitals we can go to, that is a complete lie. I understand, however, your HMO has to approve YOUR doctors and hospitals,and your coverage can be denied if you have a pre-existing condition, or am I once again mistaken? We, as Canadians, consider health care a fundamental right – how can you call yourself a “free society” if you don’t even have that basic human right?? As far as our “inferior” quality of care is concerned (posted by someone else), lets review the truth. According to the WHO overall health service performance (191 countries were listed), the US was ranked as #37 (Slovenia was #38 and Cuba #39). Interestingly, Canada was #30 (US was ranked below Costa Rica, #36). Of course, France made the list as #1.

Moving on to your ridiculous statement that we are controlled by the state, blah, blah, blah, I am curious to know what assistance from the Police or Fire Department costs? Do you have to have your payment ready before they provide assistance, or do they collect after? What about the cost of having your mail delivered to your house? What is the monthly cost to have your children in Public School? Oh, that’s right, those services are controlled by the state? Isn’t that Socialism at it’s best?? Apparently, the US is not the “Great Capitalist Machine” we were all led to believe!!?

That being said, I don’t want to appear to be a “hater” (after all, insulting an entire group of people shows true ignorance and a complete lack of class). I know that the average American is a decent, hardworking person, who only wants the best for themselves and their loved ones. Perhaps looking outside our own little world can provide an insight to what could (or couldn’t) work for them.

Comment by True North

I don’t believe that we have insulted any Canadians. All the Canadians I know are very nice people. Do not confuse the fact that we do not want to duplicate your health care system here, with our attitude towards the Canadian people. We like you fine. We just don’t like your health care system. Your top Canadian doctors have said that your health care system is failing. Your officials have said that you need change. We read about wait times, trouble in finding a doctor, lack of diagnostic machines, but then we read about things going wrong in this country in the British papers.

Let’s start with Shona Holmes. When she took her problem of constant headaches and failing sight to her Canadian doctor, she was given a CT scan and told she had a brain tumor that was causing her to lose her sight. She was afraid, with some justification, that she was going to die before she waited the months before she could get treatment in Canada. She went to the Mayo Clinic for a second diagnosis. After another scan, she was told that it was a benign tumor, but that if it was not removed soon, she would probably go blind. She returned to Canada with the new scan, and her doctor refused to even look at it. Afraid of going blind, she went back to Mayo for the surgery. That’s the story as I have been told.

We believe that health care is a “good.” It is not a “right” any more than food or shelter or a job are a “right”. They are things you have to pay for, or depend on the charity of others. You pay for your healthcare, you just pay through your taxes.

You have a vast misunderstanding of American health care. We have problems in the system, largely because most people get their healthcare through their employer, something instituted in the Roosevelt Administration. The employer gets a tax cut for giving health insurance to their employees, but employees really pay for it in wages lower than they would normally be. There are some HMOs (Group Health, Kaiser) where one has to work through a primary physician, but most people have other insurance.
“Pre-existing” conditions means that you can’t wait until you get pregnant or until you need a heart bypass to sign up for insurance. If you are in normal health when you first get insurance, and need a bypass later, it is covered. Insurance is a contract. Administration propaganda about people getting dropped, going bankrupt, all that is simply propaganda by politicians who are trying to force government controlled medicine on us.

The WHOs “rating of health care doesn’t mean much. The US is rated way down because we do not have government controlled health care. America counts every baby born alive as a baby born alive. No other country does. If it is below a certain birth weight, it does not go into the statistics as a live birth. The weights differ in different countries. In Britain there was just an outcry because there was no attempt to save a baby born a week before the cut-off date. France may be rated number 1, but it was just a few years ago that they killed off thousands of their old people because their doctors were all off on vacation during a heat wave. And I saw in the last few days that their system is in financial trouble.

We have a very large country and we drive a lot, so our highway death statistics are high. Because we are big, we have more homicides. When you correct the statistics for all that, we rank very high. Our outcomes for most cancers and most diseases are the best. People from all over the world come here for treatment. Anyone can go to the emergency room and receive treatment, including operations and recovery. If you can pay, you are billed.

We have, according to Obama’s latest figures, 30 million uninsured. Most of those are healthy young people who simply do not want to buy insurance, though it isn’t terrible expensive for healthy young adults. Many, perhaps a third are people who are fully entitled to be covered with an existing government plan, and there are maybe 9 million who are uninsured and cannot afford insurance. That is a problem that needs to be solved.

We need to have individuals responsible for choosing their own insurance, and making responsible decisions because they know how much things cost and can make their own choices. I worked with a fellow who ran off the the doctor every time he got a cold. Had he understood that we don’t have a cure for the common cold, and that the doctor can’t do anything for him, he wouldn’t have been driving up the cost of everyone’s health care. We need tort reform. We need the insurance market opened up so that there is more choice. But our health care system is not in crisis, it is not broken. Those ideas are sheer propaganda. Our Medicare system is close to being in crisis, and nothing in any bill before Congress does anything about it except to take $500 billion out of Doctor and Hospital reimbursement.

Maybe your government has money of its own. Ours doesn’t. It has only money that it extracts from taxpayers. Congress and the administration seem to have the illusion that it is all government money, free for them to spend. We pay for our firemen and policemen through our taxes to the city. Our mail is delivered by the Post Office which is run by the federal government and it is broke and has asked for a $4 billion bailout. Our schools are paid for through property taxes. We have way too much socialism here now, and we don’t like it.

Why you Canadians get so huffy because we don’t want your health care system is beyond me. We don’t want the British, French or anyone else’s. We are Americans and we prize our liberty and independence. You like your system, and you are welcome to it.

Comment by The Elephant's Child

Re: Elephant childs comment “I don’t believe we have insulted any Canadians” – I recently read a post by American elephant, dated July 27, 2009 at 5:38pm :Your military is hardly doing the work of anyone else in Afghanistan”. My brother was one of those usless Canadian soldiers you seem to take issue with, unfortunately, he was killed by a roadside bomb several months ago. I remenber the day he told me he was planning on joining the military. What I find ironic is his reasons; you see, when the attacks on September 11 took place, he was too young to join. He would talk about the innocent people who lost their lives that day, and how the we, as friends and neighbours of the US, could not sit back and allow this crime to remain unpunished. He felt so strongly about this, he paid the ultimate price.
When I read American elephants comments, I was absolutely disgusted – I wonder Am eleph. why in God’s name YOU aren’t wearing combat boots and carrying a gun in Afghanistan, or are you a coward?
As far as your stats are concerned, 38,000 American troops vs 2800 Canadian troops (not 2000 – get your facts straight!) did you even consider the fact that the population of the US is 307,791,000 compared to the population of Canada at 33,791,000 ? What about the 131 Canadian soldiers killed to date compared to the 597 US soldiers? It seems to me Canada HAS contributed quite a lot to your war! I sincerely hope that the court of public opinion with your fellow Americans is quite different, otherwise he, like so many of our Canadian boys and girls are laying down their lives for those who don’t deserve it.

Comment by True North

True North,

I’m sorry, you are a liar. You have lied about what I said, while simultaneously invoking transparently phony victimhood and regurgitating the most tired liberal arguments there are.

I never said Canadian troops were useless, nor have I taken issue with Canadian troops. Indeed, I thanked them. I have taken issue with your socialist nation mooching your national security off of us, which you continue to do, because you don’t have enough money to pay for it all. So we pay for it instead.

The number of troops your mooching socialist country contributes, or I should say, doesn’t contribute, is no reflection whatsoever on your troops, its a reflection on your greedy socialist civilian population — unwilling to do without nanny state entitlements in order to uphold your primary responsibilities. I’m sure if it were left up to the troops, Canada would be pulling its own weight. But it is not up to them, and you are not pulling your own weight.

All of which is absolutely correct. None of which you have refuted.

The United states is 10 times the size of Canada, yet we have 30 times as many troops in Afghanistan as you, while we simulatenously are securing the nation of Iraq with absolutely zero help from Canada. Yet Canadians are more than happy to benefit from the Iraqi oil that now flows to the world market. Typical socialist mooches. Not to mention that Canada has already committed itself to cutting and running from Afghanistan next year, no matter what the situation on the ground is, leaving America to pick up Canada’s slack. As usual.

Please don’t bore me with your lies and transparent, cliche, dishonest liberal debating tactics. I have seen them all before. And I don’t believe your cliche claims for a second — by lying about my comments you have thoroughly discredited your own.

Comment by American Elephant

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