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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Socialized Medicine is a Lick-It-And-Stick-It Label

Socialized medicine is such a lick-it-and-stick-it label.  It reminds me of a travel bag I had with stickers from Vienna Austria plastered all over it.  I'd been passed down the alligator trunk bag from a good friend.  I've never seen Austria.  The labels are meaningless after the first impression.  They did manage to start a conversation or two for me while I traveled around.

I've been told that debunking the junk put out on health care is a waste of time.  People do not want to know the truth.  Personally I don't buy into that idea wholesale.  Americans tend to be fixated on getting their news and facts through entertainment channels or soundbites for a myriad of reasons.  Word of mouth carries quickly in social circles and some of the more isolated states whose Senators somehow got Magic Proportion Power over our health care still trade heavily on social capital.   So I keep fighting the battle.

In the meantime it looks like the local fish-wrap, the Greeley Tribune, has a bit of a problem covering all sides of the issue.  I've heard tales of people who have written past editorials for the paper having their pro health care reform editorials gutted and placed in the Letter to the Editor section.  Gutted so that the Tribune represented at best a distorted version of the editorial argument and at worst the opinion and information the paper wants the local public to be indoctrinated with.  Social engineering in Greeley Colorado?  Please say it isn't so.

I'm posting in part an article below written by a Canadian insurance executive which a friend also from Canada, who owns one of those glide-and-slide-get-healthy Canadian health cards, forwarded to me.  It is worth a click on the link to read the whole article and to be armed with facts closer to a real knowledge source than Fox News. | Opinion | A puzzled Canadian ponders surreal U.S. health-care debate
If asked to single out an aspect of Canadian society superior to that of our American neighbours, most Canadians would cite first our health-care system. What I also might have mentioned were aspects of the American health-care debate that Canadians find puzzling, if not downright perverse. These include:

* The use of wildly misleading references to wait times in Canada even though 47 million Americans have no health insurance and, therefore, are forced to line up for treatment in hospital emergency rooms, to say nothing of the thousands who queue in parking lots across the U.S. to receive free treatment periodically provided by "Remote Area Medical" volunteers.
* U.S. opinion polls that show 77 per cent of Americans are generally satisfied with their health care when so many millions of their fellow citizens are uninsured and many millions more under-insured; when three-quarters of the families filing for illness-related bankruptcy actually have health insurance; and when insurance premiums have grown three times faster than wages between 2000 and 2008.
* The negative representation of Canadians' experience with "socialized medicine." That portrayal is at odds with reality. For example: 85 per cent of Canadians have their own primary care physician and 92 per cent would recommend that doctor to a relative or friend; 95 per cent of Canadians with chronic conditions have a regular place of care; of those requiring ongoing medical care most were able to see a doctor within seven days.
* The widespread use of an exceptional and misleading Canadian case. It involves a television commercial featuring an Ontario woman, who (American viewers are told) had to go to the U.S. to have a life-threatening brain tumour removed in order to save her life. Why? Because of a six-month wait time in Canada for treatment. The patient has since admitted to a three-month wait time involving a diagnosed benign Rathkes cleft cyst, the removal of which at a Mayo Clinic in Arizona cost her $97,000 that she is now seeking to recover from the province where its removal would have cost her nothing.
* The fact that a huge contributor to the rapidly rising cost of U.S. health care is the central involvement of insurance companies. They add significant cost due to both administrative complication and inefficiency as well as the pursuit of profit. Canada constructed a health-care "insurance" system from which insurance companies were excluded in favour of single-payer, state-financed insurance. Thoughtful Americans understand that insurance companies are needed for an efficient, patient-oriented health-care system as much as a fish needs a bicycle. Minimizing the payment of health claims by insurance companies is, for executives interested in their compensation and their careers, what the companies' role in health care is all about.

Comments :

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