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August 13, 2007

Rosy Picture of Canadian Health Care Obscures the Truth


“For, as we all know, our neighbors to the north are facing a terrible crisis. A crisis of – gasp! – universal health care, which brings with it such horrors as a longer lifespan than Americans enjoy, and the comfort of knowing that if you are diagnosed with cancer or need emergency medical attention, you will not spend the rest of your life wading in debt. No, we must hold on tight to our American ideals, lest we experience the fate of Canadians!” (Children’s Health Insurance Bill a Far Cry from Socialist Medicine by Jessica Vozel, August 6, 2007. A fellow opinion writer with North Star Writers Group.)


Now Jessica! Since you are going to be liberal and sound liberal, at least try to avoid some of the more typically liberal tendencies. Over generalizations, inconclusiveness, factual omissions and sarcastic sincerity are all the usual suspects.


I will admit that at times we are all guilty of these opinionated infractions, but I could not resist this opportunity to highlight some basic differences of perspective between liberals and conservatives. Although I do not like either of us being labeled liberal or conservative, respectively, due to label abuse by the media and politicians, that’s a debate for another day.


First, we do not all know that our neighbors to the north are facing a terrible health care crisis, because too many liberal-minded people continue to try and paint a rosy picture of the Canadian system. The most prominent example is lead liberal Michael Moore’s movie “Sicko”, which has been busted for inaccuracies and misrepresentations by dozens of writers and reputable organizations.


The typical response by Moore and his defenders has been to just ignore the analysis and critique, such as that by David Gratzer of the National Post dated July 6, 2007. In his article, he refutes Mr. Moore’s claim that emergency rooms in Canada do not get overcrowded. Specifically, a Canadian government study determined that only half of ER patients are treated in a timely manner, and Toronto patients receive care in four hours on average. Maybe it depends on one’s definition of overcrowded.


Second, there is absolutely no statistical correlation between average life span and type of health care system. All reputable economists and medical professionals will tell you that life span is determined by too many indeterminable factors. Even though many medical studies have shown that certain factors impact life span more than others – such as smoking, eating habits and exercise – the type of government-controlled health care system has never been identified as a sure bet factor.


Here again, when good liberals find something that sounds good to the uninformed they grab it and spread it like wildfire.


In Canada you may not spend the rest of your life in debt if you are diagnosed with cancer or need emergency medical care, but you might spend the rest of your life in the ER or waiting for a doctor’s appointment.


Thirdly, we must indeed hold onto our American ideals, lest we experience the fate of Canadians. These ideals include the freedom to choose our own doctors, the incentives for doctors to choose to become doctors so we will not experience doctor shortages as in some areas of Canada, and the ideal that a bureaucrat should not decide which illnesses get treated first, second or third because of the rationing of medical resources by the government.


Yes, our health care system has a “leak in the roof”, but we do not need to blow up the building to fix it. And although I might concede that the proposed children’s health insurance bill (SCHIP) is a far cry from socialist medicine, it is on the same track as Medicare and Medicaid. When they collide, it will be a disaster.


As long as we have choices, liberals will tell us that the government can make our choices for us better than we can for ourselves – for the common good, or the good of the children.

When we have no choices left, that’s the ideal disaster for socialist medicine.


© 2007 North Star Writers Group. May not be republished without permission.


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