Friday, July 24, 2009

HealthCare It’s Personal

As a Canadian, I know that whenever I get sick finances are something I do not have to worry about.  As I listened to the story of this woman I could not help but feel sorrow.  To have to declare bankruptcy because she could not cover her medical bills is terrible but from what I understand this is not at all rare.

I have watched the lies told by various interest groups regarding the Canadian health care system incredulously.   They talk about Canadians entering the US for medical treatment, without pointing out that it is paid for by OUR government.  In the case of weight loss surgery for instance, in some provinces the waiting list can be any were from 6 months to two years, however; if a doctor states that it is a risk to a persons health to enforce a waiting period, the patient is treated in the US and it is paid for by the government.  There are many people in Ontario who have had weight loss surgery in Detroit for just that reason.

Much of the attention seems to be focused on wait times however if you are unable to pay for the surgery or are declined by your insurance company, are you not still waiting for medical care?  The bottom line is that as long as medical care is commodified, only those that exist with class privilege will get good reliable care. 

Many health problems that could easily have been handled, are allowed to escalate into more serious conditions because people cannot afford to see a doctor.  Prevention is the cheapest form of health care and it seems that many Americans have yet to figure that part out.  If a country as poor as Cuba can afford socialized medicine, there is no reason that the US cannot.  Think about the fact that there are 6 patients to every 1 doctor in Cuba, wouldn’t you love that ratio.

There is truth to the claim that Canadian doctors are emigrating to the US, however; many return and those that stay are not living in impoverished areas.  I find it laughable that talking heads are constructing Canadian doctors as poor.  They certainly don’t make the same kind of money as their American counterparts, however they work shorter hours and spend less time on the phone arguing with insurance companies.  It is a case of pick your poison.  There will always be those that chose money over quality of life but then isn’t that what capitalism teaches as the appropriate decision?

I don’t have a stake in this debate.  I will continue seeing my doctors and specialists as need be. I am confident that not only am I receiving good care but that my doctors are not making decisions about what is best for me based on cost.   All life is precious and to reduce it too a monetary figure is absolutely disgusting.