Comedy Central wild man Lewis Black had his audience roaring on The Daily Show this week, mocking the far right's renewed attacks on Canadian health care. It was indeed hilarious.
But some Canadian politicians, Canada's press, and my Canadian friends are not amused by the tsunami of media effluent coming from GOP professional know-nothings -- the predictable attacks, distortions, and outright lies about Canada's popular, government-run health system.
It's a helluva way to speak of the best neighbor our country could possibly hope to have. But do these self-proclaimed patriots of the pit-bull right care? Not likely, eh?
On his always-funny "Back in Black" segment this week, the volcanic comic joked that he was in favor of President Obama's health-care plan until he heard "incredibly convincing arguments like these..."
The first clip was of ferret-faced Texas GOP Congressman Louie "Gomer" Gohmert, who drawled,
"Ah know enough about Canadian health care, and it's a bureaucratic, socialistic piece of crap. One in five have to die because they went to socialized medicine."
Black, veins bulging as usual, exploded: "Well, ah've got bad news for you -- five out of five will die anyway."
Then Black showcased GOP Senate leader Mitch "McChinless" McConnell with his touching story this week on Meet The Press about a "friend of a friend" who'd lost someone to the jackbooted Canadian health bureaucrats.
Black seethed: "Your health-care anecdote is about a friend of a friend? That doesn't even qualify as an urban legend!"
Meanwhile, Canadians are watching all the ridiculous right-wing ads on U.S. TV attacking their first-rate system with more than a bit of displeasure.
My blog here in mid-June about fellow Americans like myself who've lived in Canada liking the Canadian health system drew a huge response -- most of it from disgusted Canadians tired of U.S. right-wingers' lies and who defended their single-payer system. They've largely been left out of the current U.S. debate, save a handful of highly questionable Canuck complainers in U.S. TV attack ads.
This week, Canada's largest newspaper, The Toronto Star, ran a piece about Canadian politicians like MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis asking the government in Ottawa to officially denounce anti-Canada "propaganda" and smear ads now befouling U.S. airwaves. And one major party's leader in Canada, the NDP's Jack Layton, is planning a truth-telling mission to the U.S. Much as MSNBC's "Big Ed" Schultz is planning the same kind of fact-finding mission to Toronto -- that is, if he can persuade a single Republican Senator to come along.
Tom Campbell, former Ontario health and economic minister, has a piece in the Toronto Star this week headlined, "U.S. Has Much to Learn From Our Health Care." He notes:
Canada spends more than a third less per capita on health than the United States and still covers everyone, whereas the U.S. system leaves 46 million people without insurance.
"Since our health statistics are markedly better, average Americans would be healthier and live longer if they lived in Canada. Here, doctors do not have to waste time seeking insurance approvals. Medical need is the only requirement and pre-existing conditions don't matter."
But the system's not perfect, Campbell says. But, he adds, Canadians are so happy with it that:
"Our main obstacle to reform is the very success of the system to date. Politicians admit privately that reforms are needed but they hesitate to speak out. This does not make for thoughtful debate."
Thoughtful debate -- by politicians?
Not exactly something we expect down here in the U.S. Especially not from Senator McChinless and his GOP pals, and all the other weasels and liars on the far right.
Hey, this is only a matter of life and death, right?
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