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Diane Francis

Diane Francis

Posted May 11, 2009 | 10:04 PM (EST)

Republican Lies About Canada's Superior Health Care


Just who is this jerk, Rick Scott who bankrolls the propaganda-mongering Conservatives for Patients' Rights? He and his group are fabricating negatives about Canada's health care system and I resent this. I am an American who has lived in Canada for more than 35 years. I can vouch that the system is more than adequate and is not run by civil servants but by doctors who are able to treat everyone, rich or poor.

Mr. Scott, and other conservatives (code for rich) are against universal health care without any justification whatsoever. Their criticisms are in accurate and should not be broadcast.
Where are the ethics in network broadcasting? I saw one of Scott's ads on CNN recently and wondered why the same curation of content was not imposed on CNN advertising messages as is upheld editorially. If CNN is unwilling to vet content, then where is the FCC?
Here are the facts as to why Canada's medical system, far from perfect, is dramatically better than America's:

1. Canadian and European systems are on average 10% of GDP while in 2007 the U.S. cost was 16.2% even though tens of millions were not covered. These escalating costs represent America's biggest competitive disadvantage going forward.

2. Canada's health care system which fully looks after 32 million people costs roughly what the private-sector health insurance companies make in profits in the United States looking after less than half the population for excessive premiums.

3. America's health care system is even more uncompetitive if litigation costs and awards for medical bills are added. One estimate is that this adds another 3% to the 16.2% GDP costs of the American-style health care. In Canada and Europe, medical costs are borne by taxpayers as a whole so there are no court costs and awards necessary.

4. Canada's and Europe's health care systems enhances economic productivity. Workers diagnosed with illnesses can still change employers and be employable because they are not rejected by employers with health benefits due to pre-conditions.

5. Infant mortality is much lower in Canada and Europe than in the U.S.

6. Outcomes with major illnesses, such as cancer and heart disease, are better than in the United States.

7. Longevity is better in Canada and Europe than in the U.S.

8. No emergency is neglected in Canada.

9. Some elective procedures may take longer if compared to blue-ribbon U.S. health care but that's no comparing apples with apples. More appropriately, the overall population's care should be compared and there are tens of millions of Americans who are uninsured or uninsurable.

10. No one in Canada goes broke because of medical bills whereas ARP estimates half of personal bankruptcies are due to unpaid, high medical bills. More Americans go bust or lose their homes due to medical costs than the sub-prime problem.

11. Canadians are able to choose their own physicians and to seek multiple opinions.

12. Canadian doctors and nurses are better trained than American counterparts and U.S. physicians must study for at least a year in order to qualify to practice in Canada.

13. Drugs made and invented in the United States are cheaper in Canada, Europe and Japan because our communal health care means volume discounts and savings passed along to society. Americans are overpaying.

14. Americans are being cheated by a patchwork quilt system where the highest risk people -- veterans, the indigent and elderly -- are insured by governments but the "gravy" or young, healthy people are handed over to private insurance companies.

Is Canada's system perfect? Or Europe's? No and nobody said it was. Networks should stop allowing propagandists to tell lies and any arguments about other countries' practices should be ignored as totally irrelevant.

The United States is a rich and talented nation and it's very upsetting to me, as an American, that it does not have the world's best medical care for its citizens instead of one of the worst.
Americans deserve better.