I enjoyed the comments of the lady from Canada, Heather DeGrandpre, and I would like to assure her that I am not without knowledge of national health care systems, having lived in both the UK and Germany. And yes, I am blessed with great health care, which is, however, quite costly and doesn’t cover some 40 plus million of my fellow Americans.
But enough of the anecdotes, here are some facts that we all should understand:
1. A U.S. citizen can go almost anywhere in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and several other countries and receive inexpensive health care, which is why thousands of US citizens annually avail themselves of high-quality surgery at low cost that can be found in those countries.
2. 91% of Canadians, polled by Canadian Television (CTV) felt the Canadian system was superior to the US system of health care.
3. A Gallup poll indicated that both the UK and Canadian citizens were more satisfied with their systems than the US system.
4. There are 40 million uninsured in the US.
5. The US ranks 1st in the world in the cost of health care per person (incidentally, McAllen TX is one of the most expensive places in the US to get sick).
6. The US ranks 50th in the world in life expectancy, and 35th among UN countries (Canada ranks 8th). All nations with health care programs are ranked higher than the US.
7. The US ranks 33 in the world in infant mortality rates, and 23 among UN countries, while Canada is well above that.
8. By a 2 to 1 margin, polling indicates that US physicians favor a national health care program for the US.
So while there is no question that fault can be found with health care in Canada, the fact is that all of the nations currently enjoying such a system are ranked much higher than the US in overall health, and much lower in health care costs.
The insurance industry has reportedly been spending 1.5 million dollars a day to kill the current effort to provide affordable health care to all US citizens. We are not talking about socialized medicine, but simply a program to bring the insurance companies down to a reasonable profit level, eliminate non coverage for those with pre existing conditions, and provide insurance to those who presently can’t afford it.
If Ms DeGrandpre, or her spouse, lost their jobs tomorrow, they would have health insurance in Canada, while here in the US, those who lose their jobs are generally out of luck.
We need to quit telling ourselves that we have the greatest health care system in the world, and do something about making that statement true. That is what the present administration is trying to do.
Neil C Swann