I don't know about my fellow Canadians, but I've found a great deal of the rhetoric coming from the United States regarding President Obama's health care reform to be incredibly cringe-worthy. The conservatives and anti-Obama crusaders don't seem to understand our health care model in the least.
Here's one of the many ads currently running on American television urging Americans to "say no to government run health care".
That ad makes me nauseous. It's so full of bullshit, I don't know where to start. As a Canadian, I've been served by our "socialist" health care system all of my life. I assure my American readers, we choose our own doctors. Our doctors recommend appropriate treatments and care based on their expert medical opinion.
When my right leg wouldn't let me run more than 4km, I was immediately able to see a top sports doctor, I had an MRI, a bone scan and x-rays, and that same sports doc was able to review video from an MRI I had in 2003 after tearing my ACL as well as x-rays from the early 80s when I broke my leg. My life wasn't in danger, I just had leg pain, but I still received top notch care with very little wait. Did I mention all of the above was covered by OHIP, our provincial health plan that every Ontarian receives, regardless of age, employment status or income?
I recently wrote about my trip to the hospital with a scratched eye. I was in and out in 35 minutes. When anyone in my family has needed more serious treatment, it's been dealt with appropriately and immediately. There is no government layer between us and our doctor.
The amount of misinformation I see spewing from the conservative right goes far beyond ads. Bill O'Reilly from The O'Reilly Factor on FOX News recently fielded a rather timely question from a Canadian. "Has anyone noted that life expectancy in Canada under our health system is higher than the USA?" O'Reilly's response is ridiculous. See for yourself below.
My fear is that viewers will accept O'Reilly's fuzzy math, just as they'll accept Sarah Palin's "Death Panel" comments and the fear mongering that's existed in America since Ronald Reagan spoke out against socialized medicine back in 1961.
I stumbled upon the following image while clicking links earlier this morning, and it seems to illustrate the key difference between the American left and right these days. My only objection, as I observe from north of the border, is that the term "conservatards" isn't fair to the mentally challenged. But, the point is valid.
Canada's system may not be perfect, but when compared to the United States we live longer, our infant mortality rate is lower, our per capita expenditure on health care is lower and our % of government revenue spent on health care is lower. Those, my American friends, are facts.