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September 25, 2009


When I was quite young and working my first human resources job, I learned about Canada's universal coverage while administering, of all things, a company scholarship program. The company I worked for was international with divisions all over the world, including Canada. I was stunned. As far as I knew, the only way to get free health care in the States was to be born into a federally recognized Native American tribe (which I was; probably the only reason I knew).

There is some truth to that article. The mentality of many of the people in this part of the country tends toward "I'll take care of mine, you take care of yours". Beth, sometimes it is unbelievable the things I hear come out of people's mouths, some of them my own friends and relatives.

What I would bet most Canadians don't understand is the fact that insurance here does not guarantee care nor payment. My husband recently underwent testing to determine what was causing a particular problem. It took a couple of months and about $20,000 to find out that the doctors were performing the wrong tests. My husband's symptoms were such that about three expensive tests were performed just to rule out something that was a peripheral possibility. That is what big insurance companies and the fear of malpractice suits does to our broken system.

I don't understand how any American can possibly be fighting to keep the status quo.

I don't understand the US system, though Zuleme posted an interesting article about it
I gather that people pay several thousand dollars a year to private insurers and that they often fail to cover the basic health-care needs of their customers
And that many people can't afford any health cover at all...

In England I once paid £4000 in one year to the NHS
So it isn't so cheap here really, not if one earns a good salary
But the point is that all of the money goes into the health system
Not to a private insurance company
And whilst we may not always receive the latest, most expensive cancer drugs (which is an dispute one should take up with the companies who manufacture the drugs)...
And sometimes have to wait to see a consultant on the NHS...
If we ever find ourselves facing a serious illness, one that's life threatening, then we know that the entire cost will be covered by our system
And if that illness should be cancer the wheels of the health-care conveyor belt move very fast indeed to get one treated

I think, having experienced both the UK and the French system at first hand, up close and very personal, recently, then I'd advise opting for a similar systen in the USA

I'm old-fashioned
I believe that education, transport, basic amentities like gas and electricity and, of course, health-care should be in the hands of the State of which we are the citizens
and not left to the whims of private, profiteering companies

Isn't that the way of a civilised society?

It certainly seems that way to me, too, Mouse. Thanks f or both fo these perspectives. Kaycie, I know you're right about some Americans saying those things, I've heard them from people close to me too, I just don't think it's any more fair for a Canadian journalist to generalize about Americans than it is for us to do that about other nationalities, and, as Mouse points out, there are a lot of misconceptions too. When we were self-employed in the U.S., my husband and I paid almost $10,000 per year for our health insurance, with a $1,000 deductible for each of us, and of course there are co-payments of 15% or 20%, or more, for many tests and treatments even after the deductible is met, and many exclusions. Civilized societies, in my opinion, make the basic needs of their citizens a top priority and don't, for instance, start and maintain longterm wars that cost trillions of dollars in the name of "national security." Losing one's home, losing one's job, or not being able to pay for treatment for an illness even when working fulltime, is certainly not "security."

absolutely right Beth!
How many operations could have been performed on the proceeds of the war in Iraq?

I wonder if Brown will divert the billions we, the British taxpayers contribute, that he will save if he does scrap one of our nuclear subs into the NHS?
Probably not if the bankers still want to pay themselves large bonuses

I think, in fact, that the polls show that the majority of Americans want a public option insurance. A recent study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that 73% of all doctors favor a public option. This was uniform in all specialties and all regions. Doctors have dealt with Medicare and find that it has faults; but the faults are not as bad as dealing with private insurance companies.

The opponents of health care reform are vocal, and the press, which in the United States is heavily weighted to the right, mostly reports what the opponents are up to. This makes it appear that Americans are opposed to health care reform. They are not. Most of us want comprehensive reform.

Sigh. What's basically wrong with the US system, I think, is that it's become so complex that all attempts at fixing it make it worse. This is a recognized part of the process of building software: at a certain point the complexity of an old program becomes such that there's no way to fix it without breaking something else. At that point you need to start from scratch and do the whole thing over.

Nobody understands American health care anymore. I'm not really in favor of health care "reform." We've reached the point where we simply need to start over.

Decisions based on a bunker mentality/fear are probably rarely well thought through. I would think that this mindset would be bad for many reasons.

How will good, long term solutions to any of major problems facing us will come from fear/stress/adrenaline combination?
To me it seems like a recipe for disaster.

There are two important reasons for the absolute mess the U.S. Health care is in. And that's not counting the financial industry, global warming, loss of homes and of course jobs.

1. Corporate money in Congress.......Sen Bacus the head of the Financial committe has received nearly $4,000,000 from the insurance industry, medical and pharma. Where else is he going but down their road. These lobbies have spend $1.5 million a day to stop this bill. Plain and simple they are brought off.

2. Why are Americans confused? The inability of Americans to think critically......which is not taught in most schools. Our colleges are tade schools there to teach how to do a certain job needed by industry. But good God don't teach them to think....or better yet think critically.

Today I was reading Plato's Apology and ran across this quote in the introduction where it discussed why Socrates was sentenced to death......"This seems harmless enough, but Socrates endeavoured to lead men to righteousness by making them think, and thinking, is not welcomed by the slothful or the conservative." He died and we are nearing death as a country because of combination of corporate money in govenment and the inability of the American people to think critically.

I would like to add an example to the above post giving a report on a news story holding fort for the past few days on TV.
The government has reported that studies have show that if people drive and text message at the same time it's as bad as drunk driving. I spoke of critical thinking and the lack of its use in the U.S. This one take the cake. To deal with this problem the govemnment is creating a summit to study this matter. And anyone with one-half a brain, I would bet, could tell you in a split second that text messageing and driving a car don't work. But in the U.S. we have to have a summit to check this out.
We have had a very large number of accidents caused by this act, in one five girls who just graduated from high school were going on a vacation trip and the driver was texing her boyfriend on a two lane highway at night, crossed the lane and killed all five. In Utah a young man was going to work in the morning and was texting his girlfriend and crossed lanes and killed two engineers going to work leaving each with a wife and family. He received 6 months in jail. He is now going around the country telling people this is a stupid idea. This is what I mean about critical thinking. Or lack thereof. I'm betting when the Congress receives a bill to stop his insane act it will most likely vote it down. Why? Because AT&T and Verison will begin the flow of dollars to Congress and continue the corporate control of the government. The telecoms just can't lose the money.
The U.S. can no long govern for the people. This is just a small story of how it works if its healthcare, the financial mess, global warming what ever, money talks but most painfully it's all that's listened too.

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Who was Cassandra?

  • In the Iliad, she is described as the loveliest of the daughters of Priam (King of Troy), and gifted with prophecy. The god Apollo loved her, but she spurned him. As a punishment, he decreed that no one would ever believe her. So when she told her fellow Trojans that the Greeks were hiding inside the wooden horse...well, you know what happened.