This is just a comment I dumped into a great diary yesterday at dKos, by Karen Wehrstein, setting the record straight on Canadian healthcare, that grew into what really really is near diary proportions.I tweaked it a bit and and brought it here:
I lived in Canada for about 28 years.
I can't begin to list how much better everything is in Canada compared to the health care disaster we all suffer from south of the border. Cradle to grave, there is never any question about whether they will do everything they can to treat you in a reasonable amount of time.
I could walk in to my primary care physician any time he was open. If it was his golf day or something like his vacation time? I would go a couple of blocks down the street to another doctor. I chose those doctors based on my level of comfort with them.
My primary would even do house calls (probably still does?) if you or your kid were too sick to make it in.
If you had something so severe as to need more than what your typical primary could provide? Walk into the emergency room (or take the ambulance - they don't ask if you have insurance first because that would be inhumane). It is my understanding that they now have CLSCs in Quebec to cover the less severe emergencies like breaks, sprains, stitches, etc., that might just need the basics or to use when your primary caregivers office might be closed. This alleviates pressure on emergency rooms at hospitals so they can concentrate more on the serious emergencies.
My father was diagnosed with cancer not too long ago and given about six months to live.
He was treated by the best medical staff he could find for his specific problems. He also had a good backup for second opinions. He chose them based on how he wanted and needed to be treated based on consultations with many caregivers. He lived 3 more years after that original dead end diagnosis and died in his 70s.
No healthcare or treatment is perfect but had he lived in the USA he very likely would have been uninsured because of previously existing health conditions. In the USA he wouldn't have even had that "six months" diagnosis.
And never, not even once, did he have to make any healthcare decisions based on whether or not he could afford the treatment. He decided (as do all Canadians) in conjunction with and on the advice of his doctors. There was no insurance company in between them to turn him down.
The American system is as cruel to the poor and those that really need the medical help as it is profitable to the insurance companies.
Those are just some of the things I can say about the Canadian system.
Americans, in surveys, appear to be "more satisfied" with their healthcare providers than Canadians do. Maybe you don't understand this, being that you have had a crappy healthcare system all of your life...
That is because Canadians expect a lot more from their healthcare system than Americans do.
Never mind that the polls I have seen always point to satisfaction with providers BUT rarely address the cost and the mode of payment directly. Why? Because the few times we hear the voice of the people on this, for the most part, they say they hate their medical insurance companies.
My primary doctor in the US is great. He supports Single Payer. Most of the hospital people I have dealt with are great at their jobs, too. I always ask them and they support single payer by a large margin. My children have a great pediatrician and, yes, he supports single payer as well. Nothing to complain about the actual service providers. That side is pretty much equal to the Canadian providers. Some are better and some are worse, but competent and caring nonetheless. They want to give you the best service possible. And, for the most part, the majority of those providers want to give you single payer.
I am among the few that has half decent insurance. For how long, who knows? In this economy corporations are stripping workers of higher quality insurance for less costly junk plans. Our family's plan was changed to add higher co-pays and more restrictions on usage AGAIN, this year. And that is if these cash strapped corporations and small businesses aren't laying people off people all together so they have no insurance at all. If our family lost our source of health insurance we know that our budget would eliminate any possibility of keeping coverage regardless of government's provision of the costly Cobra plans. On unemployment, we would struggling to keep a roof over our heads and the kids fed. Regardless of that, I expect more from my healthcare AND I expect it to cost a hell of a lot less. But that is because I have seen and lived with a better healthcare system than the one we have here.
"Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee, is organizing healthcare reform house parties to support President Obama's health reform plan on June 6th.
It's likely the Obama administration is using these parties as cheer leading sessions for their plan. So we're asking that you--single-payer supporters--attend or host a party near you. You can find parties, or set up one, at www.barackobama.com.
According to Organizing for America, "This moment is so critical that President Obama will join registered hosts and attendees on a live conference call next week."
This is a perfect opportunity to meet others interested in healthcare reform, but are not yet part of the movement for single-payer healthcare. There's also the possibility that you'll be selected to participate in a conference call with the President.
A great list of resources as tips for organizing a party can be found in our House Party Packet. This was intended for showing a film, but can be used for this purpose as well.
Again, visit www.barackobama.com for more information."
This is the best way to move President Obama in the correct direction. Participate directly in and take control of the movement to ensure that there is real change.