What I am about to say will come across to many as a shock, and many may even think me un-Canadian for saying what I am about to say. So be it. This is not meant to be a carefully drawn out paper on the merits and demerits of socialized health care. They are simply my reasons, to be taken as they are. Please, if you have comments on this, please post them on the blog :).
I am going to start with a particular argument, which I will admit upfront is even partially emotional. My sister was recently hired to be a personal assistant for an actress who’s TV show has just been picked up by CBS. The show is to be filmed in New York, so my sister will need a work visa as well as medical insurance for the US. For a three year term of medical insurance, she had to pay $1900. My parents, when paying their premiums to the government (and not including the money for health care taken from our taxes as well) pay the same amount each over the three year period. Now, I am not sure, but it seems that the average cost for health care insurance in the states seems to be more than what my sister is paying. Yet I know, for example, my mom would still prefer to pay that than the monthly premiums and the increased taxes in order to get good treatment.
I say this because, after 2 years of required referrals, crappy doctors, tests, tests, and more tests, my mom was FINALLY recommended for an MRI for her leg. The MRI revealed immediately that she had something torn there and requires surgery (which, by the way, she has to wait 30 years for). If she was in the US, she would have had an MRI right away, would not have to go through this extensive and painful referral process, and would have had her leg fixed two years ago.
Furthermore, this is not the first time my mom is going in for surgery. She is going in for her 30th she tells me. I have grown up around a mom who has had to go through a lot of pain and suffering in life. She knows the Canadian Health Care system inside and out, and she has been left wanting. She knows, first, that she would have to have had about half the surgeries she’s had if she was in the US because many times the doctors didn’t do the right thing. She would not have to go to all these different doctors over and over again, requiring referrals, etc. In short, she would receive better treatment and would not have had to have had as many treatments as she has had to have here.
I must also say that I think that the socialized system is contrary to the principle of subsidiaridy: a principle which is essential in proper government intervention in our lives. I won’t, however, go into that here.
I just simply want to say that I don’t believe health care in Canada is as good as many people make it out to be. Often, I find, people who make the arguments for socialized health care are those who do not need to use it very much, but like the idea of having something to fall back on in case they need it. They figure they are helping those who need to use it often without actually getting the data from their experiences. But when you speak to people like my mom, you realize that socialized health care is not so much a blessing, but a burden in the healing process.
I wish to briefly address one thing: people say that if we don’t have socialized health care, then those who can’t afford it have no access to it. You will find that in the US, there is a LOT of free treatment given by both the companies that run the systems as well as people who generously donate to ensure that people get the treatment they deserve. Is it perfect in the US? No, but neither is it perfect here in Canada. This is why I am even willing to say that a two-tier system, like in the UK, is perhaps a nice compromise.