"Debunking Canadian health care myths"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

One of the favorite bogeymen of those opposed to health care reform is that - gasp, horror, ZOMG! - we might become like that nightmare known as "Canada!" How many ads have you seen raising the dire prospect of "Canadian-style health care," including supposed long waits for care, nasty bureaucracy, etc? A lot, I bet. Well, guess what (surprise surprise): it's all bulls****. Check this out.

*"In actuality, taxes are nearly equal on both sides of the border...However, Canadians are afforded many benefits for their tax dollars."

*"The U.S. has the most bureaucratic health care system in the world...[while t]he provincial single-payer system in Canada operates with just a 1 percent overhead."

*"Ten percent of Canada's GDP is spent on health care for 100 percent of the population. The U.S. spends 17 percent of its GDP but 15 percent of its population has no coverage whatsoever and millions of others have inadequate coverage. In essence, the U.S. system is considerably more expensive than Canada's."

*"While HMOs and other private medical insurers in the U.S. do indeed make such decisions, the only people in Canada to do so are physicians. In Canada, the government has absolutely no say in who gets care or how they get it. Medical decisions are left entirely up to doctors, as they should be."

*"There are no waits for urgent or primary care in Canada. There are reasonable waits for most specialists' care...[and] it is noteworthy that Canada boasts lower incident and mortality rates than the U.S. for all cancers combined."

*"Most physicians in Canada are self-employed. They are not employees of the government nor are they accountable to the government. Doctors are accountable to their patients only."

On and on it goes, myth after myth - mainly perpetuated by the health care industry, Big Pharma, the HMO's, and their (mainly Republican) political allies - shown to be complete lies. The bottom line is this: next time you see an ad or hear a (probably Republican) politicians trying to scare you about "Canadian-style health care," simply take the complete opposite of what they're saying and you'll undoubtedly be much closer to the truth.