George, I know you strive to be fair and balanced though your basic worldview is conservative. As a Canadian who “suffers” under our single-payer system, I would ask a very simple, very important question: having lived under a single-payer system for almost fifty years now, could you persuade a majority of Canadians to give it up, and let a “market-based” system prevail? Do you think most of us believe that will drive down health care costs and give us more “freedom”?
Most Canadians I know can’t even believe that there is a debate on this issue in the U.S. We are all mightily impressed that America believes it’s system is better and everyone else is wrong even though Americans seem to know nothing about any system but the one that is failing them now. It’s possible that everyone else is wrong. Sometimes everyone else is wrong. It’s also possible that the sun orbits the flat earth.
Anybody can find a few Canadians who don’t like our system, and few horror stories of delayed care and inept management. No reasonable person can deny, however, that the U.S. system costs astronomically more to administer, and that almost all Canadians receive basic health care without the slightest impediment, and that the actual results in Canada are better than in the U.S.
Furthermore, I have no idea of where you would find any proof that Canadians do not have a choice of doctors or hospitals or treatments.
True– we can’t choose to opt out. But Americans can’t really opt out either. They can’t!— an American without insurance will still receive treatment at any nearby hospital. Who pays for it? Everyone, through taxes and astronomical charges for treatment for the insured.
Isn’t that the basic principle of insurance? Any of us could suffer a serious illness or injury. Why not agree to contribute to a plan that covers everyone? Especially since we all know that those who “opt out” will still receive medical care one way or the other, but certainly less efficiently.
Finally– this is one gripe I do have about conservatives in general: I think they are far more likely than liberals to persist in believing something long after it has become overwhelmingly clear that the results show they are wrong. Example: McCain actually stated at one time that Obama’s idea of talking to Castro was ridiculous because, with his long experience, he knows that it wouldn’t work. Excuse me! Exactly how many more years must the embargo continue before it “works”? That is absurd. Why not just admit that the embargo has failed and try something new? Liberals, who have a mind-set that entertains alternative realities, are by nature more inclined to consider other possibilities. McCain would still be in Viet Nam. McCain will be in Iraq for 100 years (a joke really– the oil won’t last that long and then we will go back to indifference to human oppression). And McCain will continue to believe that through some miracle, health care costs can be reduced by letting it “compete in a free market”, as if dying of cancer is a commodity that could be sold to a hedge fund.
For the record, I’m not sure the Canadian system couldn’t stand a few modifications, and I am very interested in Obama’s hybrid ideas. Not sure about them– but– as a liberal– I can consider the possibility that different points of view have something to contribute to our ultimate success on any issue. Hey George, why not be the first reasonable conservative to admit that, as a family values kind of guy, you would like to see all of the nation’s children covered, and it clearly– the results show!– isn’t happening under your free market system.
Bill Van Dyk