Lies about Canadian health care in US debate refuted … again

Sep 21st, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief
Town hall health care reform meeting in Alhambra, California last month — part of the environment in which wild fears of “Canadian bogeyman” have spread  (Associated Press).

Town hall health care reform meeting in Alhambra, California last month — part of the environment in which wild fears of “Canadian bogeyman” have spread (Associated Press).

President Obama is busy this week with an international agenda (Middle East, UN General Assembly, and G20 in Pittsburgh). But the linchpin in the current US domestic debate — health care reform — goes on and on and on.

At least the online readers of the Globe and Mail in Canada still rate the president’s chances of health care success high enough. Almost two-thirds of respondents in an online poll are still answering Yes to the question “Will Barack Obama succeed in having a health-care bill passed?”

Meanwhile, Bloomberg.com  — a site operated by Bloomberg LP, which is 88% owned by New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (also ranked last year as the “eighth-richest American” by Forbes magazine) — is doing its best to add some sanity about Canada to the ongoing US health care debate, with an article called “Canadian Health Care, Even With Queues, Bests US.”

Here are a few fresh items from this source that both Canadians and Americans ought to find interesting:

* According to “research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development [OECD] and other independent studies published during the past five years … delays do occur for non-emergency procedures” but “Canada’s system of universal health coverage provides care as good as in the US, at a cost 47% less for each person.”

* “Canadians live two to three years longer than Americans and are as likely to survive heart attacks, childhood leukemia, and breast and cervical cancer.”

* “Deaths considered preventable through health care are less frequent in Canada than in the US, according to a January 2008 report in the journal Health Affairs. In the study by British researchers, Canada placed sixth among 19 countries surveyed, with 77 deaths for every 100,000 people. That compared with the last-place finish of the US, with 110 deaths.”

* “The Canadian mortality rate from asthma is one quarter of the US’s, and the infant mortality rate is 34% lower, OECD data show. People in Canada are also 21% more apt to survive five years after a liver transplant.”

Some American do want “single payer” health care,  like the systems operated by Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. But it seems their voices are getting drowned out — by what exactly? (“Follow the money” is probably the answer?) [Reuters].

Some American do want “single payer” health care, like the systems operated by Canada’s 10 provinces and three territories. But it seems their voices are getting drowned out — by what exactly? (“Follow the money” is probably the answer?) Reuters.

Generally, according to Donald Berwick, a Harvard University health-policy specialist and pediatrician who heads the Boston-based nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Improvement: “There is an image of Canadians flooding across the border to get care … That’s just not the case. The public in Canada is far more satisfied with the system than they are in the US and health care is at least as good, with much more contained costs.”

Yet Uwe Reinhardt, a health-care economist at Princeton University, believes that “the Canadian ‘bogeyman’ … may have ‘all but defeated’ the idea of a public option” in the United States — the closest approximation to Canada’s current system (and to the current American publicly funded Medicare and Medicaid programs).

President Obama’s health care crusade is not over yet, of course. Hope springs eternal in the human breast, etc, etc.

And, in any case, the cthonic great spirit of the northern wilderness has its own reasons to be pleased. Whatever else, the lies about Canadian health care in the US debate today do make a lot of Canadians happy that they do not actually live in the United States — as hard as that may be (understandably in some ways, no doubt) for many Americans to believe!

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Roger, Todays Politics, Counterweights , Greg Hand others. Greg H said: RT @todayspolitics Lies about Canadian health care in US debate refuted ? again #politics http://bit.ly/19qadn […]

  2. ~DON’T WORRY BE HAPPY~

    **WEALTH~CARE FOR ALL THESE HEAVILY INVESTED INTERNATIONAL AND AMERICAN BILLIONAIRES IN OUR CURRENT HEALTH FOR THE WEALTHY ONLY CARE SYSTEM WILL NOT END ANYTIME SOON.IT WILL ONLY BE RE~ARRANGED TO MAKE SURE ALL THESE MEGA CAPITALISTS PROSPER IN JUST ANOTHER FASHION ~

    * THE FINE ART OF DENYING 45 MILLION AMERICANS HEALTH~CARE IN OUR JUDEO~CHRISTIAN NATION IS NOT RACIST AT ALL… IT’S JUST OUR BEHIND THE SCENE WEALTHY ELITE CITIZENS USING THEIR TREMENDOUS WEALTH TO DIRECTLY INFLUENCE OUR U.S. CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES IN KEEPING ALL THE little poor folk down *

    AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS ALL ACROSS THE USA HAVE ALWAYS BEEN ABLE TO COUNT ON THEIR RELIGIOUS FLOCK TO CONTRIBUTE(TITHE)THEIR HARD EARNED MONIES TO THEIR MINISTRIES EVERY WEEK.

    THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ATTENDING RELIGIOUS SERVICES IN THE U.S. ARE MIDDLE~CLASS AND WORKING POOR CITIZENS WHO NOW DESPERATELY NEED THE HELP AND SUPPORT FROM THESE SAME U.S.RELIGIOUS LEADERS IN LOBBYING THE U.S.CONGRESS TO PROVIDE PROPER HEALTH~CARE FOR ALL POORER AMERICANS.

    ***THERE ARE CURRENTLY AN ESTIMASTED 45 MILLION MEN WOMAN AND CHILDREN WITHOUT HEALTH~CARE IN THE WEALTHIEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD????

    SILENT AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS WHO ALL HAVE HEALTH~CARE FOR THEMSELVES AND THEIR FAMILIES IS MUCH MORE FRIGHTENING THEN THE POSSIBLE DENIAL OF A FUTURE HEALTH~CARE PLAN FOR ALL…

    LAWYERS FOR POOR AMERICANS
    (424-247-2013)

  3. All they have are scare tactics, misinformation, and direct lies. That’s why they’re using emotion, they have no facts to base a rational argument upon.

  4. Thanks for all the smug remarks about Canada’s health care system — oh, as for the statistics, figures never lie but liars figure!

    I am 52 and live in Canada. My doctor detected a lump on my prostate December 4, 2008. It took until March 27, 2009 after waiting to see a urologist and having a biopsy to determine that the lump was cancerous (almost 4 months). I was then put on a waiting list for surgury for approximately September 2009 — which was then extended to December 2009.

    Give me a break. This is cancer we are talkiing about. For those who know about the prostate cancer grading system, the cancer was graded as Gleason 7 so it wasn’t to be messed with.

    I used to have the naive believe that Canada has a good health care system — until this personal experience. I have come to the conclusion that our system is great until you are sick, but since the majority of voters don’t have a life threatening or critical disease they are complacent.

    I stopped the wait and went to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and had my surgery in July. The surgery was performed using robotic surgery which is barely available in Canada but the Mayo Clinic has been using it since 2002. All is now well; the cancer is gone and the recovery was uneventful and I suffer none of the side effects that are common from this surgery. My provincial government (Saskathewan) won’t pay a dime — but of course this is the province of Tommy Douglas’ “medioctrity for the masses” health care system.

  5. The statistics you allude to allude to Rupert James come largely from the US website Bloomberg.com. So you should take up your complaints on this score with them. It is similarly the Mayor of New York’s cyberspace enterprise that is being smug, or just plain honest, about Canadian health care here and not me.

    Everyone has their own personal experiences, of course — and my sympathies with yours. I too live in Canada, however, and have now for a good many years. I have watched two parents pass on to their reward in the hands of the Canadian health care system (Ontario permutation in my case), and while nothing is perfect I felt they were well looked after.

    I also have three good friends who have gone through prostate cancer surgeries in the quite recent past. While such things are bound to be harrowing adventures at best, no doubt, all three of my friends have survived quite nicely, without having to go to the Mayo clinic or any other facility in the United States.

    I have had my own share of aging medical conditions over the past number of years as well. And while I have a few churlish complaints about the 21st century medical establishment generally, I have found my treatment at the hands of the public health care system here in Canada timely, professional, and helpful.

    Finally, I have relatives who live in the great state of California. And I hear periodically about their health care adventures too. I can see moving there for the weather. But no one in their right mind, it seems to me, would do such a thing to get access to better health care.

    The thing about statistics, of course, is that they are somewhat more objective than our individual experiences, which can vary from person to person. My sympathies again for your unhappy experiences with Canadian health care in Saskatchewan. I can only report that my own experiences with the system have been much more positive. And that is true of most other people in Canada I talk to as well.

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