Sunday, March 21, 2010

Musings on health care

Some things puzzle me about the health care debate in the U.S.

Obviously, I'm looking at this from a Canadian perspective, so keep that in mind.

First of all, they're voting on a Sunday? Around here, we have trouble getting politicians to show up during the week. No way could we have a vote on a weekend.

The other thing that puzzles me is the debate itself. Canadians have had health care since before I was born. (I'm too lazy to look up the exact year.)

It's not perfect - wait times can be long and not everything is covered. For example, dental procedures, ambulance rides, and prescriptions are not usually covered. Also, if you're traveling, coverage is limited (if it exists at all). Supplemental health insurance (for example, through an employer) usually covers some portion of the cost for things not covered by the government plan.

Coverage can vary between provinces - the federal government transfers money to provinces for health care, but each province decides what to fund (and how much).

All citizens (and permanent residents, I believe) living in Canada get a health card that is essentially how you pay for your health services. No matter what your income level, if you need to see a doctor, you will not have to pay a cent to do so.

Many countries have universal health care - including Botswana, which has a small population and one of the largest rates of HIV infection in the world.

I haven't been following the American debate very closely, but I don't understand the attitude that it's OK for people to not have access to health care. It seems so short sighted (because minor conditions don't get treated until they become serious conditions) and selfish (the "I'm not sick so why should I pay for people who are" view of the world).

I guess it's similar in a way to some of the people I worked with at the large telecom company a few years ago. We had been going through layoffs multiple times a year for close to 10 years. Over 2/3 of the company had been laid off, but they were still convinced that it couldn't happen to them.

I didn't understand that either.


  1. Arrogance? Is arrogance a disease? How do you treat it?

    I wonder if the politicians are even aware of what they are arguing about at this point. Each side just wants to win, no matter the outcome.

  2. Yeah, arrogance (and wanting to win) certainly seems to be a big part of it.