Beyond the 140
33.7 million Canadians are not Shona Holmes
In Uncategorized on July 26, 2009 at 12:43 AM
If you live in Canada,Britain,Netherlands,Austrailia, anywhere u have universal health care, SPEAK UP! Don’t let our GOP lie and thrash you!
To my American friends: I sincerely hope you’re not taken in by the GOP propaganda featuring Canadian Shona Holmes trashing our system of universal healthcare. The problem is both that Ms. Holmes and her Republican masters misrepresented her condition and that the tactic itself is reprehensible. The GOP can’t produce any logical argument against a system that is entrenched in every Western society except yours, so they resort to fear-mongering and lies, claiming that one Canadian’s skewed view trumps the experiences and beliefs of the rest of us.
There are almost 34 million Canadians and it’s true, not every one of them supports universal healthcare. It’s not a perfect system and we too debate its reform and worry about its cost. But it is also integral to our identity as Canadians. Ask what makes us a people and the majority will cite government-administered, publicly funded healthcare. Along with the French fact, it is also what differentiates us from you – though we wish, for your sake, that it didn’t.
Like our Conservative Party, your Republicans really do take the people for fools. The GOP expects you to believe that one woman denigrating Canadian healthcare speaks for all of us. Even if her story were factually accurate – and apparently it is not – opponents of healthcare reform have claimed that her experience is typical. It’s a surreal if sadly unsurprising experience to watch Republicans in Congress stand up and outright lie about my country, but that’s what’s happening. So if you have the sense that Canadians routinely rush to the U.S. for MRIs and that those who don’t are dropping dead on a daily basis, well, think again.
As former Liberal health minister Ujjal Dosanjh has pointed out on CNN, the Canadian system is not run by nameless, faceless bureaucrats who decide whether or not you are worthy enough to receive treatment. Actually, that sounds rather closer to a description of how your HMOs operate. In Canada, where healthcare is not private enterprise, medical decisions are made by doctors. Of course, when you or a loved one is sick, it’s a scary time, and everyone would prefer to be treated right away. And I know from personal experience that if your life is in danger, that’s exactly what happens.
Half a lifetime ago, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her doctor did not put her on a waiting list. She did not go south to receive more timely, better treatment in the U.S. Instead, she was diagnosed late one Monday afternoon then had a mastectomy the very next day. That’s the way it works in Canada: her condition was deemed so serious that she received immediate care – and of course her operation, stay in hospital, and subsequent treatment were paid for by the state. No one asked if my mother had insurance or ran a credit check to ensure she could afford to stay alive.
The Canadian healthcare system is not flawless. Particularly in rural areas, we have shortages of doctors. It can sometimes take a while to get an appointment if your condition isn’t acute. We don’t do a great job of promoting preventative medicine. But despite what you’ve heard from Shona Holmes, most Canadians believe that our system is one of the best in the world, and we’re rather horrified that millions of Americans are uninsured.
As a proud Canadian I’m sick and tired of the lies Republicans tell about our healthcare system to avoid reforming yours for ideological and partisan political reasons that we consider perverse. They did the same thing when the Clinton administration made its attempt, and alarmingly, the tactic seems to work: Bill and Hilary failed in ‘94 and now polls are indicating that Obama’s popularity is slipping, that his push for reform is stalling.
It wasn’t any easier for us to muster the political will needed to implement universal healthcare in Canada. In the 1960s both provincial and federal administrations faced determined opposition; in Saskatchewan there was even a doctor’s strike. But both the Saskatchewan government of Premier Tommy Douglas and, subsequently, the Canadian government of Prime Minister Lester Pearson persevered to the benefit of all Canadians. Now doctors are among the most vocal supporters of universal healthcare.
Don’t squander the opportunity to do what’s right because of Shona Holmes. Shona Holmes does not speak for Canadians. I’m sorry the woman was sick, but that doesn’t make her an expert on healthcare or give her the right to condemn our system. I don’t know Ms. Holmes personally so I can’t really comment on what motivates her, but rest assured, the other 33.7 million of us Canadians are not Shona Holmes. The Republicans paid that woman to lie to Americans about Canada, and both of us deserve better than that.
Click to view image: 'hlth'
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