Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(No.65) Some email responses to my US health care comments

In columns on (see Nos. 51 & 55) I offered views from a Canadian's perspective on the US health care reform debate. My perspective on this subject was also published as an op-ed article in the Toronto Star (Sept. 9, 2009 ).

I have selected and presented below (with writers' names omitted) a few comments pro and con from several of the emails I received from both Americans and Canadians.

1. You promote a false agenda

from an American in California:

I have many Canadian friends, traveled Canada for many years.

SO: Why are so many Canadians coming to the USA for health care they cannot get in Canada? They pay out of their own pockets for health care?

Canada has very long waiting lists. Why would you distort the facts other than to promote a false agenda for what purpose?????

2. An accurate and pertinent piece

from an American in Florida:

This group insurance professional thanks you for an accurate and pertinent piece on both our system and the Canadian system of health care.

Now I know why I spent my honeymoon touring your great nation and a few more trips over the years.

"It is a tragic mix-up when the United States spends $500,000 for every enemy soldier killed and only $53 annually on the victims of poverty." Martin Luther King, Jr.

3. You're confused

from an American (state not specified):

hi .. nice piece in the Star. So you're an insurance guy, leaves the industry and finds religion? Awesome.

You're confused on why Americans don't want change but on Canadians' resistance to change [of their single payer system] you think it's just about right..... Which is it Al, change or status quo?

You dredge out the "47 million" uninsured quote .. unchecked or scrutinized.

FACT CHECK: uninsured who are not U.S. citizens -- 45% of the 47 million. With reasonable adjustments there are in fact less than 10 million individuals who are so-called "chronically uninsured" ....

So let's grant that there are between 8 to 10 million Americans (total population 307 million) .... 97% who want insurance have it and are happy. Sounds like Canada.

4. America is a Me country

from an American (state unspecified):

I am an American who fully applauds your commentaries concerning the health care system in the United States. I also understand your amazement at the apparent inability of many Americans to digest facts! So allow me to offer you a tip ... America is a "ME" country.

It is all about "ME". Therefore everything that does not coincide with a "ME" attitude is met with the most vituperative vitriolic consternation. All ideas must be sold and postured in the context of why it is good for "ME". Concepts such as "for the good of humanity", "for the good of society" cannot be grasped because the impacted group extends beyond "ME". ....

So, anyone who supports it [health care reform] is NOT a patriot, a good American or a good Christian because, of course, "ME" is a patriotic American Christian. ....

Please keep up the good work ... for some of us it is not all about "ME".

5. Critically Ill Canadians

from an American emailing from an address in Canada:

I read your excellent article in the Toronto Star on how much better Canadian health care is than the American health care system. But I had to write to you because an American friend living in northern New York state tells me that "tons of critically ill Canadian pateints come to New York state and America to get urgently needed medical tratment that they cannot get in Canada."

Can you tell me what you make of that statement? Is this true?

6. Well done

from a Canadian:

This is excellent information, extremely well written and for the first time that I have seen provides some balance in explaining the various reasons so many Americans oppose the health insurance reform proposals.

Well done!!

7. To be Canadian

from a Canadian:

I read your op-ed in the Toronto Star.

I often work in the U.S. and for the first time someone summed up what I felt like to be Canadian.


Alastair Rickard