Jul 312009

Dear America,

It’s not my business, in a general sense, so my initial response is to let you do what you want with your healthcare system.
But it seems that lately, the forces of paranoia and manipulation have trotted out the Canadian healthcare system and they have done their best to fan the flames of a national anxiety attack and shit talk the system we use in my country.
You can be as dumb as you want, but when you shit talk me or mine, I will be forced to respond.

Let me just step right in and alienate a large group of people right off the bat.
I think healthcare for profit is immoral.
And someone who lives a life like mine doesn’t toss the word “immoral” around lightly.
I don’t think pornography is obscene but I do think that healthcare for profit is obscene.
But that’s your system and not mine and you get to do things however you want.
I would be an imperialist if I tried to make you accept systems of organization that work for me but might not work for you, and we won’t have that.
But I believe some rich stakeholders are telling you some fabulous lies, and I want to tell you a few things as someone who has spent a lifetime accessing government funded healthcare.

So, here’s a wee anecdote.

As you probably know, 5 years ago, I got sick in a fairly major sort of way. I’d be willing to say that, I suspect, most people around me didn’t expect me to make it.
That’s a subject for another day.
The subject for today is this.

I got sick.
My surgeon wanted to operate but there was about to be a strike by some folks in the healthcare system.
Those folks went on strike for a few weeks.
After a couple of weeks, they got ordered back to work by our not at all socialist government.
The strike was broken on a Monday. By the not at all socialist government.
On the Friday of that week, I had my surgery.

And, no one kicked me out of my bed. In fact, I was wiggling my way out the door and bugging the nurses to be allowed to go home.

I was discharged and within days I had an appointment at the local cancer agency, where they more or less took over my life. That was probably for the best.
But there was never, ever, a moment when I had to wait for attention on a healthcare level.

I know, you have been told that it’s the red hordes up here, doing terrible things to healthcare, but I have to tell you, I don’t see it that way.
Patients aren’t rotting on gurneys in the hallways of hospitals.

And I don’t mean to be ghoulish, but I had an internet ovca buddy who was diagnosed about 3 months before me, with the same cancer at the same stage.
I realize it is possibly apples and oranges, but she is dead and I am not.
She posted a lot about having to spend hours in emergency rooms to get care, spending a lot of time in a great deal of pain, and being left to wait because she was self employed and didn’t have some fancy HMO insurance package.
I pay about $75 a month for my access to healthcare, with very few restrictions and no one says who my doctor will be but me.

Today, I read two good articles that articulate the point better than I could.

One is from The Guardian


and one from Slate.com


and as someone, somewhere, wrote today, I would rather live in a system where I might have to wait a month or two for a test than live in a system where I can’t ever have the test because I don’t have enough money.

Don’t gobble up the crap.

You deserve better. No one should be sick and know there is a treatment, but it’s not available because they aren’t rich.

 Posted by at 9:19 pm