Sometimes “facts” that are simply taken for granted by the vast majority are questioned by a few. Other times, the few don’t even seem to realize that they are in the minority and have never questioned their beliefs either. It seems that many of us live in isolated bubbles of information. Sometimes I think that millions of my fellow American citizens live in Bizzaro-World. Below is my story as it pertains to beliefs about Canadian health care.
My entire life I have heard that Canadian health care is of lower quality and has longer waiting times than the US. I have heard that it costs more as a whole per capita, but the patients are shielded from these costs directly. I have heard that it is so bad that those who can afford it choose to cross the border to be treated in the United States. I have also heard that those with the ability and desire to receive additional or timely care are not even allowed to pay for it. The system isn’t set up that way. They wouldn’t know how to deal with it. A private market doesn’t exist there (with minor exceptions).
The Canadian system does have one benefit, and that is that those so poor they cannot afford basic health care otherwise have it more or less guaranteed to them there. My entire life, those that supported a similar plan here focused on the benefits, but never denied the costs. In fact, to suggest that Canadian health care was better than that in America in any other way was no different than denying the holocaust or the moon landing. People that did were simply never taken seriously. This dogma was so deeply ingrained it was simply never questioned.
It has only been in the last few years that people have started to come out of the woodwork, so to speak, making outrageous claims of Canada’s superiority with straight faces. The one person I spoke to face-to-face thought I was the crazy one. There were so many, and they were so insistent, that I began to wonder if I was misled. After all, I never really did my own research – in the same way I’ve never traveled north to prove that such a place as “Canada” actually exists – I just assume these things because they are never questioned. Then, just recently, I read a book (Not A Conspiracy Theory by Donald Gutstein) wherein the author tries to defend Canada’s health care system and discredit those that would try to attack it, but in the course of his analysis, he actually confirmed many of the negative rumors I had heard! His reasoning was that less than one percent of Canadians can afford anything better anyways, so it is somehow right to prevent them from getting better care to maintain the status quo, which is a source of national pride.
Has anyone heard anything different? Have I been misled?
Hi, I'm Dan. I like chocolate, hiking, and politics.