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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

As long as Global TV is warning us about "health care scares"...

Global TV news, as you may recall from my post yesterday, is concerned that opponents of the "Obamacare" plans to adopt socialized medicine in the United States are "not telling Americans"  all that they need to know in their ads.  Anchor Kevin Newman warned about a "health care scare" that could threaten to change "the focus [of the debate] from their system to ours".

God forbid that Americans would want to look northward and find out whether socialized medicine works in practice before trying it themselves. God forbid that Canadians should themselves ask whether our medicare system works. But that's just me I guess.

Any story addressing what really happens in Canadian medicare will probably depend on anecdotal reporting.  Enter conservative internet humourist Steven Crowder.  Mr Crowder was born in Detroit, but grew up in Montreal (as you can tell by his ability to pose questions in French).  For his latest video, he decided to return to Quebec and see what would happen if he claimed a non-urgent medical problem or wanted a medical test, filming surreptitiously what happened to him. His video includes casual interviews with Canadians underwhelmed with the treatment their relatives received. In the days since the video's release, Mr. Crowder has been interviewed about his video for U.S. news programs and it's not too hard to guess that Mr. Crowder's video might go viral soon. (Mr. Crowder is also replying to some critics of his video in a post of his own.)

My observation is this--if Global TV is so worried that Americans will be wrongly frightened about the problems of Canadian medicare, what about doing a story, with hidden cameras, about how long it takes to get medical care and treatments in a typical Canadian town? What about looking at a case mentioned in one of these "health care scare" ads and refuting its claims directly?

I'm sure that if Mr. Crowder can pull off his video with a couple friends and a handheld video camera that an entire Canadian TV network can manage to do a similar story. If said network is already doing stories about Americans being allegedly misled about Canadian medicare in TV ads, this would be a great way to refute any mistruths that are out there, right?

How about it, Global TV?

Posted by Rick Hiebert on July 22, 2009 in Media | Permalink


My wife had an appointment with her rhumataligst in May of this year, he told her she needed two partial knee replacement. He was going to send her to a surgeon would does knee surgry, she phoned him in June to see if her appointment had been arranged and got yhe name of the speacalist and phoned him. He told her that all of the request to his office had been returned to her doctor and that her appointment with the knee surgeon would probably not happen until Dec of this year and it would be 8 months to one year from that point before her knees could be replaced. This is in Alberta where our health system is bankrupt. We can get the opperation done at a private clinic in Vancouver for $18,000 per knee.

Posted by: Barrie | 2009-07-22 4:06:28 PM

This is what happens when you cap prices. Shortages. Just wait until those shortages affect heart attack victims and not just those requiring hip surgery.

I give it 15 years or so ...

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-22 5:02:06 PM

A couple years ago, I messed up my knee pretty badly and needed an MRI to determine whether I needed surgery. A month later, I had the MRI, and I did indeed need the surgery. 4 weeks later, I had the (non-essential) surgery.

So my whole ordeal lasted 2 months, for a non-essential, but necessary, surgery.

This is the problem with anectodal evidence. Everyone's mileage varies.Statistics Canada measures wait times as well, and the average wait times for non-essential tests and treatments is generally 4 weeks. Of course, it depends on your location in Canada, the severity of the injury, even the competency of the people you are dealing with. Not to mention not all provinces run health care the same way...

The only way to judge the system as a whole is to consider broad public health statistics (e.g cost per capita, life expectancy, etc.). Not the greatest measure, but the best we have.
In every one of those measures, we demolish the American system. We pay less for better care. We're not perfect, but the further we are from the American system, the better.

If you'd like their system, then surely you'd be happy paying $100,000 to remove a cyst, like Shona Holmes?

Posted by: John | 2009-07-22 5:49:26 PM

Both the Canadian and American systems are seriously flawed and for the same reasons. Too Damned much Government. The US system is at least as subsidized as ours...it just doesn't appear that way.
Like everything else screwed up by bureaucracy it should be turned over to the free market.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-22 6:31:23 PM


Exactly right. We have a communist and the US has a fascist system. In Canada, we act as if there was only 1 choice between 2 very flawed systems.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-22 6:46:50 PM

Charles...I think we're all suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. I just can't think of another reason for sensible people to allow it.
"It" being Communism OR Fascism. They're both wrong on every ethical level there is, yet people seem to see no other way. I don't get it.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-22 7:51:20 PM

I don't get it either. Even on this site, the debate always revolves around whether the Canadian is better than the American system and vice versa. Both systems suck and should be rejected.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-23 5:43:27 AM

Well that observation could be applied pretty much right across the board. Conservative vs. Liberal - Fascism vs. Socialism and on and on.
We spend all of our time debating the merits of two wrongs as though they are the only viable options. This isn't so, but the media and schools play a role in "training" people to accept the existing status quo that literally controls us on every level of life. Works well for the politicians and bankers but does nothing to promote "life" for the individual.
I got up to speak at a Libertarian convention in 08 and the first thing I said was, "We're all Libertarians until the age of 5, then it takes 12 years of public education to beat it out of us."
That got some laughs and applause. :)

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-07-23 6:18:36 AM

Actually the most amusing is people who think we have a capitalist system. Our whole financial system and money supply is centrally controlled by a small group which is in turned owned by the banks and only made possible because of artificial laws created by our governments. Then conservatives and liberals turn around and tell us we have a capitalist system.

And that's a big part of the problem as far as I can tell. Most people don't even understand the difference between capitalism and fascism.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-23 7:21:16 AM

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