This is just an observational post based my own experiences. I’m posting because I’m still surprised by the outrage against the move towards fairer and more all-encompassing healthcare in the United States. I really can’t wrap my mind around why people object to it, and so strongly.
Our family’s most recent ‘medical’ incident was that our 2yr old had pneumonia complicated by his asthma. In a two week period we had five doctor’s appointments and a day and a half stay in the hospital. Total cost to us? $0. Not having to worry about the money allowed us to focus on getting him well. The moment money becomes a concern, in regards to healthcare, people make the wrong decision.
Okay, obviously we *do* pay for it. We pay taxes after all. But I’ve had several conversations with people outside Canada who imagine we’re paying ridiculously high taxes. In my opinion, we’re not. I never looked at a pay stub and freaked out… and at one time I was paying a really high tax rate. At its worse though it was never more than 30 percent. (And yes, I do realize we pay federal sales tax too, though in Alberta there is no provincial sales tax and health care premiums are paid for).
30 percent of my income so that everyone can have access to quality healthcare. Not really that high of a price to pay. And of course that tax money is spent on many other things too — not just medical.
I have certainly had some negative issues with the health care system, generally long wait times (though I think my longest wait has been five hours, for myself — kids don’t seem to have to wait nearly so long) but it is a comfort to know that it is always there and nothing I do, or don’t do, can take it away..
They’re basically afraid that any change will inevitably lead down the slippery slope to a public healthcare system, which is clearly an awful idea! These seem to be the main arguments against public care:
a) Taxes will skyrocket and the government is just stealing my money to cover lazy bums who can’t afford healthcare, and thus clearly don’t deserve it. They’ll probably have to cut my benefits to help offset the cost too.
b) Letting the government get involved means it will be so inefficient that you will die while waiting months clear the red tape and actually go see a doctor (like they do in Canada, at least according to the ads on TV). Even worse, everybody will have healthcare – which will make the lines even longer – and if it’s public there will be no way to jump ahead in line even if you can afford to pay for better care. You just have to hope the government “Death Panels” decide that your case is important enough to justify priority care.
c) Removing money as the primary motivator will cash starve the healthcare system and utterly destroy it. At the very least it will cost millions of people their jobs (especially at the insurance companies). In fact all the good doctors will just move elsewhere or stop working since there won’t be enough money in it for them. In addition, medical research will stop worldwide because the US drug companies will no longer be able to afford R&D (they’re currently subsidizing all medical research in the world you know!)
Thanks for the summary Jason… it scares me that so many people take these concerns so literally without doing any research themselves.
Great blog entry! I’m from the States, moved to Edmonton in 2007. Our taxes are not higher & we make about the same income here. To me, Canada is much more civilized.