Canada's System Could Aid Millions
Many of the 48 million uninsured Americans would gladly suffer the annoyances, inconveniences, and shoddy treatment Deborah Salomon recounted in her July 17 column critiquing Canada's national health-care system, which covered her nearly 25 years though she was not Canadian.
Salomon rightly rejects the notions Canada's system is "near-utopian" and "free." There, just as in America, she had to scramble for appointments, fill out paperwork and wait long periods before receiving reimbursement, and endure overcrowded, often shabby medical facilities. America's uninsured are spared such indignities.
But imperfection is no cause for denigrating Canada's achievements. In between complaints, Salomon indicates Canada's many superiorities to America's dystopian, dysfunctional, and, for vast numbers of us, essentially non-functional "system."
In Canada, "drug benefits are awesome"; "towns and cities are peppered with free clinics"; "no pregnant woman goes without prenatal visits"; and "the indigent are assured of care."
Ironically, Salomon concludes by nearly affirming a utopian view of Canada's system. "But it was heaven knowing Medicare covered whatever was needed -- hospitalization, tests, surgery, routine care -- with no cap."
Even in edenic Pinehurst, the chilling reality is that "if you can't afford it," you wouldn't be on the receiving end of necessary care.
One wonders, finally, who is Salomon's audience, and why does she warn them to be wary of what they wish for? If in Canada "there is security in the knowledge that health care is a fait accompli" and Canadians can choose to use Medicare or a private doctor, what have Americans to fear from such a system? Is such security fearful? Worthless?
It seems Salomon's audience are those insured who fear paying more or losing coverage. What has she to say to those nearly 48 million who have nothing to lose?
Frank R. Giordano Jr., Ph.D.
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