piranha: stylized white figure lifting a red barbell with weights (Default)
[personal profile] piranha
those of us who have it hate it! or not. instead we seem to actually be fairly realistic about its benefits and shortcomings.

canadians overwhelmingly support universal health care; think obama is on right track in US. (pdf from nanos research.)

The survey found that nine in ten Canadians support universal health care (90% support or somewhat support), and seven out of ten Canadians believe that President Barack Obama is on the right track with respect to health care in the US (71%). Results were consistent across regions.

When asked what they believed was the key strength of the current Canadian health care system, six in ten said, unprompted, it was accessibility and universality (61%). The key weakness identified, unprompted, was wait times (33%), a more than two-to-one margin over the next most cited weakness - a shortage of doctors and nurses (14%).

When asked to look south of the border to the US, the majority of Canadians felt that President Obama was on the right track when it came to making changes to the health care system in the United States (71%) with only seven percent saying he was on the wrong track. One in five were unsure (21%). Quebecers were comparatively more likely to say Obama was on the right track (82%), followed by Ontarians (74% right track).


i should add that the wait times are for non-urgent care problems. the paramour's mother waited too long (in my book) for a hip replacement. but when i had life-threatening high blood pressure and tachycardia, i was immediately seen at the ER, ushered past a waiting room with other people. i've also always been able to see my GP when i needed to. and all that costs a mere C$54/month for british columbians (and if you can't afford that there is help); nobody is dependent on an employer offering health insurance and spousal/dependent benefits; if you lose your job in a bad economy, you don't also lose your health care (i find that incredibly frightening).

having lived under both type of systems, i greatly prefer universal, single-payer health care. and i don't at all mind paying taxes to support such care for people who have less than i do. i like living in a society that cares about all its members, whether they're currently fortunate and able-bodied or not.

on 2009-11-06 21:26 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] matthewdaly
canadians overwhelmingly support universal health care; think obama is on right track in US.

I am consistently impressed at how many Canadians know what track President Obama is on.

on 2009-11-06 22:24 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] matthewdaly
No. I might be broken by the despair, but I can't recall a populist cause that Barack Obama has claimed to believe in and then fight for despite the fear of conservative backlash. (And the only reason I throw the "populist" qualifier in there is that one might argue that he fought for the corporate welfare stimulus package.) The climate control and financial oversight bills are bad jokes, and I don't need you need convincing that the administration's commitment to civil rights (aside from the Lily Ledbetter Act) have been dismal.

And it most certainly isn't rational universal health care; President Obama has demonstrated himself to be equally satisfied with everything from the public option to poorly funded individual mandates while publicly favoring no specific plan. The only thing that he champions is forcing Congress to work out the details with some very basic qualifications like reducing the ranks of the uninsured and revenue neutrality. I don't know if it's a good idea or not (although I am concerned that the eventual bill will be written by insurance lobbyists much more than consumer rights advocates and contain as much compensation and as little public benefit as the credit card reform bill did). But the notion that the health care debate has been a struggle between Republicans and Barack Obama is a hard one to support with evidence.

Perhaps my statement is unfairly broad, but I've had a few specific conversations with Canadians where they perceived me to be a enemy of progress because I am not delighted with and unflinchingly supportive of President Obama. Maybe the international news covers his speeches well and the general impression is that his actions must match the intensity and passion of his rhetoric, but it is my sad duty to report that that hasn't been the case at all in my perception.

on 2009-11-07 02:59 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] flarenut
But how do you get people to be loyal to their employers and unwilling to step out of line socially if their health care can't be taken away from them at a retroactive moment's notice?

on 2009-11-07 07:52 (UTC)
juliet: Avatar of me with blue hair & jeans (blue hair jeans avatar)
Posted by [personal profile] juliet
It's OK, the threat of getting fired & having to jump through the 3 billion often-demeaning hoops required to be given Job Seekers Allowance until they give up on you after 6 months handles that fine.

(UK, not Canada)

I've lived in the UK all my life, apart from a brief stint in Australia (whose healthcare system I never really got to grips with, except that it's not UK-style absolutely-free-at-point-of-use, but there's some kind of payback system. I think.). So admittedly I have little other experience. But the idea of having to *pay* your GP or hospital or whatever absolutely baffles me. (And scares me, whenever I hear from US people who can't afford the medical care they need, which seems to be alarmingly often.)

My experience with waiting lists has been reasonably OK - my GP referred me for (non-urgent) problems with my veins recently & I was seen within about a month. (Had I been having to pay directly for healthcare I doubt I'd have gone to my GP at all, or at least not for a while longer, due to current employment situation. I find that scary, too.)

i don't at all mind paying taxes to support such care for people who have less than i do. i like living in a society that cares about all its members, whether they're currently fortunate and able-bodied or not.

Yeah. This.

on 2009-11-07 09:47 (UTC)
deane: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] deane
It's OK, the threat of getting fired & having to jump through the 3 billion often-demeaning hoops required to be given Job Seekers Allowance until they give up on you after 6 months handles that fine.

(UK, not Canada)


Understanding Canadian Employment Insurance (formerly known as "Unemployment Insurance") is simple. Think of all the things that insurance would do if it was supposed to insure you against the loss of employment, then invert it.

(Un)employment Insurance should be something that you get for a short period of time to tide you over until you find a new job. If it takes you too long to find a job then your insurance benefits should run out and you should transition to welfare.

In Canada, EI is the exact opposite of that. If you lose your job you cannot collect on it until long after your hopes for speedy re-employment have dried up: 16 weeks, IIRC. What it has become is welfare with a different name, so as to assuage the egos of the formerly employed.

I fully support paying to have a social safety net for those who have trouble finding jobs, but I object to having to pay for two completely separate bureaucracies to administer it.

on 2009-11-07 21:43 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] flarenut
It's not just being unable to afford care, it's also foregoing or postponing certain care for fear of premium increases that would make all care unaffordable, or policy cancellations. It's taking into account with every ailment the possibility that one's insurance company will refuse to pay the bill after services have been rendered. It's wondering what excuse they're going to use to avoid payment this time, and hoping your doctor doesn't stop taking that particular company's insurance. In short, it's like those random-negative-reinforcement experiments that they showed were most effective at inducing learned helplessness in rats and dogs.

(And we have pretty good insurance, all things considered, but it's still like walking on eggshells.)

on 2009-11-07 09:35 (UTC)
deane: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] deane
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that that one was sarcasm.

on 2009-11-07 08:34 (UTC)
kore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kore
if you lose your job in a bad economy, you don't also lose your health care (i find that incredibly frightening)

Not only that, if you're part-time or a temporary contract worker, you don't get health benefits either. There was a HUGE lawsuit against M'$oft here a while ago because people who'd been temp employees for decades didn't have benefits, stocks, &c, other things permanent employees got. Also, Medicare here is insane -- for two people without kids, your income has to be around $15,000. That's less than our yearly rent.

on 2009-11-07 09:55 (UTC)
deane: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] deane
Since everyone in Canada already has basic health care, employer-provided health benefits are less important than they are in the US. The biggest is dental, which is not covered by our "universal" care, followed by prescriptions.

This results in the amusing situation where, although employer-provided benefits are less essential to Canadians than they are to Americans, we have more regulations in place to stop companies from denying them to employees.

on 2009-11-07 17:26 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] matthewdaly
And that's the thing that infuriates me about individual mandates and boggles me about "universal" health care in general. Looking over my adult life, both the insured and uninsured bits, over 95% of my (physical) health money has gone to dentists and optometrists. I don't understand the notion why there would be a wall separating the parts of the body that the pool will cover.

on 2009-11-07 18:45 (UTC)
kore: (Default)
Posted by [personal profile] kore
it does, however, not encourage people to engage in preventive health maintenance either. and if something serious happens to your health, suddenly you've got mountains of crippling debt (as you know, bob).

OMG YES....and actually, if you can't afford the preventive health maintenance, you are _more_ likely to wind up needing catastrophic care -- and then without the discounts provided by hospitals to people with insurance, the sickest people wind up owing the most money, which they can't pay, so their credit gets wrecked on top of it. And then usually they can't afford the preventive health maintenance even _more_ afterwards.

Such a horrible mess.

on 2009-11-08 02:14 (UTC)
Posted by [personal profile] flarenut
The firing/rehiring of "temporary" or "part-time" employees is also unlawful. Not because it's a vicious fraud on the employee, but because it's tax evasion on the employer's part. Still happens all the time...

(That, and people being forced to work off the clock so they won't reach the number of hours that requires benefits.)

on 2009-11-07 22:54 (UTC)
benedict: The hamster is saying bollocks. It is a scornful hamster (star trek set phasers to fabulous)
Posted by [personal profile] benedict
I'm from a family that can afford to pay for doctor stuff, but the idea of people who can't having to pay not to get really sick or worse is disgusting. So I am glad we're in the canadian system, so I don't have to worry overmuch if rl friends get sick. I mean, beyond making them chicken soup.

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