What’s Missing in the Health Care Debate
Rick Fischer
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As an outsider up here in the Great White North, your health care woes baffle us. You are the only civilized country in the world who can’t get their act together long enough to come up with some sort of equitable system for the masses. I think crux of the problem is your legislators are too wealthy and too removed from the general population. Is John McCain (net worth @ $21M) going to have any issues accessing the expensive treatment needed to keep him alive for a few more months? No.

America has become a victim of its’ own success. Only the ultra-rich and powerful end up running and legislating the decisions. The average net worth of an American is @ $70,000 vice over a million for a member of Congress. Not a single one of those politicians will ever be faced with the decision to bankrupt their family due to illness. They go to the head of the line for cancer treatments, hip and knee replacements, heart surgery, etc. efficiently and quickly, no wait times. They will always have access to the best doctors, best hospitals, and best care. This care and attention will forever be out of reach for regular folk without excessive financial strain.

Canada doesn’t have a perfect system of course. Wait times and an aging baby boom generation are straining hospitals/clinics in various provinces. But we do have compassion and empathy for our fellow citizens because most of our politicians generally can still come from the people. Our political system caps the amount of money that can be spent on getting elected. We also do not elect our politicians and their families for life. (Small blip with our current Prime Minister notwithstanding) In contrast, the American system is geared towards the ultra-winners of the American dream. It takes an embarrassment of riches and connections to run for political office. In theory, this should produce a political system populated by the best of the best. Instead, it produces a race to the bottom with the winners being those who use the dirtiest, amoral tactics to win at all costs. Winning is everything, damn the consequences.

The US is squabbling like a bunch of spoiled children over the broken toy called healthcare. Unfortunately, there isn’t an adult available to swat some behinds and to get the politicians cooperating on a solution. It’s scary that America has so many nuclear weapons considering you can’t even get your act together to look after the weakest of your own.

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