Great is not good, wrong is not right

I work in the chronic disease field in Canada. It’s a tough field, full of challenges, but we get to make some progress and enjoy some victories. We’re privileged to do the job in a compassionate country where people take care of each other.

I can’t imagine what it’s like to do a job like ours in America. I certainly can’t imagine what it’s like to be an American with a chronic disease.

If that sounds smug, I promise you, it’s not. If it sounds judgmental, you bet your wealthy white ass it is.

Donald Trump told the press that “Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated.” There’s a sense in which I sympathize with that position. For one thing, Donald Trump is a moron with a massively inflated sense of his own intelligence. It’s hardly shocking that healthcare is a more complicated issue than he thought it would be.

But beyond that, it’s appalling to hear an American say that healthcare is complicated. Because in every other developed nation on Earth, it’s not.

Sure, the logistics are complicated. If you asked me to build a healthcare system from scratch, I couldn’t do it. We have our challenges, and we have our share of problems left to solve.

But we’ve got the core principle figured out. “If we take care of each other, then we’ll prosper together” is a concept that eludes nobody. It’s such a basic concept, in fact, that it’s hard to figure out why America can’t grasp it.

I get that Americans emphasize personal freedom and exceptionalism in a way that the rest of us don’t. Because of that, there are all kinds of basic problems that Americans can’t seem to solve. “How do we get everyone to stop shooting each other?” is a another great example. But healthcare, I would argue, is the biggest and most tragic.

When you’re watching it all go down from a foreign country, it’s easy and tempting to shrug your shoulders. “Thank God I live in Canada,” you tell yourself. “Here, we pander for votes by pledging drug coverage for your kids. In America, they pander by pledging to keep sick people out of your wallet.”

At a certain point, though, you have to look the United States in the face. There are certain differences of opinion that boil down to liberal versus conservative. Healthcare boils down to right versus wrong, and America is the only country that just can’t seem to get it right.