Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Countering the myths about Canadian health care

I am a strong proponent of single payer universal health care provided as a human right. We already try to provide health care to everyone who needs it, at least on an emergency basis, but this is both inefficient, misses a lot of people, fails to provide care to a lot of people with chronic conditions, is ridiculously expensive, wastes tons of money on unnecessary administration that is required so that the company who receives the premiums can't shift the payment off to some other entity, and causes physicians to spend too much time as administrators, thus wasting their extensive medical training.

People who oppose single payer health care offer two major arguments. One is that it is "socialized" medicine. This argument is ridiculous on the face of it, and is not to be considered as a serious objection. The second and somewhat more serious argument is that the Canadian system is single payer and has failed to provide the care the American ("lack-of") system does. The second argument is not much more serious than the first one, but requires more facts to counter. Those who use that argument never provide facts, just anecdotes. A system cannot be built on anecdotes. Facts are required before it can be determined which stories matter and which do not.

So Sara Robinson has provided an excellent article that lays out the details of the Canadian health care system, with both its advantages and its disadvantages.

Here are the facts. Go read the article.

Bet you thought I was going to write about yesterday's Super-Tuesday primaries this morning, didn't you? Nope, not yet.

I can't provide any breaking news, and it is too soon to know what really happened. We'll just need to collect more information and see what the outcomes from the day are before any analysis that matters can be expected. It's enough for right now to recognize that yesterday was a really important day for America. It will be interesting to see how.

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