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'It's sad to see the shrill voices of the far right using outright lies and misinformation to maintain the status quo'

Dear American neighbours,

Watching the healthcare debate in the U.S. unfold it's sad and infuriating to see the shrill voices of the far right using outright lies and misinformation to maintain the status quo.

In Canada we have had universal healthcare for all citizens since the early 1960's, I would argue that it was one of our most defining moments as a country as it said to the rest of the world that we as Canadians would from that point on ensure that no one went without care in times of sickness.

As I write this I wait anxiously for the phone call from the hospice where my beloved father lies waiting to pass from terminal lung cancer. He was diagnosed months ago and has been very ill for a long time, right from the beginning he has received excellent care from dedicated health care professionals all covered by our health care system. No credit card needed only your government provided number. Our system is not perfect, there are lengthy waits for such procedures as orthopedics, cataract surgery etc. but if you are seriously ill our system works well. The same opponents to a public option in the U.S. are up here in Canada campaining to destroy what we have, you know who they are the insurance companies, right wing think tanks, and neoconservative politicians whose mantra of "private good, public bad" never ceases.

I hope Americans by now have learned that the measure of a great country is not how well those on the top are doing but how well those on the bottom are faring. The dream of men like Ted Kennedy that every American citizen should have quality healthcare is within your grasp all it takes is the courage is to stand up and seize it.

Good luck!

Andrew Murray


Dear American neighbours,

I like our system because I can go to any hospital or clinic and get the service I need without paying individually because we pay through our taxes to a single system.

Service is not held back because of pre-exisiting conditions. Service is not held back because of where I live or how much I make. Service is NOT HELD BACK PERIOD.

I know that the doctor will be more concerned about my problems rather than how I am going to pay. I have choice, mobility, and top notch help regardless of my financial situation. If I lose my job or change jobs, I am still covered. I have no worries.

My father had cancer 5 times and he was taken care of with top care and we did not need to pay anything other than what is in our taxes. We didn't have to chose between his life and our homes.

Nina Kessler


Dear American neighbours,

I like Canadian Medicare. Here is one reason:

Because I can choose my own doctor.

I can get an appointment with my family doctor within a day if it is an emergency or at a certain date or time if I wait a few days. If she is on holidays, I can go to a walk-in clinic and see someone who works there. These clinics are run by Canadian doctors, not the province. Once I was even treated by a retired doctor who used to be my family doctor. I thought the world of him and was glad he was still so active.

Before I retired myself, I moved a lot. So I have experience in choosing doctors as I moved from one city to another. Sometimes I liked the doctor I randomly chose, sometimes I didn't. In that case I'd pick another one.

United States citizens and politicians would do well to emulate our medical system. There are some things that can be improved, and I am sure they can figure those out.


C. Mader, PhD


Dear American neighbours,

I would like to share with Americans why I support the Canadian system of health care.

Firstly, I have a better quality of life as I am not constantly worrying about how I am going to pay your medical bills.  No matter what I earn or do not earn, no matter what my race, color or creed is I am entitled to seek the medical services I need.

Secondly, I get to chose my own doctor who runs a private practice, so this is not socialized medicine as some Americans are led to believe.  She bills the Provincial/State government who reimburses her according to the services she has rendered.  There are services such as cosmetic surgery that are not covered and rightly so as these are not medically necessary.

Thirdly, I have had to wait for appointments with specialists but the average wait time for me has been 6 months.  I can also get a second opinion if I need to confirm a health problem.

I as a Canadian do not mind paying taxes to cover these costs as it makes for a better more caring and healthy community.  I am surprised that so many Americans are falling for the scare tactics of medical insurance corporations and some government officials about costs going up, inability to access services etc.  I guess medical insurance companies will lose big time as the cost of services will be reduced since it will be centralized and government run and the profit motive will be completely taken out of the picture.  People will opt out of the private insurance and into the government run system and this is the main reason for this uproar. 

Just to re-emphasize, Canada does not have socialized medicine, doctors DO NOT work for the state.

Thank you,

Soraya Mohamed


Dear American neighbours,

I am 69 years old.  This summer I experienced a very serious accident in my home where I cracked my skull and suffered concussion.  An ambulance was called, attendants attended to my immediate needs and delivered me to the nearest hospital.

After being admitted, the doctor in charge ordered a CAT Scan, which was not available at the hospital where I was admitted.  An ambulance was called again and I was taken on a 45-minute trip to have the scan.  I was returned to the original hospital and spent 2 nights under the constant watchful eyes of nurses and staff.
Medication was given as required.  There have been many visits to my personal doctor since being discharged.  All this care and attention was delivered to me and not one penny was asked of me for this service.  The Medicare Plan paid the total cost of the wonderful service, and not one question was asked of me as to whether I was insured, because every resident must be covered by the plan.  

Don't be fooled by the stories the rich and the people in the medical corporations are telling you.  We have a good system.  It needs some improvement, but not through any private concerns that only focus on profit.  Health care should be for everyone, not just for those that have the money.

David Hagel

Salmon Arm, BC

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