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'Why not pay slightly higher taxes for a government-sponsored one-payer health care system and have all costs covered?'

Dear American neighbours,

Both my Mum and Sister died this year within 4 months of each other.  Both died in hospital  after long illnesses being cared for by consumate well trained professionals who showed amazing empathy and kindness to women who were total strangers to them.   My Mum, a senior living on her very limited pension, had the same care in hospital as a wealthier woman in the same ward.   My sister died in the VGH Palliative Care Unit being cared for in the most respectful and loving way possible.   The fact that she had lost her job a year before her illness took hold and she was at the emd of her Employment Insurance, did not affect her hospital and medical care in any way.  She was able to pay her MSP of under $60.00 a month which ensured full hospital coverage. 

The security of knowing one can have full medical coverage at times such as the ones my Mum and Sister had this year was of vital importance to them and to me.  There was no stress of worrying if we could afford to care for them in the ways they required.  It was a given that they would be.  They died in dignity and with no debt owing.  They got what they needed because we live in a country that has decided that equality of health care is a human right.  Never have I been so appreciative of this fact than I have been this year.   I heartfully thank all those who fought so hard to achieve this right and the massive number of Canadians who insist that our government uphold it.

Gale Tyler

Vancouver, B.C.


Dear American neighbours,

This comes from a  citizen of the United States of America, born and brought up in Ohio,  though  now living in Canada for family reasons. It is being said  that a Canadian style health care system is not wanted in the United States of America. Why not?

My experience is that it  is a good system. Contrary to false rumors circulating in the United States, we have choice of doctors, our physicians have choice of hospitals and we have full medical, surgical and hospital coverage. When we leave the doctor’s office or the hospital, we have no bills to pay. We pay a premium  of about $1200 annually to our B.C. provincial Medical Services Plan. Some provinces, like Ontario, do not require any premium payment, but, all residents are covered. The hospital coverage is basic, all costs paid by the system.  There is no government interference with our doctors’ medical care decisions, as I have heard  politicians, as well as private persons, in the US claiming to be the case.

There are waiting times, but emergency cases have priority. I hope you saw the long lines of uninsured  men, women and children waiting for medical treatment at an improvised medical clinic on the fair grounds in a small town in eastern Tennessee on Bill Moyer’s Report on PBS on July 10, 2009, I believe it was.   If not, please look it up on the internet.  We have nothing like that in Canada.

Many of us think  the cutbacks which resulted in the waiting times here were politically motivated, to create dissatisfaction, so that the public will demand a change-over to for-profit health care. The proponents of privatization keep mentioning the wonderful health care given in the  US.  Mention of the poorly funded public hospitals and the millions without health insurance, such as those in eastern Tennessee, is  carefully avoided.

Public protests here have resulting in shorter waiting times. My wife and I have both received excellent and prompt care at all times. Why not something similar in the US?

Why not pay  slightly higher taxes for a government-sponsored one-payer health care system and have all costs covered, rather than pay a high premium to a commercial health insurance company and have only 80% of the costs covered? Maybe even being dropped, because your expenses are too high for the company to make a profit..


Ralferd C. Freytag

Victoria, B.C.


Dear American neighbours,

I am a Canadian citizen, born and living in B.C. all of my life.  I have had the same family Doctor for over thirty years.  During this time, both my children and my husband who has now past away were also in his care.  I can't imagine how my life would have been without my Doctor.  He has not only birthed my son, arranged countless surgeries with specialists for me, cared for my son's special needs but he has also been my confidant.

I have emphazema, diverticulitous, angina and PTS.  This year I am having cataract surgeries.  My family and my family before me have enjoyed a high level of medical care all of our lives.

Only now, with our current Liberal government, and Premier Campbell's cut backs is this high level of care beginning to erode.  This decline in hospital services is, in my opinion, to pave the way for privatization of hospital care. Our Doctor's already run their own private offices and then bill B.C. Medical Plan.  But this is a fair system -- one price for all.  Privatization of hospital care is a nightmare with only the rich being served.  I don't recommend this, rather I request that our current medical system be fully


Laara Williamsen


Dear American neighbours,

I am middle-aged, live alone, have had MS for 30 years.  My medical team includes my GP, and my health unit (my case worker, homecare nurses, physiotherapist, O.T.).  I am provided home care workers daily, up to 32 hours a week.  I pay only on a per income scale.  I have had months of home care nursing to treat pressure sores, my physio has given me a series of exercises which help keep me mobile (though not walking). I am blessed by Canada's medical service plan.

Linda Ironside

Vancouver, B.C.


Dear American neighbours,

As a 62 year old I can only remember universal health care in Canada. I picked my own physician as a new bride and when I moved within Canada. Care has never been delayed or denied and no extra billing for care whether it was for annual checkups, aches and pains, maternity care, care for my children or now my grandchildren. I chose the hospital in which I wanted my babies delivered. I recently had knee surgery for a torn cartilage and waited less than 2 months for treatment. There were no limits on the care or treatment I received nor did I have to seek previous approval. Visits to emergency although not frequent have been used for urgent care. I picked the closest hospital emergency, no one asked for cash, debit or credit cards.

My husband has Type 2 diabetes for which he receives medical supervision from his family doctor and an endocrinologist FREE. There are no limits on visits per year to the family doctor for anyone in my family. My adult children have picked their own family doctor and have established a positive ongoing therapeutic relationship with them. All this for $48 per person per month.

As a nurse for 28 years working primarily with children and their families, it was made more rewarding because there never was discussion about what could or could not be afforded. Some of the families were single parents and new immigrants.

Having healthy citizens assures the country of productive and present workers. Having health issues addressed in a timely manner saves money in the long run ... like taking your car in for preventative maintenance. No one should be denied access to health care because of your age, existing health problems or how much money you have. Having shareholders who expect dividends makes health care corporate medicine which has consistently proven to be more expensive and provide less service (especially when needed).

Alice Edge

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