Charity on July 18th, 2006

The other day, I watched a short film about Canada’s healthcare system entitled “Dead Meat.”

The movie talks about the problems with the Canadian system and the long waiting lists. There is even one guy whose mother died waiting on a list after being bumped twice from surgery. And a mother of three who is waiting to die, I mean, waiting for an operation on what was a small brain tumor.

Anytime people that are opposed to universal healthcare programs bring this up, their concerns are dismissed without ever being addressed.

I know that this debate is mostly happening between two extremes – the free-market people and the government-program people – but that doesn’t mean that neither side should address the concerns of the other.

Okay, say you are a supporter of a single-payer system administered by the government and paid for with taxes, or whatever you propose. If you want to sell me on this idea you are going to have to explain to me your plan to avoid the waiting list problem because it is a real problem that exists in countries with the very same system of healthcare you are proposing.

It is not enough to dismiss me as a right-wing extremist, be that as it may. You are going to have to plan for this inevitable problem and offer a viable solution.

Pretending that the scenarios discussed in “Dead Meat” do not exist will not stop them from becoming America’s reality.

Those who do not learn from universal healthcare’s shortcomings are doomed to repeat them.

27 Responses to “Will we be "Dead Meat"?”

  1. Thank you for bring my attention to this film. I am also glad I could see it on that website! I’ve bookmarked it for later use when I’m arguing against universal healthcare (shudder) with others.

  2. It’s amazing to me that such a film could be entitled “Dead Meat” and not be seen as totally biased by anyone who might have otherwise wished to see it.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m a conservative and fully believe in the judicious application of human misery, but surely a title such as “Dead Meat” will turn off many intelligent peope who might otherwise have been reached.

    How about something like “Cannibal Zombies from the Attic!!!”

  3. Well, it is biased, but I agree that they should have named it something else.

  4. There are a lot of Americans who are waiting for proper healthcare right now — under our current system.

    They are too poor to pay for healthcare so they are going without.

    “Dead Meat” could describe these people too.

  5. Actually, they open the film by saying that “dead meat” is what critics of our current system say we are.

    The point of my post is that people often look at the real problems brought up in this film and change the subject, the way you did. My concern is that simply changing the subject does not help us prepare for the inevitable problems with a government healthcare system.

    Now, if you want to debate the point you brought up, here is my take on it.

    I do not understand why there are people who do not have enough money for healthcare, but don’t qualify for Medicaid. Maybe I just don’t understand how it is in other states, but people say the same thing about Vermont, where we have generous income limits.

    In my view, it is not about affording it, it is about prioritizing it. I know a lot of people who go without health insurance, but spend money on other things that I go without so I can afford health insurance.

    It is not the government’s job to solve our personal money management problems.

    But, again, we could go back and forth with different views, but that still does not explain how the supporters of universal healthcare plan to solve the waiting list problem.

  6. I don’t have health insurance, and neither do my two children. We pay as we go. We could qualify for state medicare, but I don’t want the state butting its nose into my business anymore than it already does. (I live in NH - so it’s not as bad as some states) I am pregnant with my third child (my husband has healthcare coverage through his work - but the family cost is way too much for us right now) We negotiated with my OB to pay them as we go along. They do this will all self pay patients, and according to their price lists - we get a better deal out of it as well. As everything is included in one price, where they charge insurance companies for each and every visit/service etc.

    The thought of universal healthcare and the government intrusion and control into my life b/c of it makes me shudder (it’s the best word I can think of at present).

    Anyway - a non sequitor, I know. Interesting discussion.

  7. The point is that America spends more per person on health care than any other country on Earth and yet there are still lots of people who can’t get proper healthcare.

    So the number in other countries who are on waiting lists is marginal compared to the number of people who are locked out of our system entirely.

  8. The point is that you still have no solution for the waiting lists. Years long waiting lists. And there are large numbers of people on these lists, not trivial amounts.

    No one is “locked out” of our system. We have welfare programs, an entitlement to emergency care, and clinics that charge nominal fees, etc.

    In Canada, even if you are dying, you wait on a list and it is ILLEGAL to get care privately.

    This is a problem that needs to be solved before we sign on to this bum deal. Changing the subject does not solve problems.

  9. No one is “locked out” of our system??

    Hmm. A little basic research on your part would do wonders.

    Instead you rely on the same tired old propoganda.

    Very sad.

  10. “No one is “locked out” of our system” — that statement just proves how ignorant you are.

    According to BIHCA, 1,752 Vermonters have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past 12 months because they can’t meet their hospital bills.

    You really should learn something about this subject before you open your mouth.

    Seeing one movie that was funded by the insurance industry really doesn’t inform you properly.

  11. “America spends more per person on health care than any other country on Earth and yet there are still lots of people who can’t get proper healthcare.”

    The two things are unrelated. It’s Americans who spend so much on health care, because state of the art health care costs more. Thank God for the free market system that makes it available.

    BTW, other anonymous, I would be very interested to see a citation on those bankruptcy numbers. It’s well known that Fletcher Allen, for example, will simply write off large unpaid hospital bills rather than aggressively try to collect.

  12. “According to BIHCA, 1,752 Vermonters have filed for bankruptcy protection in the past 12 months because they can’t meet their hospital bills.”

    Wow! They are bankrupt and got no care??? Isn’t that what was meant by “locked-out”? They are not able to get care?

    Sounds like they should have gotten insurance.

    That fact that I do not agree with you does not mean that I am ignorant.

    …still waiting for that solution to the waiting list problem…

  13. “Seeing one movie that was funded by the insurance industry”

    ??? Looks to me like it was funded by a guy who made his dough in a database company. And apparently you either didn’t watch the film or can’t find fault with it.

  14. And I am not using propaganda. I am stating a real, documented flaw with your beloved system of universal healthcare and asking you how you intend to deal with it, should we go this route in America.

    And I continue to wait for an answer…and wait…and wait…

    It’s like trying to get an MRI in Canada.

  15. Why not implement a communitarian health care system like that in Switzerland as is advocated by former Middlebury College and Duke University professor Thomas Naylor?

  16. “I am not using propaganda. I am stating a real, documented flaw with your beloved system of universal healthcare”

    You really ought to go into comedy. Because nobody can *possibly* take your arguments seriously.

    Let’s take that little film you’re touting. Rather than see the real problem with Canada’s healthcare (i.e. it is illegal for citizens to buy private health care), you and your groupies scream ‘horror’ at the entire idea of universal healthcare - showing an amazing lack of understanding of what universal healthcare means.

    One thing you fail to point out is that those long waiting lines are only for specialists. Given your lack of attention to those looking for basic general healthcare, we’ll just assume that part is fine - ironically it’s the same part that would cover the millions in the U.S. who have nothing and cannot afford Medicaid deductibles.

    For a system with long waiting lines for specialists, it sounds like droves of people are benefitting from those specialists (per supply and demand). I’ll give ground in that perhaps there are not enough specialists probably because of that one restrictive condition (above), but your precious “documentary” never explored that. Too busy seeking out tears, I suppose.

    Your “documentary” later uses a Vancouver Yellow Pages comparison between hospitals and pet care providers as PROOF that competition is a better way to go. One would think the privatized U.S. system is cheap, flawless, and offers free parking. Curious to know how chronically ill pets are treated.

    Had this “documentary” spent more time interviewing people in the U.S. than slamming Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton, it would have discovered what a bipartisan panel established by Congress discovered:

    Group established by Congress calls for universal health coverage

    In summation, we can have universal healthcare AND private alternatives coexist simultaneously and therefore not have the same problems as Canada’s healthcare woes (i.e. no waiting lines). It doesn’t have to be a one-or-the-other argument.

  17. “One thing you fail to point out is that those long waiting lines are only for specialists.”

    Yes, specialists like the kind that performs cataracts surgery, the kind that diagnoses cancer, the kind that does heart surgery, brain surgery. Okay, I forgot to talk about how great Canada is if you have a cold or a broken leg.

    I am not saying this documentary is the be all and end all. I am saying that this is a legitimate problem with that system that must be addressed if we are going to do this in the US.

    You suggest the solution is a co-existence of both systems, but that is not what most liberals are calling for. That is not what the certain politicians who refer to the health insurance industry as “greedy” are calling for. You are not who I was addressing in this post, if you think both systems can co-exist. I am addressing the folks who want healthcare to be a government provided right, not a private industry. They are the ones who have dominated this discussion on the left.

  18. “Group established by Congress calls for universal health coverage”

    Interesting article, especially this part: “The recommendations don’t say who would pay for universal health coverage or how much it would cost.” Maybe they’ll do a poll asking whether all Americans should have plasma TVs next. Why yes, they should!

    “It doesn’t have to be a one-or-the-other argument.”

    Who said it was? Certainly not the film. It specifically criticizes a national health care system that is solely single-payer. Sounds like you’re with Tarrant on this one.

  19. I’d be interested in hearing thoughts on allowing the more government intrusion into one’s life with universal healthcare. What about privacy of medical records? In NH, if your kids receive the state version of kiddie medicare (Healthy Kids Gold), the state has the right to see your medical records.

    That really bothers me. Am I the only one?

  20. I still say consumer-driven health care like the Swiss have is worth trying out. It is universal and regulated, but is not run by the government like single-payer.

  21. Susan, you are not the only one.

    Even without the government controlling insurance, look at some of the things that are already happening, like this post of mine and this thing here, which I will probably do a post on soon.

    We have every reason to be bothered.

  22. its good reading these posts and hearing others views, but shouldn’t the united states, the most powerful nation in the world, be able to help out its citizens with an issue that is plaguing the country. its not fair to leave people to fend for themselves on an issue such as this. its not american. maybe we should make some cuts to our ridiculous military budget and distribute that money to healthcare, so that we can hire more doctors and maintain a healthy, more vibrant america. to me this issue isn’t partisan, it is something we should figure out so that we americans can be relieved of yet another burden that the government has placed on us. idealistic, but just a thought.

  23. Idealism is not a bad thing, Vermontroller. I agree with the spirit of what you say, but there is a conflict over how involved people want the government to be.

    Personally, I do not want the government taking care of people because then it gives the government license to put their nose in where it does not belong.

    That is an issue that affects everyone, too. There is no limit to the freedoms that are given away by us for a few dollars of other people’s money. It’s sad. And it affects issues on both sides (liberal and conservative).

    I agree that in a prosperous country, we should all have healthcare. There are some very poor people who need our help. There is no reason why there shouldn’t be private organizations that people can give money to that will help provide healthcare to the poor. I am idealistic as well. I believe that people will help others if the government is not there to anymore.

    There are a lot of people who can afford health insurance, but choose not to, yet they have cable, go out to eat, and do other things that cost money. I have a hard time with the idea that other people’s money should pay for their own personal misuse of funds.

    I know it is anecdotal, but I have known so many people who I have worked with that opt out of good insurance policies. The most insane was this place where it was only $60 (paid twice monthly) for a policy for your whole family. There was this woman who opted out, yet had premium cable and went out for lunch often.

    I chose to bring my own lunch every day and I had only a TV antennae at home, but my kids and I had insurance.

    Why should other people pay for her poor choices?

    That is where the breakdown comes for me.

    Should we help the poor? Yes, of course. Should we enable people with poor money management and personal choices? No. Should we give all power and control over to the government in exchange for a feeling of comfort? No.

    Funny about that last question, if asked in the context of national security every liberal would say no, but asked in the context of national healthcare, they would all say yes!

    Thanks for your comments.

  24. Great discussion! I am one of those people who can’t afford family plan insurance right now. However, I am not entirely sure if I would opt for insurance if I could afford it. My reasons are not fully formed, hence the not entirely sure. I am not a fan of the insurance industry, and feel that they have too much control on costs and procedures already.

    I would rather take my dollars and spend for healthcare when I need it, not in case I need it (which is what you do with insurance). (And yes, I have cable, and no I am not going to apologize for my choices there.)

    I am not a fan of big government, but I am also not a fan of big business (which is how I view the health insurance industry).

  25. “I have a hard time with the idea that other people’s money should pay for their own personal misuse of funds.”

    This is a side question from the topic at hand, but would you advocate for an education curriculum that includes instruction for people on how to balance their checkbook? Invest for retirement? Buy a home? [i.e. practical life stuff]

    Without cable and *loving* it,
    - GTB

  26. “would you advocate for an education curriculum that includes instruction for people on how to balance their checkbook?”

    You hit the nail on the head GTB. I can’t believe that this isn’t part of the standard curriculum throughout the school system - personal finance. Teach it every year until it sinks in. Especially in VT, which has the highest credit card debt levels in the country.

  27. First, I have to clarify. I have nothing against cable. Actually, I now have cable internet access and the basic networks.

    I was just pointing out that people make choices. At that time in my life, I had to go without in order to have health insurance.

    If one chooses certain luxury items over insurance, then they have no right to turn around and demand insurance from the government.

    GTB, I think that it is a great idea to teach those life skills in school.

    It’s funny, just the other day I was telling someone that one of the benefits to homeschooling is that I have been able to teach my kids how to compare unit prices at the grocery store and shop within a budget, which they would not have learned in school. (They are only in grades 2 & 3. They will learn much more before I am through.)