We must all do better on healthcare

Nothing is more important than our health, isn’t it? Sad to see that around 24 million Americans are now set to lose the health insurance they gained through Obamacare. And if you have a pre-existing condition, getting insurance will probably be as difficult as it was prior to Obamacare.

While President Donald Trump is busy dismantling the legacy of Barack Obama, and hurting millions of innocent Americans in the process, California is looking at greater independence. In fact, that U.S. state is planning to implement a single-payer healthcare system, not unlike the one we have in Canada. In devising its own plan, California studied the Canadian system in great detail.

But if California’s plan materializes, Canadians will have every right to get green with envy, for the plan is supposed to cover all medical care, including inpatient, outpatient, emergency care, dental, vision, mental health and nursing home care.

Where does that leave Canadians, who are so proud of their system?

Well, for a start, we don’t get the kind of free choice of doctors and specialists that the Californian plan envisages. Nor does our universal system cover the entire human body – if you’re about to go blind or run the risk of chronic heart disease due to bad teeth, you’re out of a luck if you live in Canada, because vision and dental, for some inexplicable reason, aren’t covered by universal healthcare in Canada.

As everyone knows, what happens in the mouth can have serious consequences for the rest of your body, yet the Canadian system has somehow decided that your mouth and teeth don’t exist, just as you don’t have any eyes either. According to Canada’s universal healthcare system, your teeth and eyes are mere luxury items, and you’ll have to pay (dearly!) to maintain them.

Again, the Americans, at least those in California, are just a tad smarter than their Canadian neighbours.

You will have noticed that I have italicized the word universal throughout this article, because where Canada’s healthcare system is concerned, there is no genuine universality. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians across the country don’t have a regular family doctor, and seeing a specialist or obtaining surgery is an undertaking best planned several years ahead of time – because you will linger on some waiting list for years in many cases.

Nor is the system the same everywhere in Canada – which is not really one country, but in fact several independent countries. Some procedures and specialists are easier to gain access to in some provinces than others, and certain types of medication may not be available at all in some provinces, while they are not only available but also covered (at least partially) by the public system in others.

In short, the system as it stands today is garbage, but even hinting at reforming it is considered a hate crime, which is why no one ever dares address the issue.

But thankfully I’m an optimist. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for California and hope they can realize their healthcare plan. And if it works out, perhaps, we in Canada can follow their example and reform our own system along their approach. After all, California, Québec and Ontario already cooperate on cap-and-trade in the carbon market.

Let’s not just be carbon partners; let’s go further and become healthcare partners as well.

Author: Werner Patels

Translator - Thinker - Writer

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