By Judi Curry
I attended a most informative meeting at the OB Rec Center on May 16 on the subject of “Health Care Reform”. The focal point was on a “Single Payer Health Care” and a Healthcare Movie was shown to the audience.
The film revealed the true story of how the health care systems in Canada and the US evolved so differently when, at one, point, they were essential the same. Statistics are overwhelming –not just in comparing the Canadian health care system to ours, but in just looking at the stats overall.
The film was produced by an American/Canadian couple and …
“. . . it reveals the public relations campaigns that have been prevalent in the United States since the early 1900 to dissuade the American public from supporting national health care. It also shows the personal and emotional impact on Canadians who now have access to health care because of heroism of people who took a stand to bring universal health care to Canada over 50 years ago.”
Since the early 1900’s, people have fought against a single payer health system in the United States. The system has been branded “socialistic” – “governmental takeover”, etc – words that intended to strike fear in the American public so that they would not approve this type of medical system.
This fear has have been prevalent in the years 1933, 1945, 1948 – and up until today many public office holders, funded by Insurance Companies, are afraid of a National Health System. In the film Senator Teddy Kennedy (now deceased) talks about the excellent coverage his son received when he lost his leg to cancer.
He said he knew that his son was probably receiving the best care of anyone in the hospital, not because of who Kennedy was, but because of the excellent health coverage afforded him while being in the Senate. He said he worried about others in the hospital that did not receive the same type of coverage and was outraged that his insurance was not available to others outside of the government.
In 1948, a movement was started to have all physicians negatively begin talking about a National health system. They were encouraged to say that a program of this sort was medical socialism. They were instructed to use fear tactics with their patients. “You know, if this program goes through I will not be your doctor anymore. You will have to go where you are told to go.”
In 1961 Ronald Regan came out opposed to a medical program. In 1977 Jimmy Carter proposed a national medical program. Kennedy and Ford went argued profusely about a national medical program. In 1993, the Clinton administration proposed a Single Payer Medical program. All of the program were defeated.
In 2009, 75% of the public approved a single taxpayer program. 57% of those responding to the survey said that they approved higher taxes so that everyone would be covered.
But those against this type of program again started their fear tactics – and told the American taxpayers that if there was a National Health program the government would step between the doctor the patient in health decisions. That is completely false.
Do you know who steps in between the doctor and the patient now? THE INSURANCE COMPANIES! They would be eliminated because they would not be needed, and would lose billions and billions of dollars. In talking about how well foreign countries do with governmental health care the answer was “ . . . the real problem with foreign health care is that it is foreign.”
I have heard, and I am sure that many of you have also, that there are huge waiting periods to have surgery done in those countries where Universal Health Care is the norm. In a way that is true – for ELECTIVE surgery. But if you need to see a doctor for something immediately, there is no wait. Emergencies are seen right away as are illnesses.
It is disheartening that so many people do not want to help those that need help. In Canada, the people are there to help others. In a vote by the Canadian people, Tommy Douglas was voted the Greatest Canadian in 2004 for his devotion to social causes, his charm and his powers of persuasion.
Known as the “Father of Medicare,” this one-time champion boxer and fiery preacher entered politics in the 1930s and never looked back. And what did he do? He started Medicare in Saskatchewan and stuck to his belief that “everyone needs free medical care.” He felt that “men are more important that making money” and that “humans should come first.”
There was testimonial after testimonial in this film about Canadian health care. One parent talked about how their infant was born with a heart defect. They lived in Winnipeg. They, and the baby were flown to Ontario where the best cardiac hospital was located. The baby had heart surgery at least twice; the parents were put up in a hotel for the 4 months the baby was a patient and the cost to them – nothing. It was all paid for by their Universal health program.
Do you have any idea of how many bankruptcies there are in America because of high medical expenses? Would the number 922,818 surprise you?
Would it surprise you to know that 50,700,000 Americans do not have insurance?
Would it surprise you to note that 115,071,110 people that have insurance cannot afford the co-pays and do not see the doctors. In a study done a few years back the conclusion stated that “the lack of a universal health coverage system in America is the biggest burden on our financial system.”
There are a few other statistics I’d like to share with you. The Affordable Care Act in place now
- Lets millions of young adults stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26
- Ends insurance company power to cap the amount of care a person can receive in a lifetime
- Stops insurance companies from canceling coverage when someone gets sick
- Stops insurance companies from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions
- Ends discrimination against adults with pre-existing conditions beginning in 2014.
There are many more benefits for the health reform for the American People. It is interesting to note that the League of Women Votes supports single payer health care reform over the federal health care reform Affordable Care Act. On their web site – and here and/or you will find an enlightening comparison of both programs. I’d like to suggest that you take a look at these pages.
I think you might be surprised to find that no bad boogie man is there to take away your rights. In fact, you may be surprised to find that you will have a greater say in your medical treatment. Don’t believe the stories of socialism, dictatorships, etc. Look and read the pages as if you were the CEO of an insurance company and you might lose your amazing yearly salary.
Remember, The California Universal Healthcare Act would “deliver health care to everyone, while the insurance industry attempts to avoid the sick, deny claims, and pass on the expenses.” And one more thing – if you get a chance to see the “Healthcare Movie” don’t miss it. It will be one of the most enlightening short film – 1 hour – you have seen in a long time.
And just a little aside – the League is going to start a unit right here in Ocean Beach/Point Loma. Look for dates for the first meeting.