Saturday, March 13, 2010



If the United States ever muddles finally to a proper public health insurance scheme that doesn't leave tens of millions uninsured, the cost of medicare in Canada will be reduced because thousands of Americans will stop sneaking across our border to use fraudulent OHIP cards to get free treatment.
As Ontario doctors trying to blow the whistle on medicare fraud will tell you, Queen's Park hasn't been that vigilant even though we have to show an OHIP card on every visit even if the nurses know practically everything about you. How stupid! Is it they don't have the guts for a major fight with the States.
I needed a specialist's opinion on whether I had a problem, and the speciality was so rare, it took more than a year to get into his office. Then I waited four hours past my appointment time.
Much to my astonishment, the specialist was thrilled when I finally got into the inner sanctum.
He had a real live political columnist to show all the documents he had proving medicare fraud in the Detroit/Windsor area, documents he had sent to the province only to be ignored.
He couldn't stop talking when he finally got around to examining me because to him this fraud was rotting the vitals of medicare, and medicare was not to be trifled with.
The public in Ontario just got a taste of Americans cheating into our system when the clinics were held for swine flu shots. Americans went as far away from the border as Peterborough to get their shots faster than they could at home.
I think of these guerilla raids to get the benefits of OHIP and that frustrated but determined doctor when I listen to the garbage about medicare that passes for informed comment on American TV.
If our system is so bad, why do Americans cheat to use it?
If our system is so bad, why do they seduce our Canadian doctors with big bucks to move to the U.S.?
If our system is so bad, why did Al Gore, an opponent of our medicare, rely on Canadian medical research to save his young son whose throat had been ripped in a freak accident and was facing death?
It can be expected that the rabid commentators of Fox would pretend that Canada is some socialist mistake where critically ill people wait months for operations. The reality is that wait times are being reduced regularly and any critically-ill person does not have to wait a second for treatment.
It is sad that the self-styled greatest nation on earth is sagging under a record debt and a ruined political system where a twit like Governor Palin is considered as presidential material.
Since American are our cousins and many Canadians, like me, have children living and working in the U.S., Canadians should not be happy that the U.S. has ruined itself.
Our prosperity is intertwined with theirs. But the American ship of state is slipping beneath the waves and in a few decades, when China, followed by India, are the more important economies, all this vain American chest-thumping will seem even sillier than it does now.
I have watched more of the American health care debate than is reasonable, even most of the day when the two parties gathered in Blair House to seek common ground. At no time did I hear a reasonable explanation of how medicare has worked in Canada for decades. Are they ashamed that Canada, the loyal northern neighbour, and other countries have the kind of health care that millions of Americans crave?
Medicare is just one reason why Canadians know we live in a better country than the U.S. The minute Canadians leave their country, they start worrying about how they will survive if they become seriously ill outside of the vital medicare safety net.
To have our system trashed by American commentators is infuriating. The lack of knowledge that many Americans have about the rest of the world has become a critical problem because it means there is too much tolerance for their corrupt and inept political and financial system.
The Maple Leaf keeps looking better and better. And so does medicare!
And yet after Obama's legislative triumph, a group of Canadians were chatting with Americans in the condo pool and the woman from Maine kept saying how disgusted she was about all this socialism coming to her beloved country.
I told her that Americans would truly revolt if all the government benefits they already get were cancelled because they were socialism. She had no idea what I was talking about. But then all you have to do is watch Jay Leno do one of his Jay Walks for his TV show and it is obvious that many Americans have a shocking lack of knowledge of the world, including their own country.

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