A Health Care Lesson From a Rich Canadian

This is how beloved Canadian health care is.Image Source/ZUMAPRESS

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I got this email from a friend a few days ago and thought I’d share it:

I go to conferences which often have Canadian participants. Once I was speaking with a Canadian, who turned out to be extremely fiscally conservative. Thus, I steered clear of politics but we stumbled on healthcare because he mentioned that his spouse had suffered from two major cancer incidents. I mentioned that this must have been a financial disaster for him. He responded — very nonchalantly — basically along the lines of oh no that was mostly handled by our health care service. His out-of-pocket was fairly low under his supplemental insurance. Both times. Wife is doing well in remission. I asked — because I had heard it — whether treatment was delayed because of the limited number of doctors, etc. I got a weird bemused look in return and he just said no, there was no issue with it. That was really it. He didn’t praise or condemn the system. It was just a positive fact of his existence in Canada.

Then he complained at length about taxes, too much government intervention in all aspects of life, stifled innovation, etc. This guy was wealthy, successful in business, travelled, had houses, etc. And apparently still had a living spouse to share them with without risk or fear of bankruptcy. He reminded me of the many firebreathing Medicare recipients in the U.S. who despise the government, complain about bankrupting the nation, high taxes, welfare louts, but are highly defensive of Medicare — with no self-awareness.

It makes me kind of want to say to conservatives here that, it’s OK, you can totally be for national healthcare and still be a dick about it and everything else. It won’t turn you into a liberal. I’ve seen it!

Consider it said. Hey conservatives! You can totally be for national health care but continue to be a dick about it and everything else!

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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