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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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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