Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Mythbusting Canadian Health Care -- Part I

My latest piece for The Big Con is up. This week's post is the first of a two-parter aimed at mythbusting common misconceptions about how Canada's health care system works:
2008 is shaping up to be the election year that we finally get to have the Great American Healthcare Debate again. Harry and Louise are back with a vengeance. Conservatives are rumbling around the talk show circuit bellowing about the socialist threat to the (literal) American body politic. And, as usual, Canada is once again getting dragged into the fracas, shoved around by both sides as either an exemplar or a warning -- and, along the way, getting coated with the obfuscating dust of so many willful misconceptions that the actual facts about How Canada Does It are completely lost in the melee.

I'm both a health-care-card-carrying Canadian resident and an uninsured American citizen who regularly sees doctors on both sides of the border. As such, I'm in a unique position to address the pros and cons of both systems first-hand. If we're going to have this conversation, it would be great if we could start out (for once) with actual facts, instead of ideological posturing, wishful thinking, hearsay, and random guessing about how things get done up here.

To that end, here's the first of a two-part series aimed at busting the common myths Americans routinely tell each other about Canadian health care. When the right-wing hysterics drag out these hoary old bogeymen, this time, we need to be armed and ready to blast them into straw. Because, mostly, straw is all they're made of.

This Friday at 2:00 EST (that's 11:00 for those of us on the left coast), I'll be doing some more mythbusting on the "Sound Off with Sasha" show on WGCU/WMKO FM, a PBS local station in southwestern Florida. You can catch the show online here, pick up the podcast here, or call in and join the fun at 877-GCU-TALK.

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