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Monday, January 21, 2008

Better Dead Than… Canadian

posted by on January 21 at 15:51 PM

State Senator Mike Carrell (R-28) tried to undermine Senator Karen Keiser’s universal health-care bill at the hearing this afternoon by grilling her star witness, state Senator Jon Erpenbach from Wisconsin. Erpenbach is the author of a plan in Wisconsin that Keiser is using as the model for her plan. (Given that our legislature is only in session part time, there’s a lot of that around here.)

Senator Carrell tried a little scare mongering. He brought up the right wing’s shorthand for socialism. “Given that Wisconsin is on the border with Canada,” Carrell began harrumphing, “doesn’t your plan parallel theirs?”

Senator Erpenbach laughed—gave Carrell a geography lesson—and appropriately Carrell’s loaded analogy quickly came unglued. “No, it doesn’t [parallel the Canada model] except that everyone is covered,” he quipped getting another round of laughter at the geographically challenged Republican’s expense.

I’m still trying to get up to speed on how Senator Keiser’s plan would work. I’m going to start with this recent editorial by Senator Erpenbach.

RSS icon Comments


Canada. Theirs. ONE read-through before you post would suffice, Josh.

Posted by Emily | January 21, 2008 4:13 PM

We are Canada's mexico, Wisconson is the upper penninsula's Mexico

Posted by vooodooo84 | January 21, 2008 4:18 PM

The linked editorial gives no clue as to how the plan works. If the proponent can't explain it, how can we support it?

And it's sad to see our legislators distancing themselves from Canada or any type of national health care plan.

We need to be more honest and direct and say national health care basically works in all the countires that have it. That they also pay far less for health care than we do -- and have better outcomes.

You hear a lot of talk about unfair trade, too, and losing jobs to trade.

But the biggest subsidy other industrialized nations give to the companies our companies are competing with is other countries' nationalized health care.

We're not going to make them stop. So, until we have national health care, we are saddling our businesses with a huge cost their competitors don't carry.

This is like a plan to destroy jobs and our economy, cause shorter lifespans and less health, make us pay more for health care, and enrich insurance companies.

Posted by Cleve | January 21, 2008 4:35 PM

@3 I've talked to people from Canada and they don't like their health plan so much as it takes forever to see a doctor. It's to the point that those who can afford it (which is much easier now with our weak dollar) fly down to the states to have any expensive surgery done.

I don't have a problem with modeling our system on one from another country, but I don't think Canada's the right one. I've heard that France has a very good system, but I'm sure it won't be long before someone comes along to prove otherwise.

Posted by Mike of Renton | January 21, 2008 5:22 PM

Isn't Washington state kinda close to Canada?

Posted by Trevor | January 21, 2008 5:22 PM

Shouldn't this read, as a matter of style, "Sen. Mike Carrell (R-Lakewood)" to give some meaning to his location, rather than just the district?

Posted by brappy | January 21, 2008 5:29 PM

@5: Well, yes.

But we certainly don't share a border with Wisconsin!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 21, 2008 5:37 PM

The plural of anecdote is not data.

That said, here's mine: US citizen, recently moved to Vancouver to attend UBC. Getting in to see a doctor was fast and easy. Getting in to see a specialist for a non-urgent condition that was being adequately treated with drugs took several weeks, and getting an appointment for gastroscopy is taking forever. For comparison, a friend had kidney stones and was in an MRI the next day.

For $45/month, I can accept the trade off for non-urgent care. Particularly if I think about all the people whose option wouldn't be slightly better medical care, it would be none at all.

Posted by gfish | January 21, 2008 5:37 PM

If the American right wing hates Canada they must be doing something right up there. I have lived in the States for most of my adult life but I am still proud of my (ex)home and native land.

Posted by RainMan | January 21, 2008 7:28 PM

Both the US and Canada ration health care, but Canada does it much more intelligently than we do.

Among the first world nations, We are at the bottom of the heap for everything but arrogance. We rely on sound bytes and heresay and internet emails to form our opinions. How did we get so stupid so quick?

Posted by catalina vel-duray | January 21, 2008 7:35 PM

@10 the two-party system, or high fructose corn syrup I can't decide which

Posted by vooodooo84 | January 21, 2008 8:19 PM

Imagine just for a second that we had the Canadian system but funded it at the level we currently spend on health care (i.e., all the money we spend went to doctors instead of to pharmaceutical advertising and insurance companies)--probably about twice what the Canadians spend. Don't think there'd be a lot of waiting under that system.

Posted by sicko | January 21, 2008 8:52 PM

@4 "It's to the point that those who can afford it (which is much easier now with our weak dollar) fly down to the states to have any expensive surgery done."

Batcrap. Urban legend spread by big health and the insurance companies.

I've both worked and traveled extensively in Canada. I've rarely met an actual live Canadian who complains about their system. The overwhelming majority react in shock and horror at ours.

Posted by gnossos | January 21, 2008 8:55 PM


Exactly. Living in Canada, talking to Canadians, they have some complaints about their health care. They wish Harper would take more action on it. Some more funding, some more work with the provinces on reducing wait times.

They see their system as requiring tweaks. They see the US system as a freakish Social Darwinian experiment that should have ended in the 30's along with forced sterilization.

As an exercise, find Canada and the United States this chart of medically preventable deaths per 100,000:

Posted by John | January 21, 2008 9:15 PM

I also hear a lot about consumer choice and how "socialized medicine" limits that choice.

What kind of choice does someone have when you can't afford any of the options?

Posted by Donolectic | January 21, 2008 10:35 PM

Donolectic @ 15

I also hear a lot about consumer choice and how "socialized medicine" limits that choice.

What kind of choice does someone have when you can't afford any of the options?

Plus there's the fact that we really don't have consumer choice in the US. Most of us who are fortunate enough to have health care have it through our employers, our only "choice" is from a variety of plans with different provider networks and co-pays. And if my employer decides to save money and change health care plans to an insurance company that sucks I can't do a damned thing about it other than find another job.

Posted by wile_e_quixote | January 22, 2008 1:27 PM

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