Stupidity in the Health Care Debate

Republican Response

Fearmongering in the United States over President Obama’s modest proposals to reform health care has gone to absolutely stupid levels. The amount of disinformation and outright lies about the Canadian and British health care systems is personally insulting. I guess trying to terrorize the American voting public by implying that a proposed government health care system would legalize government-encouraged euthanasia shows exactly who’s the one really terrorized by the proposals, and that would be the big business interests who fear losing out on milking decent Americans of their health care dollars once Americans finally obtain decent health care.

Consider this editorial from the Investor’s Business Daily:

The U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) basically figures out who deserves treatment by using a cost-utility analysis based on the “quality adjusted life year.”

One year in perfect health gets you one point. Deductions are taken for blindness, for being in a wheelchair and so on.

The more points you have, the more your life is considered worth saving, and the likelier you are to get care.

People such as scientist Stephen Hawking wouldn’t have a chance in the U.K., where the National Health Service would say the life of this brilliant man, because of his physical handicaps, is essentially worthless.

I found this link thanks to Chet Scoville of the Vanity Press. His response is gold:

That would, of course, be the Stephen Hawking who was born in Oxford, teaches at Cambridge, and has spent his entire life in the UK.

To Americans reading this: Canada’s health care system isn’t perfect, but it’s a darn sight better than what you have. And I say this as one who has experienced extensive health care north and south of the border. Erin and I have dealt with two pregnancies, a major neurological disorder, not to mention several minor illnesses and injuries north of the border. We know south of the border, too: Erin had a brain tumor, and Erin’s father had to have a hole in his heart closed by the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

In all cases, Canadian or American, we’ve had little complaint about the actual quality of care. We weren’t put on long waiting lists, we had access to top-quality care (including midwife care), and we’ve been able to choose the doctors we want. But the bill we received from Grand River Hospital in Kitchener for the birth of Nora was just $41. The bill we received for full midwifery care from 12 weeks into the pregnancy to 6 weeks after the birth came to exactly $0. By comparison Erin’s brain tumor in Minneapolis left her nearly bankrupt and owing $5000. My father-in-law’s Mayo Clinic visit was covered by his workplace’s health insurance, and thank God for that, but with deductions, they still ended up paying thousands for the life saving surgery.

From this, I can tell you which system is better. And it’s north.

Suaad Hagi Mohamud

An Update on the Suaad Hagi Mohamud Case

I’ve just heard the good news from Dr. Dawg: Somali-Canadian Suaad Hagi Mohamud, who was detained in Kenya on accusations that she was not the woman in her passport photograph, has been vindicated through DNA testing.

DNA tests have confirmed a Toronto woman marooned in Kenya really is who she says she is.

Somali-born Suaad Hagi Mohamud has been stuck in Nairobi for more than two months after she was told her lips did not match her passport photo when she tried to travel home.

Mohamud says she is glad the “nightmare is finally over.”

Her Canadian lawyer Raoul Boulakia says the 99.9 per cent positive test results means no one can dispute his client’s identity any longer.


It should be noted that the $800 to perform this DNA test was paid for by the Canadian government, so thanks for that. However, the fact remains that this Canadian citizen was put through the nightmare of being accused of being an impostor of herself, threatened with deportation to Somalia and, for the first couple of weeks, received next to no help from the Canadian government. This despite the vague reasons for the dismissal of her passport, and despite testimony from facial recognition experts that she was who she said she was. The Department of Foreign Affairs failed to protect her interests, and had to be cajoled by Ms. Mohamud’s lawyer, by her Member of Parliament, and by dozens of friends and neighbours and other average Canadians who took an interest in this case. Even with the DNA tests apparently proving her identity, members of our federal government will not, days later, commit to returning Ms. Muhamud home. Shameful!

Between this and other cases, shake my confidence in the ability and the willingness of the Department of Foreign Affairs to defend the rights of Canadians abroad. And the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lawrence Cannon, has to answer for the failures of his department. He contributed to the stonewall that Ms. Muhamud had to fight against, and he was wrong. If this government was as accountable as it claimed to be, what should his next step be? What should the next step be of any minister that allowed this mess to happen?

For further reading, Dr. Dawg has been sticking to this case, like a (ahem) bulldog.

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