Saturday, July 25, 2009

In the Middle of the Mud

Lately, I've felt like I'm in the middle of the mud storm... as politicians in the United States fight back and forth about the possibility of a "government option" to somehow fix health care. The right has been continually saying that they don't want "Canadian-style" health care, and if the government interferes, it will lead to the terribly Canadian system be replicated here. They've even found a Canadian who agrees with them, and have been putting her on TV and in commercials. It seems, however, that there seem to be some inconsistencies in her story. But more concerning to me is the terribly offensive quotation I just read from Congressman Paul Broun, M.D., Republican of Georgia:

". . . and that's exactly what's going on in Canada and Great Brittan today. They don't have the appreciation of life, as we do in our society, apparently. And . . . a lot of people are gonna die this program of 'government option' is being touted as this panacea, the savior of allowing people to have quality health care at an affordable price -- is gonna kill people."

There are so many problems with this. I am not a politician or a physician, and I certainly don't have the intellectual equipment or time to refute the whole thing. However, it does merit a mention that the proposed reforms to the U.S. system bear only the most vague of resemblances to the U.K. or Canadian systems, which further, bear only the most vague of resemblances to each other.

But what really bothers me about this statement by Dr. Broun is that he seems to be seriously suggesting that Canadians and Britons do not value human life in the same way that people in the U.S. do. What does that even mean? Mothers and fathers in the U.K. love their children, children love their parents, people love their friends. Murder is punishable by life imprisonment, not rewarded. In Canada, old ladies get helped across the street, and in nearly a year here, I have yet to hear anyone shout, "hooray for no-seat-belt Friday!"

I am not, by the way, saying that the Canadian or British systems are perfect. They aren't. All three systems are imperfect and financially costly. Since the purpose of this blog isn't to beat politics into the ground, I'm not going to try to fix things, or say "yay Canadian Health care system," although I have had largely positive experiences. As a U.S. citizen in Canada, I can confidently say that neither side has a monopoly on screwing things up.

I think I will just end with a favourite hymn of mine, "This Is My Song" with words by Lloyd Stone:

This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine
My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
And sunlight beams on clover leaf and pine.
But other lands have sunlight too and clover,
And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
This is my song O God of all the nations,
A song of peace for their land and for mine.
(Generally sung to the tune of Jean Sibilus's Finlandia.)

1 comment:

ashupe said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I really thought of the whole debate when you posted on facebook that you had to go back to Canada to go to the doctor this summer.
Since John and I announced we were moving there, one of the frequent responses is "Oh, you have to be on their health care...that's terrible! You'll have to wait in line for months to get a cast put on a broken leg or get a knife pulled out of your face," etc. And my response is usually, as opposed to what? The imaginary health care we have here?