My wife and I took a vacation in Maine in mid-September. In the lobby of the motel where guests flock for free coffee, I ran into two couples from Toronto. It didn’t take long for the Canadians to swing the conversation over to a subject that truly baffles them: How in the world can the United States cling to a health care system that is so obviously broken and unfair and expensive? Adding to their bewilderment is the fact that the entire rest of the Western world has abandoned this foolish model.
I told my Canadian friends that I was not an advocate of the American system and asked them how they felt about the many scare stories about the Canadian system that have been floated by American opponents of a Canadian-style system. You know, the very scare stories floated here in Vermont on a regular basis by the people and groups dedicated to killing our state’s effort to get to a single-payer system.
All four of the Canadians laughed. And laughed some more. It took a minute or two before they could respond that the stories were bunk. Other than longer waits for some tests and to see some specialists, they love their system. And all four of these people chimed in that the long waits aren’t nearly as “dangerous” as portrayed in the scare stories — the stronger the need for the test or the specialist, the shorter the wait.
I told them what my wife and I pay for health insurance: a $4,000 deductible, plus some $800 per month in premiums, plus co-pays. I didn’t get into the rules about “out of network” approvals, or the frequent disputes and misunderstandings about exactly what is covered if you are sick enough to exceed the $4,000 deductible.
I think my Canadian friends are still laughing.
BenningtonMORE IN Letters
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Capt. James Cook discovers and names Christmas Island, Brits develop and test H-bombs there in 1957-58; 100 years ago today, Christmas truce takes hold on Western Front in France, combatants observe the holiday.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Gen. Wm. T. Sherman concludes March to the Sea, secures Savannah, Ga., offers the city as Christmas gift to Pres. Lincoln; N.Y.'s Lincoln Tunnel opens in 1937; first gorilla born in captivity, Colo, celebrates 58th birthday today.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Brent Curtis reports on the probe into a city bar fight involving police officers; Vt. Yankee has its last media day event before final shutdown next week; Depot Park hosts annual vigil to raise awareness of plight of homeless.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Gas Systems puts Phase 2 on hold as the latest estimate for Phase 1 takes a 27 percent leap upward, to a total of $157 million; U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin quits for job with private firm; police cite man in pot bust.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Christmas bombing of North Vietnam ordered by President Richard Nixon, most lethal strikes of the war; in 1989, U.S. invades Panama to depose, arrest and charge Gen. Manuel Noriega with drug trafficking, racketeering.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Gov. Peter Shumlin announces demise of his single-payer health insurance initiative; convicted first-degree murderer Alan Prue sentenced to 50 years for killing teacher Melissa Jenkins; veterans chafed about park naming snub.