Saturday, October 3, 2009

Not The Belly Of The Beast

This week, I re-enter the Canadian national health system for tests to see if my cancer returned since the last round of treatment ended six months ago.

For those of you in the States who might be starting to believe the Republican noise machine, be assured that I’ve not been on a waiting list or pleading my case before a death panel and, regardless of the outcome, I won’t be handed a staggering bill on my way out the door. The only inconvenience – besides waiting anxiously to learn the results – is that I couldn’t get an appointment when I wanted. I’d asked for Monday morning but am stuck with midday on Thursday.

Hardly a journey into the belly of the beast – apologies to Jack Abbott and Norman Mailer – as right wing lunatics keep insisting is the only possible outcome of a government-sponsored public option.

Yes, it’s personally unnerving and thoroughly unpleasant but at least I don’t have to worry about an insurance company pulling the rug out from under me because I’m denting its bottom line, forcing me into bankruptcy. Nor do I have to fret that whoever represents my riding in Parliament is a complete idiot like the grotesquely insensitive Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA). At a town hall meeting recently, he told a constituent suffering from years of clinical depression but can’t afford health insurance to pay for a psychiatrist to “go to an emergency room.”

Actually, the man did go to an emergency room – after he tried committing suicide.

As Georgia Liberal so aptly noted on Thursday, “Treating major depression is not a one-shot deal. That is like saying cancer patients should get treatment one night in the ER and it is all better.”

If only.

Oh, and in case Broun The Knuckledragger didn’t notice, people receive a bill for going to the ER. It ain’t free in the US which is why hospitals hire collection agencies, and sue patients who can’t pay, forcing sick people who are hapless victims of an awful system into bankruptcy.

Thanks Max Baucus and the ObstructaDems and the GOP and Fox and the medico-insurance complex. You’ve really done a number on America. The question for us is: Why are we sitting at home reading this instead of storming Washington demanding the change we voted for?


Pete in Florida said...

Because money talks and the politicians don't walk. And that includes Obama who doesn't have the balls to flip-off the insurance companies.

Don't even get me started about Afganistan. Our military-industrial complex is chaffing at the bit on this one.

And this is why I'm leaving this god-forsaken country as soon as Social Security and my pension kick in.

Don't worry about your C returning. Your have far more competent physicians in Canada then we do. Ours are all business people.

A Proud Right Wing Terrorist said...

If you like socialism so much then stay in Canada, you traitor. Down here in a real democracy, we're busy fighting socialism and government takeover of our lives!!!!!!

Charley James - The Progressive Curmudgeon said...

@ Proud Right Wing: Thanks for admitting that you are a "terrorist." I'll be happy to pass along your ISP coordinates to DHS.



Kathy Levitz said...

I am a 'bleeding heart' social worker who would add that the fact that everyone in Canada has (by and large) equal access to medical care has a profound impact on the overall quality of life and of community.

In my work, medical care is one less hurdle the families need to address. Sadly some families don't use the system until a crisis occurs because of competing pressures including life long depression. Sometimes the system fails them too by virtue of the transitory nature of medical residents and interns who often serve the most disadvantaged. These problems are different from not having any choice, of course.

I was visiting someone in a hospital palliative care unit this past week and the patients who appeared to represent the full social spectrum, were treated with such a touching combination of respect, compassion, good humour and pain management.