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« ~Changes in attitudes, Changes in blogitudes~ | Main | Oh happy day.... »

November 04, 2008

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Janet

I voted! I got there at about 8:55 AM; there were no lines and lots of parking. I walked right in, got my ballot, walked right over to a non-curtained voting booth (hence no pictures) and voted my little heart out. As I submitted it, I looked to see what number my vote was...342 in the A-L section of my precinct. Woohoo!

kenju

AMEN! We voted last Monday.

Laura

Why does everyone keep telling me what ballot number they were? I have no idea what number mine was, LOL.

All week long they've been talking about the lines on TV. But I've yet to hear of a single line in Pinellas county.

dani

We went over to the church on Oakhurst and we were there maybe 15 minutes. Felt good seeing so many people turn out.

Linda

I had voted last Thursday. Not that it matters now, but I voted...and my guy lost. Socialism, here we come. First will be "affordable healthcare for all" which means socialized medicine...talk to some Canadians to see how well THAT works (my dad has to wait, sometimes for months, to get tests that are important and necessary...tests like "stress test" for heart disease - he's had a quadruple bypass). Then comes affirmative action...forget that the most qualified candidate walked through the door, you need to hire more minorities, whether they are qualified or not. Then comes immigration amnesty. So you're in the country illegally...so what? here you go, fill this out, pay this fine, learn some English and we'll let you stay.

I'm not happy...and I'm sorry I am posting my anger here....

Laura

My husband's family is from Canada and they complain about the same things you did in regard to waiting for tests and prompt health care. His grandmother was here last January, ended up in the hospital, and couldn't believe how quickly she was able to get tests taken care of, and also how quickly the tests results back. She still hasn't stopped talking about that.

Having said that, I know too many families who can't afford health insurance at all. Some of them live in mighty big homes, which they can't sell, and some are stuck, having lost their jobs as well.

I don't know if you have military coverage under your husband's plan, but the cost of private health insurance right now is beyond exorbitant. Obama has stated repeatedly that if you like your current health insurance, then you can keep it. Nothing changes there. So not everyone is subject to a nationalized health care plan.
McCain's plan, copied from his web site here, angered me in particular: "...families will be able to choose the insurance provider that suits them best and the money would be sent directly to the insurance provider."

Uh, no thanks. I really do not want to make another big business CEO rich. I really DONT think they have our best interests in mind.

As for immigration amnesty, what you mentioned isn't much different than what already exists in the country right now. I live in Florida, grew up in Miami, and it never ceases to amaze me how widespread the immigration problem is. Every time I cross the state to see my parents, I'm surrounded by dozens of Mexican illegals on the roads, some of who drive like you wouldn't believe. On a 2 lane highway for 4 hours, that's a scary drive. I never could figure out why we were denied my daughter's driver's license until we provided the original birth certificate, and yet they would issue a driver's licence to an illegal alien? The country has always had a lax policy toward immigration, that's not Obama's fault. I doubt McCain would have done a thing about it, because their labor helps big business.


Linda

The military health care, while "free" (which it isn't, my husband does pay - not much, but you get what you pay for, they always say), is much like socialized medicine. It took me 6 months to get in to see a doctor...and by the time I finally got my appointment (by having to LIE and say it was for diabetic followup, which a: I'm not diabetic (yet!) and b: it wasn't a followup...but it was the ONLY slot available), I had several other medical issues. The doctor had the gall to tell me he could only address 3 issues...and I said I wasn't going to leave till they were all addressed because I didn't want to wait another six months.

All I hope for is a better life. If Obama can promise that to some, he better be able to make it better for everyone...that's all.

Nils

I'm a Canadian, Linda. And some Canadians bitch about our health care system. But I promise you, if they lived in the U.S. they would bitch about your system as well. Louder. Because some people just like to bitch.

For the most part, Canadians look in astonishment at the U.S. health care system. My daughters, in following the various debates, finally asked me to explain how the U.S. health care system worked, and sat in dumb amazement as I explained that 43 million Americans did not have health insurance and therefore (if they got care at all) received a standard of care that no Canadian would ever accept.

They sat slack-jawed as I explained to them how your eligibility for insurance was determined. "So ... the people deciding how much treatment a person gets is ... the insurance company? But ... isn't it in their interest to DENY coverage?"

My daughter was able to visit her doctor at any time throughout her pregnancy - and can now take my grandson to a pediatrician any time - and never give a moment's thought to anything but the health of her child. My father received the very best in cancer treatment and not once did he have to dip into his life savings or worry that he would leave my Mom unprovided for. When my brother was felled by a heart attack and a team of doctors worked feverishly to try to keep him alive, my sister-in-law did not have to sit in the waiting room trying to figure out how she would come up with the money she needed to pay for what was state-of-the-art care in a first-class heart facility. And when he died despite their heroic efforts, her grief was not exacerbated by the insult of a grotesque medical bill.

Our second child died shortly after birth. After a difficult labour which involved a number of specialists, she was born, diagnosed immediately with a severe and rare heart condition, and rushed by ambulance to a University teaching hospital. There, a team of pediatric specialists worked for two days to keep her alive and - when that became a lost cause - keep her as comfortable as they could in her last hours.

I was unemployed at the time. My wife had had to give up her job during a difficult pregnancy. Neither of us would have been eligible for health insurance. One estimate of the cost of that week - given the stature of the doctors involved and the nature of the care my wife and daughter received - was in excess of $100,000 ... in 1982. You may see some justice in adding bankruptcy or crippling debt to the tragedy we experienced. I don't.

Sometimes, there can be what seem like excessive waits for certain services in Canada (although when I went to the hospital in April, concerned about mild chest pains, I was whisked in and given exemplary care. Turned out to be muscular, not heart related. What happened to my brother had made me gun-shy.).

By and large, most Canadians see our health care system as flawed but generally acceptable. We constantly demand that our politicians do more and make our health care system work better. But we know that for all its flaws, it is among the best in the world.

I get annoyed at Americans who make facile, uninformed remarks about the Canadian health care system. It pissed me off when John McCain shrugged off a public system as "putting civil servants in charge of your health care" (as opposed to "low level clerks whose job depends on denying your claim", I suppose). He clearly was as uninformed and cavalier about the Canadian health care system as he was about what he dismissed as " ...the so-called "health" of the mother" (complete with derisive air quotes) in discussing late-term abortion.

For years, your health care system has been run by insurance companies and HMOs. They have lobbied extensively - and spent millions of dollars in Washington - to protect their interests. And the reason they can afford to spend those millions is that they know that chances are, after years of paying premiums, when you come to claim proper care they can deny you because of a "pre-existing condition" or some other fancy corporate quick-step.

They have also spent millions on "education" - "teaching" you and John McCain and others that public health care is substandard and the first step along the road to *gasp* socialism.

Well, I'll tell you what: ask any Canadian if he would trade systems. For all its flaws, we know that universal health care - making sure that the most vulnerable people in society have at LEAST the standard of care you might give your poodle - is the only measure of a compassionate and just society.

Anything less is beneath the dignity of a country that presumes to call itself "civilized".

Laura - VitaminSea

Nils, I have found that most people bitch when they're frustrated, although it's true that some do it simply out of habit. But there are times when it has merit and I think this is one of those times.

Your overall comment is well taken; however I doubt your daughters needed to sit back in "slack-jawed," "dumb amazement" as you described your personal opinion of our health care system.

We do have some of the most highly trained and well qualified health care professionals in the world, and there was no need to make the US sound as if we only offer substandard care that you wouldn't accept for a poodle.

I also think you should have mentioned that your wife works for the hospital on your small island as a physiotherapist, thus, I'm sure you would have been given prompt and excellent care whether it was for a busted thumb or chest pains.

Having listened for over 25 years to my husband's Canadian family members discuss the problems they've had with their doctors and with scheduling for tests, whether it was for cancer or diabetes, I can honestly tell you that they do NOT think they have the best system around. They have told us, however, that they're contented overall with the quality of their doctors, hospitals and staff, however the waits and other details need a lot of work.

They are happy tho,that they don't have to worry in the event of a catastrophic illness... as their medical needs will be taken care of.
Maybe not in a timely manner, but it would happen. Every situation is different.

Having said that, I can see the pros and cons of both systems, and I might be one of the few Americans that is in favor of having the health care insurance industry fall under regulation by the government. The current free market approach is marked by greed by executive CEO's with their bottom line in mind, and competition has not kept either the prices down, nor quality up.

If we are to expect any positive outcome with this election, we should loudly voice our suggestions and opinions to the White House, our legislatures and to the media, and fight for what we want to happen. Without voice, nothing will happen.

Nils

I'm sorry if I was unclear. At no time did I intend to impugn the skill or qualifications of the people working in the care-giving end of the health care system in the U.S. They are second to none, of that I am sure.

In fact, I think we agree that of all the problems either health care system has, the front line people - doctors, nurses, and other professionals - are not among them. They do remarkable work under extraordinary pressure, and that is true on both sides of the border.

When I talk about substandard care, I am referring to HMOs and non-medical sectors of your health care system that routinely deny treatment or force families to make excruciating financial decisions. Denying treatment to a family or forcing a family into bankruptcy or financial distress amount to providing sub-standard medical care, in my book. When an HMO forces a family to choose between rent and chemotherapy because of some invented "precondition", then they are, in effect, providing a level of care I would not accept for my poodle.

I didn't mention what my wife did for a living because I didn't believe it was germaine to my argument, but yes, she does work in the health care system, and yes, if I were brought into her department I am sure I'd be given extra special care. Beyond that, I don't know that bandying her name about would get me anywhere. There are hundreds of people who work at the hospital, and everybody has brothers, sisters, spouses, kids, and cousins.

We can agree that both systems have problems. And I'd say we even agree that the closest to an ideal system would be a hybrid of both.

I was simply reacting to what we in Canada view as an ignorant perspective of our health care system. If my clumsy choice of words implied that I thought doctors or nurses down there are somehow less than the best, I'm sorry.

I should pick my arguments better.

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