Affordable Care vs Canadian Universal Health Care
September 30, 2017

I grow weary of the news stories about Affordable Health Care (Obama Care and the repeal of…) featured in the news from the United States these past months. I just cannot understand why the US Federal Government cannot find a way to provide affordable universal health care for all of its citizens. Especially, when as of 2009 there are “…58 countries in the world with legislation mandating Universal Health Care, along with > 90% health insurance coverage…” upon which the US might use as models.

My guess is that none of the models is perfect. There will always be those in a society who attempt to take advantage of whatever system is put in place. And regardless of the coverage, for some it will never be enough. Yet, the good of the society’s health in these countries is the motivational factor. So, what is the problem with the leaders in the US Federal Government?

The Toronto Star recently reported, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence blasts ‘failings’ of Canadian health system. Comments made by the Vice President on the “failings” of the Canadian Health Care system were made to the listeners of a radio broadcast in Alaska. It reminded me of a recent conversation I had with some visitors from the US to northwestern Ontario, Canada this past summer. Our conversation turned to health care to which I responded with a comment about my sadness for the American people who cannot seem to convince their leaders that this is a basic need of all citizenry. I shared in our conversation that I cannot remember the last time I had a bill for any medical procedure including the birth of our children and all of the various medical attention required for the cuts, scrapes and broken bones that appear to follow active kids in judo, dance, acrobatics and foolish play. This would include the 12 hours we spent in Emergency at the hospital in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec when my son was injured during the Ironman competition in Mont Tremblant.  Or, the number of times I have had to go to the nearest hospital while away from home and have always received exemplary and immediate care (and no bill for service).

It is easy to focus on the negative comments. It seems that those comments are always the loudest and the ones that ‘make the news’. I have no doubt that the stories we hear about the ‘failings’ of our system are true, yet I hasten to add that I believe they are in the minority. I live in a small, rural northern community, 3.5 hours drive from the nearest urban hospital. I see my family physician (in community) and my diabetes nurse at least twice a year. I receive notice of the need to get my flu shot each fall from Public Health and from my local Health Clinic. When I am not well, and believe I need to see a physician, I have always been seen in a reasonable length of time either at Emergency, or by appointment at the local Health Clinic. I have had few delays in getting appointments with specialists in what I deem reasonable time. Other than producing my current government health card and a list of current medications, I need nothing else to receive health care in Ontario.

In Canada, everyone pays into our Health Care through taxation. The pool of money, managed by Federal and Provincial Health Agencies, while not infinite is available to support the needs of the population. Money I pay is available for those in need at times when I don’t need the care. At those times when I need professional health care the funding is available to cover my needs. That we share in ensuring one another’s well-being on a national scale, speaks to our concern for one another and helps strengthen  what some like to call the Canadian identity.

So, Vice President Pence, with respect I ask, before you denigrate the Canadian model of  Universal Health care again to your citizens, I would appreciate you engaging in both sides of the Canadian picture of public universal health care instead of focusing only on the negative aspects. It is always easy to dwell on the negative!

Some days are just fraught with frustration…
August 23, 2008

Isn’t there a Murphy’s Law about when you are already really, really busy that a thousand other things will need your immediate attention? This week has been much like that so if there isn’t a Murphy’s Law about it there certainly should be one.

Joy and I have been busy all week preparing a wedding feast. We are well organized and have everything mostly ready for the event tomorrow but there have been so many interruptions that have drawn us away from the task at hand. Some of the interruptions are quite delightful; one never really minds when grandchildren appear and need a hug and a snack on their way to another great adventure. Aidan and Tannon frequently stop in on their way to their Grandma’s and Grandpa’s home (maternal grandparents live on the same street as we) or to the park at the end of the street. Three days ago Cloudia and her friend Hanna with Abby and Morgan in tow stopped in for a bathroom break, hugs and snack on their way to the park. Those are the good breaks. They refresh us and enliven us and bring considerable laughter to our home and to our lives.

It is the phone calls with blank air when one stops to answer a call while in the midst of putting a spice rub on pork tenderloin or seeding and chopping a dozen tomatoes. I am hoping that we can mitigate some of those annoying calls when the Canadian “Do Not Call Registry” is up and running. I am not certain about its effectiveness because our Federal Parliament does not have the political will to put any real teeth into it. But we will give it a try and then begin our own form of harassment to have it made into something worthwhile. Note to self: Think of creative ways to harass federal MPs  over lousy Do Not Call Registry*Grin*

More than that is the anxiety we have been feeling over getting the meal ready and dealing with the problems with our church’s manse. The church had the manse fixed up last summer and then we rented it in December. Our tenant left at the end of June and now we  are preparing the manse for the arrival of our Intern Minister. Much of last summer’s work has had to be redone. So we have been arranging for cleaners to come in and for the heating people to service the furnace and clean the ducts. In the process of getting this done we have been anticipating having to do the painting ourselves. That really means getting a group of our congregation together (in summertime) to do the painting. We have one week and also have another meal to cater on Wednesday next week.

The good news is that the painting contractor called to say he has finished a job elsewhere and “…if we still want him to paint the manse he is available…”. Now I am not prone to running about kissing people without at least more than a passing acquaintance but let me tell you, I came  close at this call. We inspected the house, accepted the price, chose the paint and the painting will be all done tomorrow. Yesssssss! *Big sighs of relief*

That’s the good news! Isn’t is strange how there is always a flip side? Yesterday I spoke to the cleaners. They are a diligent crew and do excellent work but our meeting was a litany of things they were struggling with: there is a hole in the toilet bowl so when one flushes the water rises above the hole and goes–you guessed it–on the floor. Now I know why the rags were wrapped around the toilet bowl when our tenant left. So we need to replace the toilet. When any of the hot water taps are turned on rust comes out. The water lines are copper and don’t rust. The culprit, a crack in the liner of the hot water tank. We need to replace the hot water tank. And speaking of toilets we may not be able to do much with the one in the basement. Anyone out there know any good plumbers that have time on their hands?

Then the other shoe fell. They have cleaned the carpets and they look great! It is the smell of the dog urine that they are having difficulty removing. So they are going to try some other things but if it doesn’t work then the carpets may have to be removed… Arggghhhhhhhhh! Livingroom, hallway and three bedrooms. Be still George. Note to self: Check blood pressure; have large drink; check blood pressure; have another large drink; forget blood pressure; hae nuthr dink…

A  r r u u u   u g   g    g h   hhhhhhhh hhhhh!                       GRB