One thing we can all agree on is something has to be done.  We Americans are always keen to note the grass is always greener on the other side.  Here is a letter to the editor from my local newspaper from a contemporary of mine who married and moved to Canada.  It appears Leigh knows what he is talking about even though some won't give him credit.  Read it and weep.

"To the editor:

I was recently in town for my class reunion. I read an article in the Aug. 4 issue on David Ryan. In that article, Ryan said Americans should move in the direction of Canada's public health-care system as it works so well. I was born and raised in Saranac Lake and moved to Canada in 1989, so I have had firsthand experience with their public health care system for 20 years.

I find that generally when people think of the Canadian system, they think it is free. It is not. If you are employed, medical is deducted out of your paycheck. Currently, my husband and I are self-employed, and we have to pay $90 monthly for medical insurance. That amount is probably less than we would pay in the U.S., but we still have to pay if we want coverage.

I admit that when you see a doctor or have to be hospitalized, there is no cost to you, which is the good part. The other side of that is trying to get in to see a doctor or trying to get in for surgery. I live in a town of about 25,000 people. There are not enough doctors for the population. Currently there are no doctors in town taking on any new patients. There are many people in town without a doctor, and since there is no urgent-care clinic in town, if they need something as simple as a prescription renewed, they have to go the emergency room. Our emergency rooms are no different from those I have experienced in the States: long wait times to see a doctor, especially if it is not serious.

If you have to see a specialist, you can wait anywhere from six months to more than a year to get in. I have severe arthritis, and I needed two hip replacements. I saw four surgeons in the course of two-and-a-half years. No one would operate as I was too young. If I were in the age category for the surgery, the wait times for hips and knees are anywhere from 18 to 24 months. After two years on crutches and taking morphine for pain for the last six months, I paid to see a surgeon. The government has since closed that clinic, claiming it does not want a two-tiered system. That surgeon said I had severe arthritis and I could get in for the surgery in three months. I had that surgeon for both of my hips, and now I am pain free.

That was elective surgery. My husband had chest pain. After seeing his physician, he had a stress test that showed a problem. He had to wait nine weeks to have an angiogram, three weeks to see a cardiologist and then another three months to have the triple-bypass surgery. I would not consider that elective surgery.

My advice to any one living in New York state is, be careful what you vote for."

Joanne Martell-Brubaker

Port Alberni, British Columbia

--- On Fri, 8/21/09, S H <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> From: S H <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] OT - HCR
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Date: Friday, August 21, 2009, 1:01 PM
> I don't have any solutions, but all
> I know is, we need to do something to this system. I have
> too many friends that don't have health insurance, whom


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