Canadian analysis

Following is an email from a friend in Ontario regarding health care. I think his comment on the Obamacare chart (scroll down, or click) is accurate. There is no reason the GOP would simplify it. Whether they can remains to be seen, but I’ve only heard a few relatively picayune criticisms from Dems on it so far. Just enough to be sure it can’t be snail mailed.

Don’s opinion is of interest.


From a recent TOC posting – some of my comments are addressed to Americans in general, not to you – I know you understand the issues; I remain unconvinced that many others do.

I saw this chart when Boehner introduced it and looked at it from my Systems Analysis perspective. “Rube Goldberg” was my initial reaction, when I realized it was unnecessarily complex and virtually impossible to understand. However, unlike Rube’s complex systems, which eventually got the job done, this one won’t. Had I introduced such a chart to a team of programmers at any point in my career, I should have expected to be summarily dismissed after being subjected to the scathing ridicule of my peers.

The bottom line is that I thought it too complex (perhaps, intentionally) to be translated into any form of functional system.

In the eternal hope that intelligent life actually exists in Congress, I reviewed it again after your post on TOC.

My new analysis after a few Tylenol (cheap, because the US does most of the world’s R & D and absorbs the attendant costs for “hangers-on” like Canada) – too complex (perhaps, intentionally) to be translated into any form of functional system.

Please don’t use the “Canadian” model – it isn’t all that good and the only reason it’s “cheap” is because of rationing and excessive wait times. If that’s what you want – go ahead, but I can assure you that you won’t ultimately be happy with the result. I direct you to a PJTV clip where Steven Crowder actually goes to Canada to experience the benign warmth of socialized medicine – The clip is not hyperbole – it accurately reflects my own experiences with what we jokingly call “free” health care in Canada. You’ll note that, on more than one occasion, the medical staff express their own frustrations with the system they work under and actually recommend private clinics. It is a sad fact that I can get much faster and much more effective care for my cats than I can for myself.

If our Canadian system is so great, why do an obscenely large portion of our Canadian-trained docs and nurses choose to practice in the land of the free (well, Obama’s not done with you yet), rather than in the land of the free health care? That’s supposed to be a rhetorical question, but in case you don’t know the answer, it’s because they can actually “make a buck” down there and are free to practice medicine as opposed to being underpaid white-coated civil servants. Let’s not pretend that the medical profession is supposed to be an altruistic group benignly dedicated to some holy mission to save humanity – they’re people like you and me who have invested heavily in their training and can reasonably expect to be well rewarded for that investment. They’re not being adequately rewarded here in Canada either financially or spiritually because of our socialistic health care system, so they are making a totally rational decision. I hate it, but I can’t say I blame them. And I bless the poor souls who stay here, regardless. They do their best (in fact, more than their best – I laud their dedication in the face of an impossible situation), but ultimately the Canadian health care system will collapse under it’s own weight, as do all socialist systems.

The only good thing that might come out of the socialization of American medicine from a Canadian perspective is that maybe some of our Canadian-trained docs and nurses might come back home when they realize that they’re screwed on either side of the border. The fact that I have to grasp at that straw saddens me greatly.

A proper review of health care delivery should include a full cost-benefit analysis. Current proposals would appear to be focusing on hypothetical benefits, while ignoring real costs. It’s fine to increase costs as long as you are receiving proportional or increased benefits. But at some point, you have to draw a line and say, “this is the optimum sustainable price-performance model”. And that “optimum” is unlikely to be ideal from a socialist point of view.

The fact that a portion of the American public remains “uncovered” from an insurance perspective is a moot point. You’ve heard the talking points. Many of them (the young and healthy) choose not to purchase insurance at this point in their lives (which is their personal choice and quite likely the same choice I would have made 40 years ago when mortality was not on my agenda) and many others aren’t even citizens. Ultimately everyone is covered by either Medicaid or Medicare, the problem being that those costs are borne by docs and hospitals (not the Feds, you’ll note) – that needs to be addressed, but not at the price of destroying the 85% of the system that appears to be working quite nicely.

Sorry, Congress. The health care “problem”, if one exists, is not that difficult to solve if you have the guts to step very hard on few vested-interest toes. Unfortunately, “politicians” and “guts” are tough to combine in the same sentence unless you suffer from cognitive dissonance. This, in particular, calls for significant tort reform, an issue that is apparently off the table. Canada is awash in accountants – the US is awash in lawyers. Not sure which is worse.

Of course, this will never happen as long as Congress is held hostage, through campaign contributions and other forms of pressure, from the very groups that either don’t want anything to change, want everything to change beyond recognition or are open to change as long as it improves their bottom line.

As you know, I was an elected politician for many years, but I can honestly say that getting re-elected was never on my radar. I did what I thought was the right thing to do with no regard for the screaming fringe elements on each side of every debate. If the public disagreed with what I was doing, so be it – vote me out at the next election. They never did, in fact, I continued to receive more votes in each election that I ran in. Not trying to blow my own horn, just saying there may be an MO here that more politicians might want to look at – never look at the next election – you can’t satisfy everyone, so don’t even try – just do what you think is best in the long term. If you’re right, you’ll be re-elected – if you’re wrong, you’re toast. So it goes.

From a broader perspective, the one thing that might well re-focus the minds of your political class from short term re-election concerns to actual longer term “good-of-the-country” issues is term limits. Imagine how much common sense might emerge if getting re-elected wasn’t your primary goal in life and your legislative horizon actually extended beyond the next election. You do it for the office of President, now how about the rest of the clowns?

Unfortunately, I have no doubt that Obama will eventually sign some bill from the Congressional sausage-making factory that has the words “Health Care Reform” in the title. Whether that bill will have anything to do with health care reform remains an open question.

Don Seim,
Dromore, Ontario

Thanks, Don. I agree.

If anyone would like to get in touch with Don, send an email to

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