Earlier this week, the United States Congress passed a piece of legislation that apparently had something to do with health care. You know, that thing we make fun of Americans over because we have it and they don’t.
“This isn’t radical reform,” President Obama said of the bill, “but it is major reform.”
In truth, it is neither.
Yes, the government is now subsidizing coverage for up to 32 million additional Americans. Yes, people with ‘pre-existing conditions’ can now find coverage. And yes, anybody under 26 who still lives at home is now covered through their parents.
But that’s it. For a country that claims to be the best in the world at so many things, their health care system continues to lag behind every other country in the developed world.
Any major disease still forces any normal family to the brink of bankruptcy. Over ten million American will remain without any health insurance. Studies show that per capita, more money is spent on health care in the US than anywhere else in the world – and yet Canada and other countries have better systems.
Why, you might ask, is this so? Why do Americans constantly accept a system that costs more and does less?
The answer: because they don’t know any better. Turn on CNN, and you’ll be bombarded with opinions – from commentators, politicians, and laymen of all stripes – that the American health care system is, in fact, the best in the world. If it weren’t the best, the argument goes, then why do so many Canadians come to the US for treatment?
As you and I know, that’s not really the case. Most Canadians don’t go to the US – the only ones who do are the super-rich who can afford to pay for faster care.
Admittedly, the US does have most of the world’s best doctors – but that’s only because they can take advantage of the American system to make a lot more money practicing medicine than they could make anywhere else. But when it comes to the actual health care system – providing access to a greater percentage of citizens and not forcing people into debt because they got cancer – Canada, like the rest of the developed world, is far ahead of the United States.