(Photo: Children's Healthcare of Atlanta)
During the first presidential debate President Barack Obama made a claim against Mitt Romney that has been ringing in my ears ever since. Speaking on the topic of health care, Obama said that Romney would leave people “At the mercy of private insurance.”
The implication of course is that Obama will protect people from the big, mean insurance companies, and his own plan, Obamacare, is the more compassionate way. Supporters of government health care, and that is what Obamacare will morph into, love to make the insurance industry out to be the boogeyman.
Let me set you straight.
As a citizen of Canada living only with our socialized medical system I can tell you there are plenty of people refused care. Care that is recommended by their doctors. In Canada the health care system is run by the provinces and each provinces decides what treatments they will cover, what they will pay for each treatment, and whether they will allow new and cutting edge treatments.
I live in Ontario, the country's biggest province and one run for the last nine years by the leftist Liberal Party. One of the first acts of the Liberal government when elected back in 2003 was to de-list a number of services and to impose a health care “premium” on every citizen. Really it was a health tax and a big one at that with middle income families paying an extra $450 per year each on top of their already high income tax rates.
Despite our socialized medical system there are plenty of services and treatments the government will not provide, and those that are on offer often come with a long waiting list.
Would American's accept waiting lists months long to get an MRI or CT Scan? Most Canadians have no choice other than to wait or to pay out of pocket for a scan at one of the few private facilities that exist.
My family doctor tells me that were I to look for an MRI right now it would be a 6 to 12 month wait, and a 1 to 6 month wait for a CT Scan. This is how government health plans contain costs, they make you wait.
The other option is that they deny you care completely. Right now Ontario's Liberal government run by full on progressives, is telling doctors that they must get approvals from government bureaucrats before going ahead with ordering test.
Recently my family doctor had an elderly patient denied an EKG because the bureaucrats, none of them doctors, felt the test was not medically necessary.
Welcome to the compassionate world of government health care.
My Sun Media colleague Christina Blizzard has done yeoman's work exposing how heartless government medicare can be, and yet there is little outrage.
Take the story of young Erika Crawford, who when in need of a life saving operation under the government health plan, the only legal one to have, she was denied. The 17 year-old and her family found a way to get the surgery in an American hospital at a cost of $60,000 and with lots of community help. Can you imagine the outrage if a private insurance company told a child they wouldn't pay for her operation and would let her die? With government care people just shrug their shoulders.
Then there is the story of 3 year-old Liam Reid. He needed an operation to save his eye sight but the only doctors to do it were in Detroit. The Ontario health plan turned down a request to cover the cost. Liam's parents spent $45,000 of their own cash on treatment before running out of money. He can be treated but the “compassionate” government health care system says no.
President Obama would like people to believe that government care will be more compassionate, but it won't be. Instead, health care for most Americans will become less efficient, rare diseases will be denied treatment and bureaucrats will decide if you get care.
That's the Canadian experience.