American Health Care

As always we have headlines in our (right wing) newspapers urging Canada to privatize our health care system, to move toward the American model.

Courtesy of Dave Pollard, a timely warning:

  • The leading cause of personal bankruptcy in the US is unpaid medical bills
  • The death rate for Americans without health insurance is 25% higher than for those that have it
  • Americans spend 2.5 times what the rest of the Western world pays per capita for health care
  • The US has one of the lowest doctor/patient ratios in the West
  • Americans visit doctors and get admitted to hospital less often than people in most countries in the West
  • Americans are among the least satisfied with their health care system
  • US life expectancy is significantly lower than the average of Western nations, while childhood immunization rates are lower and infant mortality is higher
  • Americans spend over three times as much per capita on healthcare paperwork and administration as Canadians
  • Despite the high cost, the US is almost alone in the West in not having universal health care, and 45 million Americans have no health insurance at all
Pollard links to a Malcolm Gladwell article in the New Yorker that has more. For my part, all I want to say here is that we must stay very very far away from an American system.


  1. Thanks for posting about this, Stephen. I am truly frightened when increasing numbers of Canadians seem to accept moving our health care system closer in line with the American model as a means of rationalizing our health care system. Rational is the farthest thing from what it is! We need to stay informed of how dangerous and unhealthy that model is, especially when the premier of the most economically powerful province seems hell-bent on underfunding health care in order to justify the decay of our system by private health care providers.

    The recent supreme court decision has been touted by many who are pushing the private health care agenda, saying that denying health care to those who can afford to pay more is unconstitutional. What utter nonsense - the erosion of services caused by years of underfunding is unconstitutional, and it is long past time that people realized they were being conned!

  2. Usually agree with Dave and yourself (though not always, which I think is a good thing) but in this case it's pretty obvious. Juat go back into Canadian history and you'll see the families that were destroyed by having to pay huge medical bills.

    Here's to Tommy Douglas!


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