It's wonderful to have the chance to talk about the health care system in Canada, my adopted home for the past nearly 30 years. There are so many misunderstandings STILL among our American friends and even some family members. Some still can't wrap their minds around the concept of universal health care and free choice. "But do you pick your own doctors?" we still get asked by dubious Americans. Yes, and yes again. Do we sometimes have to wait to get to see specialists? Yes, but my experience in LA, where I lived for over 40 years before immigrating to Montreal and then later, to Hamilton, Ontario, also involved waits and limited choices. I am now 70, and though in basically pretty fit shape, monitor nearly a dozen, different chronic conditions, from fibromyalgia to benign positional vertigo. Most are at best inconvenient, others periodically limit my activities, Only one -- melanoma in situ, is life threatening. At nearly 50 my husband and I adopted a baby girl from the Republic of Georgia, who, as it turned out has cerebral palsy, hearing loss, ADHD and mild anxiety. She's nearly 22 now and quite high functioning. Still, we are both frequent users of our health care system, with numerous specialists supporting my daughter's health. Would we have had all this care available had we stayed in Los Angeles? Possibly, though I doubt that I could have afforded all of it. To go into a doctor's office with my OHIP card and know that I will be cared for simply because I am a citizen of Canada, a resident of Ontario, is a privilege I hope I never take for granted. My Canadian friends -- who tend to complain about doctors, wait times, etc -- can't believe that health care is not a basic, human, universal RIGHT in the United States. Here in Canada it is our birthright. More recently, I helped usher my elderly parents through cancer surgery and treatment in Los Angeles. The hassles with insurance, finding specialists who accepted Medicare, etc was the bane of my mother's existence in her last years. Dying of melanoma, she opted for a geriatric specialist who was part of a consortium of doctors who charged a membership fee of $1,200 and something like $150 for each subsequent visit. The office did not accept Medicare. The contrast between the Canadian system and what is being proposed this week to the U.S. Senate is beyond stark. It's care versus cruelty, life versus profit. Thanks for listening.
My health care story #DAresists #Medicare4all
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