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December 18th, 2007, 12:43 PM
Has anyone else seen it yet?

I for one am a huge Michael Moore fan... I think he makes very intellegent movies... and for those that think he is unpatriotic, I believe the opposite, I think he is simply trying to get people to think more and be less accepting of what is fed to them by the government and media, which is a good thing.

Sicko was great... and shocking. I was really shocked being Canadian and thinking our health system was the best.... and finding out it doesn't even stack up to France or England... or CUBA!!! I mean $0.05 for my asthma inhaler!!!! I pay $100!!!! Ridiculous that a country we consider poor can afford to have drug plans like that and we can't!

The health industry here is all about money... considered an industry! An INDUSTRY! For PROFIT! I think it should all be funded and a necessary service like Fire stations and police. And man do I ever feel for those Americans with no insurance... I was shocked to find out how few have decent coverage and how hard those that are insured have to fight to get what they pay for!!! I thought it was bad that I had to pay for my prescriptions at $500/month... but imagine having to pay thousands just to be seen by the doctor in the first place! It's just wrong that one of the richest countries in the world can't afford to take care of it's own...

I really hope that the states goes back to the DEM's again... at least from the sounds of it they have some good intentions when it comes to health care. (Of course I am pulling for Hilary... and most Canadians IMO do prefer the states have a DEM in charge... at least they know we have a Prime Minister and not a President!)

Ford Girl
December 18th, 2007, 12:48 PM
I haven't seen it, but I can't wait to! I love all his other movies. They are like a kick in the junk - "WAKE UP AND LOOK AROUND PEOPLE, THIS IS THE WORLD WE LIVE IN". I love it.

December 18th, 2007, 04:37 PM
I agree Dahmer and I too will one day watch his movie,I think he is a gutsy and very smart an"in your face"kind of way:thumbs up

December 18th, 2007, 04:40 PM
I saw it too - and I agree - if we think we have it good, France and Cuba have it way better (at least as far as health care goes). It was tragic to see how many people were run out of their own homes just to pay for basic health care. How can they still go on like this? Why are they so scared of Universal Health Care? If I lived in the States I'd never go to the doctor - I wouldn't be able to afford it!

December 18th, 2007, 06:29 PM
I saw it online when it got leaked early. There still might be a few places to watch it via streaming video online. By the way, he made a public statement about that early leak and didn't care, as long as the video got out. I'll see if the old links work. They are a few months old now.

December 19th, 2007, 07:36 AM
I would not say Cubans have it better than us,but their healthcare-system takes care of the people for sure.
IMO,the US and healthcare is a shame to the rest of the civilized world,it should be a definete priority to any upcoming president.
Although our healhtcare here in Canada(Ontario spec)is far from perfect,it beats the US in every aspect.
In Sweden,where Healthcare is almost exemplary for everyone,instead of adding more taxes(Ontario healthpremium:yell:)they charge a token amount for every doctors visit,emergency-visit etc..,it keeps people with simple colds out of the emergency-rooms:thumbs upand the healthcare-system gets enough money.
One of my sons is"living on"CPP disabilty-pension in Alberta,out of the almost $800/month he recieves,he pays his own meds(anticonvulsive 3),where it not for us,his parents,and his girlfriend,he would be living on the streets as I am sure many disabled people do.
We just paid his dentist-bill(we are not wealthy),without it he could have been in big trouble,but there is just no way he could have gotten any assistance:sad:
Before someone says,Sweden have high taxes,Ontario actually have higher taxes,when adding everything up(healthpremium,GST),higher than many other countries and we get far less for our tax$$$.

December 19th, 2007, 08:28 AM
With all due respect to the Canadian system, I'm afraid a lot of Americans disagree that your system is better than the US system. If I have to see a doctor for a minor emergency, I can get into urgent care in 20 minutes. If I need a procedure, I can schedule it within days or weeks. We don't have the acute shortage of doctors that Canada does. (Remember Prin and her broken nose? A dentist finally took pity on her and xrayed it...)

A lot of people here think a Canadian-style health care system would cost too much in taxes. Wisconsin considered one this year--the Democrats in the Senate proposed one based on the Canadian system that would have cost us upwards of $15 billion (yes, billion) dollars and pushed hundreds of small businesses out of the state. It was so unpopular among the citizens that it was one of the first things cut out of the state budget before passage.

Our taxes are already high. We don't need to increase them to fix a system that still works, even if it does have problems. I'd prefer to see them tackle the problem from the other side--tax breaks for premium payments and medical expenses where incurred, encouraging cost-cutting in the medical industry (in a town of 50,000 with two hospitals, do both hospitals have to have all the latest technology for cardiac, pulmonary, orthopedic, etc care, or can they specialize and cut the cost of purchasing and maintaining all that equipment?), cut back on administrative waste, etc...

Just my :2cents:.

December 19th, 2007, 08:51 AM
I have not experienced US health care, but my parents have, and feel the US health care is much better. What good is free health care, if you can't get the health care you need because of the shortage of doctors and equipment because there is not enough gov't money?

Also, it is fine and dandy here in Canada that you are diagnosed with a health condition that requires drugs but you don't have a drug plan to buy them. I had to wait three years to get a family doctor after my move to Ontario.

Second opinions??? Not enough doctors to get a second opinion so you are stuck with the one that does the diagnosis. Even if you wanted to pay for it out of your pocket, still can't get another doctor.

December 19th, 2007, 08:57 AM
In Sweden,where Healthcare is almost exemplary for everyone,instead of adding more taxes(Ontario healthpremium:yell:)they charge a token amount for every doctors visit,emergency-visit etc..,it keeps people with simple colds out of the emergency-rooms:thumbs upand the healthcare-system gets enough money.

Good idea, chico.

My husband who is military and is not allowed to use the public health care system still got stuck paying the McGuinty Health Care tax. And by the way, that new tax goes into general revenue, not necessarily directly to the Ministry of Health. In Alberta there is a health care premium too (normally paid by employers as a benefit), but is remitted seperate from general taxes to the AB gov't.

So I guess our health care system is not free if we are paying premiums along with our taxes.

December 19th, 2007, 11:33 AM
I for one am a huge Michael Moore fan...

Same here ! I haven't seen it yet but I will. Now we have to get him to do a movie about puppy mills and BYB. :pray:

December 19th, 2007, 11:35 AM
Now we have to get him to do a movie about puppy mills and BYB. :pray:

Now that's a fabulous idea! :thumbs up

December 19th, 2007, 11:51 AM
Hazel,I don't disagree with you on quality of care and availability in the US.
But there are 40million people in the US,who cannot afford healthpremiums,does not have the money for basic healthcare.
If you have a prexisting healthpoblom,you will have a hard time getting any insurance and if you do,it will be an enormous premium.
I also know of people who were dropped after getting a serious condition.
So,in my opinion, with our Healthcare-system,flawed as it is,at least I know everyone in this country will be taken care of,without losing everything they own.
I've had a lot of experience with hospitals,having 2 sons sick,epilepsy and a heartproblem,services we recieved were always excellent.
But of course,calling it FREE is a laugh,we certainly pay:shrug:
Also,I did not get this info from the movie,we have many friends in the US.:cat:

December 19th, 2007, 12:13 PM
I'm not disagreeing with the idea that there are some major problems, just with how to fix them. :D I'd like to see something else tried. :shrug:

December 19th, 2007, 12:18 PM
contrary to vocalized belief..... ANYONE here can get healthcare without loosing everythign they own. the garbage the dems are spouting about healthcare is based on people who do not have health INSURANCE which is totally different from available healthcare. NO doctor OR hospital can turn down a person in need... under ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!!! if you have an inability to pay for your health care, the government steps in and helps. they dont take anythign from you, they assess what you are able to pay and then pay the rest. whether with good intentions or not, forwhatever reason... dems are skewing this piece of information.

HERE, if a doctor is a poor one they loose business and thus go OUT of business or shape up and take better care. what are the checks and balances to good service with universal health care?

even when i had no money, very little income.... i got prenatal health care, a ride there and back AND delivery for FREE.

people here are without INSURANCE... not healthcare.

vote libertarian!!


December 19th, 2007, 12:36 PM
sorry but this whole universal health care thing just slays me!! i have more to say!!!

for the dems to pull this whole thing... when soemone can not pay for their health care, they still get the care. it may not be the BEST care ever... such as for AIDS, there are several new very expensive drugs out there that pretty much halt AIDS/HIV. they are SUPER EXPENSIVE because the drug development is private. folks on gov't funding dont get THOSE drugs, they are just too expensive. but they DO get treatment. its not top of the line (some day it will be when the price goes down) but it works.

anyways, to also state, health insurance is PRIVATE also. which i think should either be more regulated or within businesses have a more employee hands on approach because its abused.... horribly. it is not mandatory, it is not necessary... and even in MOST cases more expensive than just your regular visits are on a yearly basis.

we can get into how insurance works, where its holes are and so on but the point is, the government is here to serve us. paying more taxes serves IT. if insurance agencies are racking it in.... its only because we let it. a change needs to be made in peoples minds, not their pockets. choices are what brought us here and now we are takign them away. we have so many amazing networks of information and yet folks dont want to educate themselves.

oh and did i mention??? Billary is a very poor representation of a Dem AND a woman. she is an extremist and a liar. she scares me. does anyone remember when Bill signed NAFTA? we have become a country of management and lead toys and wars over oil. i say can Dems and Reps and vote Libertarian!!


Rick C
December 19th, 2007, 01:03 PM
sorry but this whole universal health care thing just slays me!! i have more to say!!!


You forgot to say that Michael Moore plays quite loose with facts in his movies, which makes them something less than documentaries.

The entire premise of Roger & Me was a complete fabrication, for example, since Moore did meet with the GM chairman a couple of times for hours at a time.

That kind of inventiveness pervades all of his films.

However, if we wanted to broaden our horizons we could admit Moore successfully brings important issues to the forefront of public attention. That's as far as I'll go, though. Given his loose relationship with facts, he's hardly someone to offer respect to. He's his own worst enemy and therefore easy to dismiss out of hand.

As to public versus private healthcare, my observation is the debate in both Canada and the USA is hampered by the very shrill partisans on both sides who employ scare tactics to diss each other.

It seems obvious both systems could learn something from the other, that more public healthcare would be beneficial to the extremely inefficient and wasteful USA system and more opportunity for private care would be helpful to unnecessary backlogs in Canada. In fact, Canada, I think, is one of only three countries in the world without some allowance for private care, along with North Korea and some other dictatorship.

I'm fortunate in life to have some means myself to look offshore in places like America or even to places like India or Costa Rica which are gaining widespread recommendations for American-trained doctors in pristine facilities catering to foreigners at a fraction of the cost of treatment in the USA or without the long waits of the Canadian system. If I were in a desperate position, I'd certainly look at those options . . . . . but why should I? Why not allow those options in Canada for doctors working 25% of their time in the private sector but a mandated 75% of their time in the public sector?

The scaremongers drown any kind of common sense argument.

I was down in California a few weeks ago and ran into a guy who said people were urging one of his relatives to move to Canada so she could then afford to treat her chronic illness. As a Canadian taxpayer, I was standing there listening to this wondering if I wanted seriously ill people moving to my country for the express purpose of clogging up the system even more. But I could certainly see the attraction of someone of limited means wanting to escape the American system.

There needs to be a serious debate in both countries, minus the shrill partisans, to apply some common sense to both situations.

vote libertarian!!

My favourite Libertarian is on another off-topic board and we've spent many hours beating each other about the head, respectfully. Even though I'm an arch-capitalist, Libertarianism is a non-seller as near as I can tell.

But, as a Libertarian, you must admire the irony in people freely choosing to ignore the attractions of Libertarianism!!! :clown:

Rick C

December 19th, 2007, 01:26 PM
Libertarian or otherwise... you dont ahve to subscribe to ANYTHING to have good sense. :)

But, as a Libertarian, you must admire the irony in people freely choosing to ignore the attractions of Libertarianism!!!

its not the people who CHOOSE otherwise Libertarian that bother me... quite contrary actually!! its the ones who dont even educate themselves on it that do!!

You forgot to say that Michael Moore plays quite loose with facts in his movies, which makes them something less than documentaries.

*blush* im afraid to say i havent watched ANY of his films... i thought it was quite rude to bad mouth our current president so vehemently. 99% of what is SAID about Bush is only speculation. perhaps correct speculation but still speculation. at least 90% of what Junior screwed up was actually some other persons doing. he has not single handedly made these bad decisions. there are so many cooks in that pot of soup its too difficult to untangle from the 'outside'.

these are all the prices we pay for extremist leaders.


Rick C
December 19th, 2007, 02:31 PM
Libertarian or otherwise... you dont ahve to subscribe to ANYTHING to have good sense. :)

its not the people who CHOOSE otherwise Libertarian that bother me... quite contrary actually!! its the ones who dont even educate themselves on it that do!!

Do you think that would make a difference? I don't.

The refrain "if you only knew as much as I do, you couldn't help but agree with me" is the common lament of the partisan. I love that one.

There's actually been some scientific studies on this. It's an intriguing question for researchers.

Why do people, presented with the exact same information, disagree with each other?

The most famous study, this one on something called Hostile Media Perception, is at the link below: Muslims and Jews.

Another one . . . . . this time on partisans and what parts of their brain they use when processing hot button topics.

My point is that being "educated" about a topic actually will have little impact on whether or not you agree with one position or another.

I'm quite up to speed on Libertarianism. I'm certainly not illiterate on the topic after my grazing with someone who is truly an expert on another board . . . . BUT, even with that, I don't agree with you.

And I suspect most would disagree with Libertarianism even if they were up to speed.

My two cents.

PS: Sorry for the thread hijack.

Rick C

December 19th, 2007, 02:48 PM
my sister (Ontario) can't afford her meds so she applied for "trillium" it's a health plan that charges you depending on your salary and expenses, she pays into it monthly $98. and she gets her perscriptions covered, she applied to the city to have her teeth repaired (social services) and they wrote out a paper for her to give to a dentist where they will cover the cost. She had a heart attack 4 weeks ago and with in 4 days was sent to the heart institute in Ottawa to have surgery.

December 19th, 2007, 02:51 PM
*chuckles* i apologize, i suppose i didnt say all of that right. i have no issues with folks who educate themselves and still disagree with me! because the world is full of folks who have different opinions, standards.

for example, i ahve a friend of mine who is a Democrat. she had absolutely no clue was a Libertarian was. she said it sounded 'cool' but that 'people are stupid and need protection from themselves'. i told her i was considerably more hard hearted than she... protect the innocent and unable.... not the stupid... they can take care of themselves.

i dont claim to be well versed in any of them, Republican, Democraptic but im very fond of the heart behind Libertarians. maybe its my community??


[Edit: also, sorry for the thread jack!!!]

December 19th, 2007, 04:00 PM
Hazel,having been brought up in Sweden and lived there,having had my first 2 boys there,never having to worry how anything was paid for,I just have a hard time understanding the concept of no Universal Healthcare.
My boys,between them,have had 2 open-heartsurgeries and one brainsurgery,not to mention all the doctorsvisits,specialists,before and even now.
If we would have to find the money for all this in those days,my boys would not have made it.

December 19th, 2007, 04:51 PM
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, after many years of research, we have uncovered some very interesting and disturbing material. We've spent countless hours discussing, reading, talking with people, and watching as many films and documentaries as possible and still looking. What we've come to conclude is the world is not what it seems.

George Carlin summed it up best during his "Owners of the Country" speech on stage. It contains cursing, FYI.

[quote]It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it. :laughing:

Today fancy terminology covers up some questionable activities that are not openly discussed via the media, but the information is still out there, mainly in dusty old libraries, books and newspapers. All anyone has to do is go out and read. Some call it "hiding in plain sight." The information is all out there, just gotta read it.

When we come across so many coincidences and cross references, it becomes more than speculation. People want to believe a President has his country's best interests at heart, but this is not the case. The US is dangerously close to a dictatorship, which Bush even joked about doing.

Historically his family does not have good ties. Current Bush has a sketchy past with his failed oil businesses in Texas, many which were financed by Saudi royals.

Prescott Bush (current Bush grandfather) had dealings with Nazi Germany.

Why are there Fasci decorations in the Senate? And on the back of the US dime? The Fasci is a symbol for Fascism.

Daddy Bush is very close to the Saudi Royal family, as well as the Clintons.

Most all the Presidents past and present are related in some form or another.

GW and Kerry are related.

Blood Royal: From the Time of Alexander the Great to Queen Elizabeth II


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American Presidential Families

This new section chronicles the family history and achievements of the 42 Presidents of the United States. It is unique as the collection includes their ancestries and descendants, as well a personal essays, family essays and family trees on each holder of the title. It is appropriate that these records be included in a subscription to Burke's Peerage & Gentry: many President's families are linked to those of British Peers or Baronets. For example, George Washington and the Lords Fairfax, the Adamses and the Downing baronets, James K. Polk and the family of Lord Newton and Teddy Roosevelt and the Lords Newton.

36 of the 42 Presidential families can be traced back to England, Scotland, Ireland or Wales.

"Hmmmm - How many presidents have been killed while in office?"

The records were originally published in book format in the early 1990s. They have been updated with Bill Clinton and, shortly, George Bush Jnr. Each record has been digitised and is searchable alongside the 15,000 records already in the database.

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British Prime Ministers

Burke's Peerage & Gentry have launched a new section for subscribers detailing the careers of Britain's 52 Prime Ministers. Each holder of the position has a personal essay about their life with links through to the full genealogical record of their family. Currently the first 33 Prime Ministers, of the18th and 19th centuries, from Robert Walpole (1721-42) to the Earl of Rosebury (1894-95) are included.

Why British Prime Ministers?

Firstly. all but two of Britain's Prime Ministers are listed in Burke's Peerage & Baronetage. Secondly it is Downing Street itself who, on the whole, award the peerages and knighthoods which populate our genealogical database.

Written by the Editor-in-Chief of Burke's & Baronetage, Charles Mosley, each essay is an informative yet entertaining read. Upon reading the essays, subscribers can link through to the family genealogies in which they are listed.

Bush Is Related to Churchill and Lady Diana
A recent press release from that announced their license to publish British census records from 1841 to 1901 on the Internet also publicized the fact that Princess Diana, Winston Churchill, and George W. Bush are all distantly related. Their common ancestor was Henry Spencer (14201478) of Badby, Northhamptonshire.

George W. Bush and his father, the former president, have long been known to have royal ancestry. Gary Boyd Roberts, a genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston and one of the foremost authorities on the royal ancestry of American presidents, notes that Bush is descended from British royalty going as far back as 12th century King Henry I, the son of William the Conqueror.,9171,953000,00.html

She has more English royal blood in her veins than does Prince Charles, her 16th cousin once removed. All of it flowing from illegitimate unions. Four of her ancestors were mistresses to English Kings. Three dallied with Charles II (1630-85), a compulsive philanderer whose amorous activities produced more than a quarter of the 26 dukedoms in Great Britain and Ireland. The fourth royal paramour, Arabella, daughter of the first Sir Winston Churchill, was a favorite of James II (1633-1701) and bore him a daughter. In short, while Diana's blood may run blue, even purple, scarlet women and black sheep have added to its color.

In the 18th century extramarital frolicking with the royals remained a family tradition. Of note were two daughters of the first Earl Spencer. Georgiana, the beautiful Duchess of Devonshire but better known as the Duchess of Dimples, achieved unwedded bliss with a Prince of Wales, the eventual George IV. Her comely sister Henrietta boasted in her diary: "In my 51st year I am courted, follow'd, flatter'd and made love to, en toutes les formes, by four men." Not all the Spencers were so sportive. George, brother of the third Earl Spencer, converted to Roman Catholicism and, as Father Ignatius of the Passionist Order, had a reputation as a saint. The order is now preparing a proposal to consider him for beatification, a step in Catholic canonization.

Others of Diana's kinsmen made their mark in worldly affairs, many as great statesmen. George Washington is an eighth cousin seven times removed, and through the wife of an eccentric American great-great-grandfather, Diana is related to Presidents John Adams, John Quincy Adams, Calvin Coolidge, Millard Fillmore, Rutherford B. Hayes, Grover Cleveland and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Sir Winston Churchill (middle name: Spencer) is a cousin, as is former Prime Minister Sir Alec Douglas-Home. Scholarly limbs include Historian Henry Adams, Philosopher Bertrand Russell and Lexicographer Noah Webster. Theatrical boughs: Humphrey Bogart and Lillian Gish.

Diana traces American ancestry through Great-Great-Grandfather Frank Work, a dry goods clerk from Chillicothe, Ohio, who became a millionaire in Manhattan as stockbroker with the Vanderbilts. It was his wife Ellen Wood and her mother who, according to Boston Genealogist Gary Boyd Roberts, "provide all the interesting relatives": U.S. Presidents, scholars and two Revolutionary War patriots. But Frank Work's spirited daughter Fanny (for Frances) provided the link to European nobility, marrying James Boothby Burke Roche, the cash-short third Baron Fermoy, despite her father's conviction that "international marriage should be a hanging offense." When Fanny's marriage failed, her father decreed that if she and her three children were to inherit his fortune, they must promise never to return to Europe to live or marry Europeans. Fortunately for Prince Charles, Edmund Maurice Burke Roche, the elder of Fanny's twin sons, defied his grandfather and returned to Britain to claim the Fermoy title. His marriage, to Scotswoman Ruth Sylvia Gill, produced Frances Ruth Burke Roche. And her marriage to Edward John Spencer, which ended in divorce in 1969, produced Lady Diana Spencer, the United Kingdom's one-eighth American future queen.

More family trees

Check out this interview with Eustace Mullins

December 20th, 2007, 03:00 AM
I have seen Sicko and it's OK but I do not agree with everything he says - like I would not oooh and ahhh over it, put it that way. (and I am emotionally exhausted as I type this so excuse any errors I make!)

I am in the middle of a medical crisis with my dad and I am thankful I live in Canada - he'd probably being doing OK of he lived in the US (depending on where he lived and a plethora of other variables of course) IF - and this is a huge IF he had good insurance.

I disagree that Canada's medical system is all about money. I work 70 to 80 hrs a week and sometimes more but I chose to do what I do and continue to enjoy it. As long as I can help some child/teenager and their families, I feel I am doing my best and am honoured to be among one of the best medical systems in the world.

I have liked Michael Moore's work but he glosses over some things about our system. I should explain that while my medical degree was obtained in the US at an excellent medical school, we have some doctors here from a variety of schools who are excellent. We also have some from good schools who are less than stellar. But health care cannot be measured simply by wait times and in fact, wait times for many of the procedures most often written about by people in the media who do not take the time they should to research our health care system, are similar for many of the same procedures. When I was a teen, I had to have major spinal surgery and we chose to have it in the US (Boston) because the doctor who was considered the best (ironically the son of Justice Emmett Hall, who like Tommy Douglas deserves the title Father of medicare), was there. I also practiced in the US - and in my work with Medcins sans Frontieres (Drs without Borders) in several countries so know something a bout health care the world over.

There are some factors about the US system I like but one cannot lump every single hospital in the US into a large bin and call it one system. Just like Canada,it is not - places like the Mayo and Lahey Clinics and Sloan Kettering for my own specialty are excellent. Some smaller hospitals are less so and I have been appalled at some I have seen.

The fact remains that if you are seriously ill in this country, you will receive treatmentand you will not have to wait for it. I tend to think all of us- regardless of our backgrounds- have to be more assertive and also more responsible in both demanding good care but also in aiding our doctors and other caregivers. I welcome more knowledgeable patients or parents of patients. Certain incidents in the US stand out for me. My folks-usually go to Florida for the winter (Obviously with my dad so ill, that is not happening this yr). There, I have met one man - someone who is middle class, worked hard all his life, but when he broke his arm, did not go to see a doctor because he felt he cold not afford it. Thus, the arm became improperly aligned and caused him even more pain. Another man who lacked insurance was denied an ambulance when neighbours called when he was found unconscious.

I have some questions about my dad's initial care at the small hospital he 1st went to which imho and professional one, did not practice aggressive medicine. Those of us who work near universities and who see more complex cases are more likely to make aggressive and proactive medicine one of our hallmarks. This does not mean small hospitals are bad but if you have a case with complications, they are not a place you necessarily want to go and you should ask to be transferred to the closest large facility.

The fact remains that my dad has spent by this time a good month and a half in our medical system, much of i in at least three different intensive care units and has been seen by many different specialists and given nursing care, usually one to one around the clock. He has also received a variety of diagnostic tests and many different medications and other adjuncts to help him survive an illness that is potentially fatal. (He had at one point essentially a 20 per cent chance of making it and is still alive - he is still critical but that fact has more to do with his illness than with his care - though I would have prefererred more aggressive strategies at the small hospital). The cost of this care is phenomenal as is the care provided to most of my young patients as they fight cancer and have bone marrow transplants and incredibly expensive medications. Yet my dad - and my patients never once have to worry about the cost of this. Yes, he is not at a hospital near his home but my mom and other sibs can stay with me and in the case of so many of my own patients, they can stay at several places constructed especially for families like Ronald macDonald House- which also operates in the US. However, the fact remains that the essential cost of these exensive procedures and hospital stays are paid for by our taxes and God knows over the years my dad - who had one appendectomy as a teenager = has not had to worry about wheree the finds tp pay for any of this wil; come from.

I do not want to criticize any other country and their health care system - I attended a university there because it was an excellent school that offered me a wonderful scholarship and I love Boston. Several US hospitals excel in research though both countries are doing well in that regard we collaborate on many studies actually and I welcome input from my American colleagues when I need advice and in turn, they often consult me and I am happy to assist. What concerns me about the American system is that taxpayers in that country are paying for a system they do not have. Per capita, the avg US citizen pays MORE in taxes for health care than her or his Canadian counterpart. The problem is 40 million of them lack access to care because they cannot afford an HMO, their company may not provide them with health insurance or they are under or unemployed or poor. In the US, if you can afford health care and work for a company that provides health insurance, you may - depending on where you reside- have access to some of the best care in the world. In Canada, regardless of who you are, you have access to health care and if you are not happy with that care or seek more aggressive or a different level of care, you can insist on a second opinion and depending on the province you live in (It is almost as if we have ten HMO's if you think about it since each and every province has a different system), you will be airlifted or driven to another facility if a physician there accepts you as a patient.

One of the best health care systems on the planet is Cuba, a country known the world over for assisting other poor countries with their medical knowledge and help. While I may not agree with the politics of that country, I know that this is one country that has an excellent health care system.

Almost every industrialized country in the world has a national health care system and I do question Michael Moore's citing of only several examples but I do realize it might have been next to impossible to look at each one. The Scandinavian countries do tend to have same of the best policies, especially in terms of preventive health care - and Germany is in this bracket as well -providing up to a month or more of vacation time and free time at a health spa. In some ways, their population size and smaller geographic area help them in this regard. Many countries have federal policies while we in Canada must contend with the 10 provincial plans which while all essentially similar, have differing policies -especially as I have discovered in how they cover cancer meds or pediatric policies like whether dental care or eyeglasses are covered.

We do need now a universal pharmacare program but citizens must also take a more active role in their care and practice preventive care,especially in terms of the dietary needs of children - ie I am so worried about how many children out there have poor eating habits and they did not learn that at school!

I have already written too much yet still feel I have not explained what I believe. Our system is not perfect but it really is very good. It faces enormous challenges and we must all be prepared to become more involved and not merely grumble on the sidelines. That helps no one. We need to lobby out govts to provide pharmacare but we must also be aware that we do not alaays need an MRI (some people should NOT have them) for example or that too many CT scans is bad not so much for the taxpayer's pocketbook but for his r her health! (One CT scan provides much more radiation than the avg Xray and I am currently involved in an ongoing study now that will eventually show us just how many cancers and other illnesses ,may have been caused by the indiscriminate use of such procedures.) I thanked God that my dad's second critical care specialist noted he would not be giving him a CT scan because he had already received enough!

I cite this as an illustration because we sometimes rely too much on technology which is hugely expensive when good medical know how is the best cure.

I am also reminded of the visitor from the US who came the Women's and Children's hospital with which I am affiliated. He asked to see the billing department. He expected - as was the case at his hospital - to see an entire floor of workers so was shocked to meet our two or three staff members who worked in that area.

Ours is a non profit system and while no, it is not perfect, I for one will happily compare it to any in the world. I would like to see all necessary medications covered (and this does not include erectile dysfunction or someone demanding a prohibitively expensive antibiotic when one invented much earlier is equally effective and likely safer), especially for children, but I also think we need to dispense fewer drugs. As Marcia Angell has so aptly shown in her book about Big Pharma, there too drugs that are either just me too hybrids, variations on already existing meds like those that allow a patent to be continued merely because the drug extends over 8 hs instead of 4 or concoctions that treat illnesses invented jut for them.

If I have time at some pt, I'd like to address the coverage of HIV/AIDs meds - which is a condition I treat in children. That is mired in political problems and if like me, you have worked in the 3rd world, we in North America- regardless of whatever country we live in, can ill afford to be smug about our work in that area. There are children and adults in some countries dying yet the meds are there to allow them to live. And sadly, we cannot blame this one just on the government. The govt is after all determined by us. We ultimately decide what happens and who lives or dies and some day, our ancestors will ask what we did as millions of people died and the of North America stood by and watched. As someone of Irish and Jewish heritage descent, I sometimes wonder where the rest of the world was when the Great Hunger was occurring in Ireland and the Holocaust being carried out by the Nazis. Our descendants will be able to legitimately ask what North Americans and Europeans did while an entire continent was dying yet the drugs were available to prevent those deaths were available but made out of reach by someone somewhere seeking a profit.

Health care should never be about profit. NEVER! EVER! It should be about saving lives and improving the quality of life, PERIOD!

December 20th, 2007, 06:59 AM
WOW,that was a lot of reading:thumbs upthank you for your voice of experience and intelligence.
My 2 boys started off at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto,currently Toronto General Hospital(congenital cardiac clinic) and London University Hospital(neurology).
I have nothing but praise for either,regarding my sons surgeries and continued treatment.