Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Legacy of Tommy Douglas vs. Brain-Eating Zombies

The American Right is having a field day as it uses fear and outright lies to derail any meaningful reform of the pay or die U.S. health care system. An integral part of the fear mongering is attacking other countries health care delivery systems, notably Canada's and the British NHS. Right-wing Americans are detached from reality and inhabit a conspiracy laden universe happily served up by corporate infotainment and thus are unaware that countries outside of their historical and geographical vacuum have begun to take notice of the lies and deceptions.

Canadians for instance take exception to Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dissing their system as noted by this in the Ottawa Citizen:

"In Senator McConnell's home state of Kentucky, one out of three people under age 65 do not have any health insurance. They don't have to worry about wait times for hip or knee replacement or cancer surgery -- they can't get care. The median household income in Kentucky is $37,186 -- not quite enough for the $97,000 bill at the Mayo Clinic. CNN didn't mention that in its "Reality Check."

As the debate on health care reform heats up the United States, it seems certain that Canada's public health care system will be used, or more accurately misused, in the battle for hearts and minds. For years, Canadians have feared the American health care system; now Americans are being told to fear ours."

Others have a somewhat more visceral opinion of the freedom from heath care nitwits to the south. I particularly enjoyed the remarks of United Steelworkers International President, Leo Gerard, reported in the Toronto Star:

"Gerard said it was hard to stomach the right-wing attack on Canada's universal health care system as their ways of whipping public sentiment against U.S. President Barack Obama's health care plan.

"Many of you must be watching ... in disbelief at the bunch of nut bars, hairpins and lunatics collectively and every right-wing (nut) ... in the United States of America who is parading around during this health care debate," he said.

When Gerard asked if anyone in the room would give up Canadian health care for the private sector-driven system that exists in the U.S., where 48 million American don't have health care it was a resounding no.

"Remember this, when the wrong people win our most prized possession, which is health care, is put at risk," he said."

Not to be outdone British commentator, Simon Hoggart, has the following to say in his aptly entitled column, "Why the American Right Makes Me Sick":

"There are few tribes more loathsome than the American right, and their vicious use of the shortcomings in the NHS to attack Barack Obama's attempts at health reform are a useful reminder."

While Canadians do have complaints about health care it's informative to know the esteem in which its chief architect, Tommy Douglas is held is such that he was selected the "Greatest Canadian" in a poll conducted by the CBC in 2004. There he nosed out the likes of Pierre Trudeau and Wayne Gretzky.

Meanwhile in the U.S. hordes of brain-eating zombies, hepped up on samples of patent protected Viagra, Aricept, and Chantix, descend on townhalls throughout the land at the behest of insurance companies, big pharma, Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh. President Obama has his work cut out for him.

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