Marcus Davies, an official of the Saskatchewan Medical Society, on the difference between Canadians and Americans:
Us Canadians, we’re kind of understated by nature. We don’t go around chanting ‘We’re No. 1!’ But you know, there are two areas where we feel superior to the U.S.: hockey and health care.”
The quote comes from an article in Newsweek by T. R. Reid, the guy who put together a documentary about healthcare around the world for PBS about a year ago. Reid says that countries typically develop healthcare systems that reflect their national character and Canadians have built a system that neatly fits theirs: “ferociously egalitarian, but thrifty at the same time”.
So where’s the American national character on this issue? Hugely confused, I’d say. Americans are not radically less egalitarian or thrifty than people in other countries. Unfortunately, many Americans think that their fellow citizens can get all the help they need though emergency rooms and charity. Or that unregulated free markets are the answer. Or, even if they aren’t the answe,r government intervention will just make it worse. Thus, contrary to the example of virtually every developed country around the world, we are doomed to deliver healthcare in an unethical and wasteful way.
Even after months of debate and publicity it seems that large numbers of Americans have little idea what happening around the world or in their own country. Lovely.
Update: according to Bob Laszewski we Americans are confused about another matter: we think the healthcare we receive is generally based on scientific evidence, when it’s not.