Health Care


Suffragettes on way to Boston (LOC)

Image by The Library of Congress via Flickr

A record number of anti-abortion bills emerged this legislative season at the state level with South Dakota, predictably, leading the vindictive pack with a bill that essentially made it legal to murder doctors who performed abortion or women seeking them under the guise of a “self-defense” law.

And while I am still waiting for the inevitable day when right leaning legislatures seek to impose a dress code and assign us seats at the back of all public transit, the Florida State Legislature takes top prize for the sheer number of assaults on female reproductive autonomy with a record 18 bills struggling to meander the process and land on the new GOP governor’s desk.

While some could claim that this is not about women’s rights at all but protecting human life, the proof against this tired clichéd defense is a bit too overwhelming because it’s not just our plumbing that concerns the GOP. Reducing women to 1950’s standards at every level appears to be the goal.

Wisconsin’s union busting tactics are aimed point-blank at female dominated professions, and the dismantling of higher education largely affects young women who are now the majority of students and are graduating in greater numbers than their male peers.

While the feministing 20 and 30 somethings were angsting over non-issues like whether to change their name or not when they married or how to ensure that men carried their share of the household and child-rearing chores, those who prefer women barefoot and pregnant have been making steady progress in their hamstringing of Roe V.Wade and limiting women’s access to birth control, emergency contraception and even basic reproductive health care.

We fiddled and Rome caught fire. The question is – will it burn down around us or can we roll back the lash the right is using to back slap us?

Let’s make a few things clear. This is not about the right to life or babies.

The people so intent on forcing women to carry children to term have no interest in those children once they are born. They are the same people who flushed Headstart down the toilet and are defunding state health care plans for children at every opportunity. They are crippling public education through budget cuts and unrealistic measuring standards. The goal is – and always has been – about using children as a means to cripple women and tie them to home and hearth, ensuring their dependence and subservience.

What is going on is no less an attempt to prevent equality than forcing women to bind their feet, be circumcised or swaddle themselves when out in public.

Whenever God or sanctity or family values are invoked, the end result is never good for women.

American men hate women just as much as their counterparts in the Third World and just as much as Muslim fundamentalists and just as much as those who tried to smother the early suffragettes by jailing and force feeding them did.

Every man who professes a “right to life” is proclaiming his belief that women are chattel to be possessed, ordered about and controlled.

And women take it.

Do we hate ourselves as much as we are hated?

We dress like whores and desperately maintain weights that damage our health while flocking to every beauty product and medical intervention that promise to freeze-frame us in a manner acceptable to men and societal standards set by men.

We work at the expense of our sanity, health and children because men expect us to pull half their load and all of ours too. Women have known since the get-go that “having it all” is a myth but it’s one that men still whole-heartedly support and push down our throats – with our help.

I have daughters. There are wonderful – witty and smart – but their lives will never be as easy as the boys they grew up with because it is still an XY world and with males now the making up more than half the population, how can things get better?

Margaret Wente at The Globe and Mail wrote an idiotic diatribe for International Women’s Day that stated the misguided opinion of too many women in the industrialized world. She wrote that we (women) have won the fight for inequality so shut up about it already.

It’s that attitude that has allowed the legal assault on women to ratchet up this year. Complacency and a preoccupation with crap that is distraction more than substance.

Men have been the dominant race since the beginning of time. They have no reason to share power and have done so only when forced and only reluctantly.

Wake the fuck up, Ladies.


The Emperor's new clothes

Image by Al_HikesAZ via Flickr

Why? Because they don’t like the truth either.

Especially when it challenges their assumptions, illusions, delusions or the outdated and/or unsustainable fantasy lands they prefer over reality.

Take health care for example.

No, really, health care.

Among the many things I am envied for now that I am a “Canadian” is the fact that we have a quasi-universal system whereas my nearest, dearest and somewhat acquainted with in the U.S. are at the mercy of a hodge-podge of plans and coverage that rest largely on one’s ability to have a really good job or be old enough to have finally grabbed the golden Medicare ring.

But it’s not for all its universality and it’s not equitable really because each province is free to fund or not a long list of health care perks to which they can attach user fees – though they tend to be ridiculously modest in light of what the average American pays per month for similar coverage.

The system is also insanely expensive. According to recent numbers if Canadian Medicare was a business, it would be among the largest corporations in the world.  Based on 2009 revenues, it earned$183.1 billion which would earn it the number three spot on Fortune 500’s list between Exxon Mobil and Chevron. It would also be the talk of Wall Street for its poor business practices, and the fact that despite raking in revenue, it’s expenses still manage to eat up most of its “profits”. If it were a business, no investor in his/her right mind would touch it.

Canadians are used to hearing that their much-loved system is in deep do-do. So used to it that their defense mechanisms are well-honed and anyone who dares to point out the Emperor Healthcare is wearing a hospital gown with a decidedly exposed rear end is likely to be shamed at best or called out as Republican in Maple-leaf clothing.

I wrote a post for Care2 the other day – at the urging of my editor – citing a very well-known (if you bother to read the news) fact about how the current conservative government is quietly hanging their share of Medicare funding out on the line in hopes, it seems, that no one will notice what they are doing until it’s too late.

Judging from the roasting I personally received from the Canadian commenters, it would appear that the Harper government‘s stealth abandonment of its obligations is going well. NO ONE believed me. And this in spite of the fact that I linked to the article – chock full of facts – that showed I was correct.

The post I wrote focused mainly on the funding issues and the fact that Canada’s much-cherished system has some issues. Some of them big. And some of them getting bigger.

What did everyone zero in on?

Well, that I am an American. More than a few of the comments seemed to think I was living in the States and writing fiction about Canada’s health care for the Tea Party.

They also didn’t like that I wasn’t enamoured of my health care and called my personal experiences (and I didn’t even share the horrific ones) out as lies. Bald-faced and in the service of Rush Limbaugh.

Shudder.

Which bring me back to this posts title.

People are idiots. And they are rude and they can’t read very well. But mostly, they don’t want to hear truth unless it is their version of it.

The truth is that Canadian healthcare is okay when compared to the nothing  that exists in the States. But there are countries in the world – more than a handful really – that have much, much better, cheaper and more user-friendly systems.

Canadians spend a lot of money for rather average care and for service that would probably get a person fired if they worked at McDonald’s.

I hesitated to share my own experiences because I am met with enough stern looks from people I actually know when I do. It’s always “you should be more grateful”, but why? Just because illness doesn’t have the same capacity to destroy my life as it did down south (though it’s not venom free), I don’t understand being grateful for a system that knows it can be better and refuses because it would be more work than resting on its big fat superior smugness.

And here’s the thing that really eats at me, Canadians are just as complacent as those in the U.S. who have insurance are because they don’t want to be inconvenienced by reform that would make the system better for those forced to deal with it the most (elderly and chronically ill) and those who aren’t lucky enough to have supplemental insurance through an employer. Because they exist like the Ignorance and Want under Christmas Present’s velvety petticoats but they don’t show Canada in the rosy coloured glow that allows folks here to look down their noses at America.

Lefties? Righties? I am beginning to think the world would be better off without either group. Perhaps those of us in the middle could work on getting something real accomplished if they weren’t mucking things up with their hysteria.


My daughter is just six but she has taken a curious interest in the presidential election, insisting on watching the news clips that her dad scans on his computer via a pundit site called TheZoo. She knows the names of the candidates and is sure that Obama will be the better president because 1) her parents thinks so and 2) John McCain looks grumpy and mean.

While we were in Iowa, she discovered that not everyone shares her parents’ political opinions.

“Mom, Nephew2 says that Orock Obama is going to steal our health care. I told him no he wouldn’t but he says yes.”

“Barack Obama will not be stealing our health care, honey. We are Canadians. And he can’t steal health care from Americans because most of them don’t have any to steal.”

Happily BabyD skipped off to inform her seven year old cousin that he was mistaken. 

Days later as we were in the limo on our way to Dad’s interment, Nephew2 felt it necessary to comment on the Obama yard signs we passed by shouting,

“Boobama! Boobama!”

BIL, his father, was in the front seat ignoring him but when questioned about his son’s right wing leanings he made a point of passing the buck.

“I didn’t teach him that. He learned it from Sean Hannity.”

Is it form of child abuse to allow your child to listen to Hannity?

For the rest of the week, BabyD fervently defended “Orock Obama” and Nephew2 just as admantly insisted that the health care of all America is in serious jeopardy. I guess this proves the old adage about not talking politics during family gatherings though I don’t think I have ever seen such young combatants in my life.