A different way of thinking about health care

The Canadian system isn’t perfect, but no one up north wants to trade it By Wendell Potter, The Center for Public Integrity – A Charleston, South Carolina man who thought he had pretty good health insurance may miss work today, as he has several times already this year, because of a hernia. He’s in constant pain and needs surgery, but he has been postponing it. It’s not because he’s afraid of hospitals or going under the knife. It’s because he can’t afford the deductible. I heard this story last week from a relative of his, Elizabeth May, who because she lives a few miles north of the U.S.-Canadian border has never faced such a dilemma. May was astonished to learn that many Americans, her cousin included, regularly postpone needed care because their insurance plans require paying several thousand dollars out of their own pockets before their coverage kicks in. Of...

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American-style health care system pushed in Canada

By Wendell Potter Prime minister pushing free market principles for single-payer system VANCOUVER, British Columbia — During the year leading up to the 2008 presidential primaries, my insurance industry colleagues and I were working hard to influence the debate on health care reform. Our number one objective: make Americans so afraid of “heading down the slippery slope toward socialism” that no candidate would even consider supporting a Canadian-style, single-payer health care system. Leading the scare campaign behind the scenes was the trade association, America’s Health Insurance Plans. With help from a right-wing Canadian outfit called the Fraser Institute, which has received funding from the Koch brothers and other American donors, AHIP put together a three-ring binder of talking points for insurance company executives  to use in speeches and media interviews. The contribution from the Fraser Institute, a long-time advocate of privatizing the Canadian system, was a handful of selective...

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Obamacare subscribers: Beware of high deductibles

By Wendell Potter for The Center for Public Integrity   Coverage ‘not as affordable as many people need it to be’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last Thursday rejected the notion that Democrat Alex Sink’s narrow loss to Republican David Jolly in last week’s special election in Florida — in a congressional district that Republicans have held for half a century — was a referendum on Obamacare. “I’m very proud of our House Democrats, not only how they’ve embraced the Affordable Care Act … but how proud they are of it,” Pelosi said. “I think the Republicans are wasting their time using that as their election issue and they will find that out.” Pelosi went on to say, however, that, “there are some things (about the law) that need to be fixed.” She didn’t suggest what those things are, but I’m betting at the very least she wishes she...

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