A few days ago, those two topics converged in a remarkable post bluntly but accurately titled “The Koch brothers lie about Canadian healthcare.” In it, he targets the brothers’ multi-million-dollar anti-health-care-reform ad campaign. Those ads feature an Ontario woman whose claims about Canadian health care’s defects don’t withstand even a little scrutiny.
It’s way too easy to shrug off shaded truths, exaggerated claims and outright lies as part of the political game. But those lies sank health reform under Bill Clinton, and they threaten to do it again by reversing Obama’s modest but important advances. And Ian has first-hand experience of the very real consequences of an unreformed US health insurance system.
Canada’s health care system has fully funded Ian’s radiation treatment at a California proton radiation facility at Loma Linda hospital. But too many of the patients he met there couldn’t count on coverage from their insurers… and couldn’t foot the bills themselves:
I made friends there with a woman from Texas with a lousy husband, kids and her own promising career. Except, like me, she had a chordoma.
The treatment for chordoma was 8-10 weeks of proton radiation, give or take a few days. It cost somewhere between $100 and $200 thousand and most HMO’s didn’t want to cover it. My friend was no exception. So several times a week she’d get on the phone to plead with her insurer to pay for another week of treatment.
She didn’t complete the treatment. And she stopped answering my emails a year later. She was dead.
I met a very funny guy from the South with some kind of cancer of the scalp. He didn’t complete. He’s dead.
I was asked to talk with a young guy who didn’t have the money to get a proper diagnosis until too late. So as the chordoma destroyed the vertebrae in his neck he saw a chiropractor who told him he was out of alignment. For two years he was out of alignment. Then in terrible pain he saw a real doctor. He didn’t complete. He’s also dead – late diagnosis, limited treatment.
I hope you’ll read Ian’s post, and consider sharing it widely. There’s a very well-funded effort to conscript Canada’s health care as a weapon against positive change in the United States; it’s important that American voters and politicians hear from Canadians like Ian, too.