Home > Politics or: the art of looking for trouble > Fact Checking “ObamaCare Yay Or Nay? The Truth About Canada!”

Fact Checking “ObamaCare Yay Or Nay? The Truth About Canada!”

This is response to the following youtube video with over a half million hits:

The video was hosted by the annoying, stand-up comedian and FoxNews commentator, Steven Crowder, for Tea Party movement pimp PJTV.

In addition to being not funny and having obnoxious amounts of dude-man-bro-awesome Dane Cook frat boy, there’s a lot of the “truth” in the video about health care in Canada that’s just anecdotal stylization about waiting.

00:06  “Socialized Health Care!  Isn’t it about time we get on board?”  First words of the video, followed by clips of people talking about universal health care.  I’m going to make probably the most relevant point of the entire America-Canada health care system debate:  Canada does not have a socialized health care system.  They have a public INSURANCE system, and private insurance and health care providers also exist.  

“Socialized Medicine” has sketchy semantic connotations, but generally refers to a health care program run by the government. In the United Kingdom’s publicly- funded National Health Service, most general practitioners are independent contractors, which means that they are self-employed but also have a contract with the government to provide specific services on certain terms.  Even the more left-wing proposed legislation (not ObamaCare) in the US, which seeks to establish universal government-backed insurance, does not reach the government involvement of UK’s NHS levels.

Conservatives have recently been attempting to label any publicly-funded (tax payer-funded) system, including insurance, as “socialized medicine.”  But with that definition, the United States already has socialized medicine; it’s called Medicare.  Medicare is available to the disabled or retired, and it has higher satisfaction and performance rates as opposed to private insurance.

2:15  Steven and his homeboys go to the Clinique Médicale Urgence St-Hubert on a weekend but it’s closed. From all the French, we can establish they are in Quebec, Canada.   Funding for the health insurance is provided by the province, not directly from the federal government, so viewers should note Canadian quality may vary by province.

2:57  “Take a number.  The nurse will call with the number.” “Triage… which means we wait and get judged by a nurse.” (3:15)  They told the staff at the the hospital that they were not urgent.  In my experience, in private hospitals in the US, prioritizing by urgency works the same way.

4:24  Steve is denied a plastic glove to play with.  Tragic.  No rooster blow up doll for you.

5:05 They get tired of waiting at the hospital and leave.  With no accompanying footage, Steve tells anecdotal stories about other people in the waiting room.

7:25  They go back to the clinic the next day and the clinician tells them that they don’t offer cholesterol blood tests.  That doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.  There’s no point in getting your cholesterol checked by a walk-in clinic, because you should go to primary doctor for a chronic condition.

8:01 The clinician says that it’s $900 for a private clinic check up.  What?!  That’s about $937 US dollars.  That figure doesn’t make sense.  The woman’s English was clearly not fluent.  There are private clinics that offer MRIs for only $695.

15:22  “The average wait time to see a specialist in Canada is 17.3 weeks.”  He didn’t cite a source for that figure, or how it was calculated, if it included outliers.  Here’s a study that says 51% of Quebec patients waiting to see a specialist do so within a month.

16:05 “It’s proven to be terribly inefficient.”  Using what standard?  Certainly not cost.  The per capita health care spending of Canada is nearly half that of the United States.

17:05 “Socialism creates a safety net…”  Followed up by footage from a Subway.  Canadian sandwich shops are Socialist because they cost more?  I think I missed the sandwich-standard definition of Socialism in school.

19:58 “Do you still think Obama is moving us in the right direction here?”  Thanks, Steve, for actually talking about ObamaCare anywhere in the video.

Most parts of the video I didn’t address were just a series of medical horror stories from random interviewed Canadians.  You can find stories like that anywhere about any health care system.

Recap:  Canada is not Socialist.  Health care in Canada sucks, but health care in America still sucks more.  Everyone wants free, efficient doctors.  No one still knows anything about ObamaCare.  And Steven Crowder is about as funny as Dane Cook and Michelle Bachman’s lovechild.

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