Early this week, the former Three’s Company star, Suzanne Somers, decided that she needed to enter the healthcare debate. I’m not sure what her qualifications would be. Maybe because she is a fitness guru… that qualifies her as an expert. Okay, I’ll go with that.
She starts off with a statement that is guaranteed to upset or excite half of her audience. She writes, “First of all, let’s call affordable health care what it really is: It’s socialized medicine.” Seriously, is that the way we are going to start the conversation? That’s just about as subtle as that line from Saturday Night Live – “Jane, you ignorant slut.” The word “socialized” is associated with badness in the US. It embodies all of the bad of government. According to WikiPedia, Ron Paul’s #1 source for information, “socialized medicine is a term used to describe and discuss systems of universal health care—that is, medical and hospital care for all at a nominal cost by means of government regulation of health care and subsidies derived from taxation. “
Let’s be honest. The Affordable Care Act is simply a small patch on our current system. This patch is NOT designed to fix everything that ails our current system. Instead, this patch is meant to address only the worst problems in our current system. Working Americans who had health insurance who happened to come down with something bad and expensive were kicked out of the insurance pool. ACA fixed that. Insurance was really too expensive for young adults to purchase. ACA fixed that. Women were asked to pay more because they supposedly cost more to cover (not really true – woman between the ages of 20-30 are more expensive, but then men between the ages of 40-60 are more expensive to cover. The insurance industry punished women and never punished the men.) This is fixed.
Ms Somers decided that she would dig up one of the very old arguments – Healthcare in Canada is worse than healthcare here in the US. She states, “My sister-in-law had to wait two months to get a General Practitioner.” Really? That’s her argument? As I mentioned here, I wanted to find my own primary care physician in Asheville. I have insurance. I couldn’t even get anyone on the phone to make an appointment. The best I got was an answering machine for me to leave my name and number and then someone would get back to me within a week to make an appointment to see someone. That’s the best I got. The other practice I called NEVER got back to me. Even after I pulled my doctor card and spoke with the secretary, as soon as I mentioned that I wanted to make an appointment to see a physician, I was placed on hold and then I was talking to an answering machine, leavinge my name and number. Don’t tell me that healthcare is better here in the US by pulling an anecdote out of your behind. By any objective evidence, healthcare in the United States is the same or worse than it is in Canada. Let me say that again, healthcare in Canada appears to be superior than healthcare here in the United States when you look at objective evidence.
Look, the purpose of critiquing Suzanne Somers isn’t to belittle her. I want to point out the errors that we see commonly in this health-care debate. A combination of anecdotes plus falsehoods equals her whole argument. The only thing that I can agree with that she wrote is that she’s authored 24 books.