Politicians aren't all the same, even if they all do terrible things

You may have misread my sentence: if you don’t want to get elected, tell Canadians that you’ll get rid of Medicare.

Decades ago, I worked for one of the sister/subsidiary companies of Astral Media (one of their retail photo store). I worked for a few weeks with the son of one of the owners - a millionaire, back then.

It was a slow day; we were talking about his father’s recent foot surgery. “Yeah,” he said, “we could easily pay for the surgery, but $13,000 is a lot of money, even for us, for anybody. We’re glad that in Canada, we didn’t have to pay for it.”

Even rich Canadians who don’t need it think it’s a good idea. Being kind and considerate to your fellow citizens really does work. You’all should give it a try.


Nope. Triage here is normally quite good, so, if you are going into emergency with a sore throat, you will wait for hours; go in with chest pains and they will be on your case almost immediately. You will wait for a CT for a non-critical problem; if you have something potentially dangerous, you’ll get that CT post-haste (speaking from experience here - high risk prostate cancer, i.e., high Gleeson , high PSA, and I most certainly have not been kept waiting for diagnosis or treatment.)

Now, I’m frankly quite poor. I have had 38 sessions of radiation (i.e., 5 days a week for almost 2 months), plus Zoladex injections once every three months. Neither is particularly cheap (iirc, Zoladex is about 3,000 CAD per injection). How much do you figure I’d be dinged in deductible in your country? How much treatment would I have available as a poor person? How quickly?

At some point, the people elected to lead have to lead. That may involve selling a (putatively) unpopular initiative. I was certainly alive when universal healthcare was brought in up here, and there was considerable uncertainty - it wasn’t even certain whether it was a federal responsibility or a provincial one. (As it settled out constitutionally, the provinces run it, but the feds hold the purse strings.) The government of the day went out on that limb and succeeded.

I do recall the situation when Obama brought out ACA: the Dems had a majority in both houses, but the single payer option never got considered; it was never even put on the table.

You cannot even hope to obtain an optimal solution if you never put it up for negotiation.

That wasn’t because single payer couldn’t be sold - I strongly suspect that, with a bit of smarts (and Obama is a smart cookie), it could have been. It really strikes me, looking at it from up here, that ACA was conceived as a sweetheart deal for the insurance industry.


It certainly tries to give something to each of the established interest groups.

The medicare expansions kept things under the control of the state governments, and the decision to refuse them and to hold poor people hostage created the donut hole.

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What is the “donut hole”?

Please unpack your concept.

If the funding is federal, it does give the possibility of creating a reasonably uniform system across the country. There have been rumblings from time to time about creating a two-tier system in certain provinces. The feds have been known to crack the whip when that happens ( as in “Screw around, and we’ll cut those lovely transfer payments you’re getting”).


Someone else can probably answer this better than me, but here goes. The donut hole is a gap wherein certain people are too poor to afford any of the plans in the marketplace(s) set up by the ACA but too “well off” to be covered under medicare, partially because certain states fought against the expansion of medicare which is supposed to be part of ACA.


Thank you. More reason, imo, to have universal American healthcare, yo.


Ohhhhh Yassssss!


Oh, I quite agree. Writing in Bernie Sanders would be going for “perfect”, while voting for Stein is accepting the “good”.

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Actually, I think it’s the deeply ingrained belief that America is the one country in the world where hard work and determination can allow anyone to succeed. This belief has certainly helped America become the economic super-power that it is, in that Americans are notoriously hard working, believing their efforts will be rewarded.

However, the flip-side of that belief is that if you don’t succeed, then it’s your own damn fault. You simply lacked the determination and diligence.

And if it was your “choice” not to succeed, there’s far less onus on your fellow American to support you.

It’s unfortunate, but I think the culture that has helped Americans to become the wealthiest citizenry on the planet also makes them far less philosophically prone to feel obligated to help their fellow citizen.


I get that you’re talking more about perception than reality, but still…

America did not become wealthy because Americans are exceptionally hard working. America became wealthy because of (a) possessing incredibly abundant natural resources, (b) being geographically protected from military threat, and © being the major arms dealer during both world wars.


and (d), for most of its existence, not having a permanent ruling caste sucking up most of the nation’s surplus wealth.


I think a 3rd and even 4th or 5th party would be great, but Stein is a terrible candidate. Pure protest vote material. The greens don’t have a deep enough bench of qualified people. Even for my local elections the greens aren’t particularly impressive. They seem to attract folk who love pseudoscience and aren’t interested in boring things like my actual district.


It sounds like a purity test;

  • you’re celebrating one who is impure

  • here is an example of that impurity

  • now you too must deny any merits they might also have.

Constantly refusing to accept “halfway solutions” is how Republicans have managed to control both the Republicans and the Democrats, Congress, the Senate, and the White House.

You don’t have to agree with everything a politician stands for but you do need to have some automatic fail principles. And you must let them know what these are. Over and over and over.

Absolutely agreed. Getting a “free” continent (at least after massive depopulation) makes material success a lot easier.

However, as a non-American, my perception is that the American culture has also been instrumental to its success. It was interesting watching after high-school and university several of the most capable of my peers head to the US because they also believed that their dynamism, hard-work, and determination would be better rewarded in the US than anywhere else in the world.

And they were probably right. I think the USA still has fewer barriers to success for the truly exceptional than almost anywhere else on earth.

But as I said - the “anyone can succeed” paradigm has a dark underside.

Side tangent addendum: As a thought experiment, if you could magically offer the population of each country a guaranteed income of, say, 40% of the median wage for that country but could not earn any other income, I wonder what percentage of the working-age population in each country would take the deal?

My suspicion? In national ranking, the US would be among the lowest percentage accepting that deal. Instead of 40%, what about 90% of median wage?

For a true psychological measure, you’d need to control for variations in the median income and cost of living in each country.

The US has a dreadful gini coefficient. US average income is high (about $45k); US median income is relatively low (about $30k). 40% of US median income represents a substantial degree of poverty.

It also has sharply racialised income distribution; knock about 20% off those numbers if you limit it to African Americans.

You’d also need to take account of the social safety net; poverty is a lot more survivable in countries with universal health care etc.

The USA is a good place to be rich, particularly if you’re also white. It’s an appallng place to be working-class or below.


OK, so should we demand that Democrats being acting as intransigent and hard-headed as Republicans? Seems like a guaranteed way to get even less done in Washington.

And too poor to qualify for the subsidies to help people afford insuirance plans. Because they’re supposed to get medicaid, not the subsidies. But the state doesn’t do medicaid, apart from a limited program for pregnant people.


Thank you. I couldn’t remember how the subsidies played into it.

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