Yes, that’s right…ol’ Aqua Buddha is coming up here to Ontario to get a hernia repair done at the Shouldice Hospital, a facility specializing in non-mesh hernia surgery which is, according to its website, the only one of its kind in the world. The hospital is remunerated mainly by OHIP, since most of its patients are Ontarians on the public health insurance plan. Aqua Buddha, however, won’t be getting it for free; he’ll be paying a few thousand out of pocket, which my US friends have assured me is the same amount he’d spend in a co-pay. (Apparently double billing is standard in the US of Amnesia.) He’s coming to Shouldice in order to NOT have to pay that extra bit, which has been known to bankrupt US patients all too often, particularly those who fall between the cracks.
But aside from his cheapness, there’s also the hilariously stupid notions he expressed (starting at the 4:20 mark in the video) about publicly funded healthcare being “slavery”. Yes, you heard right…Aqua Buddha Boy there seems to think that public-health doctors are human chattel, doing forced labor on an imaginary plantation for nothing. That could not be further from the truth up here in the Great North — which, you may recall, was the final stop on the Underground Railroad. We take a dim view of slavery in general up here.
But more than that, our doctors are emphatically NOT anyone’s chattel. They’re not even indentured servants. They are paid for their work, and they get by quite nicely, thankyouverymuch. Nobody owns them in any way. The only difference between them and their US counterparts is that here, it’s the public purse that’s paying them, rather than the individuals and/or their private insurers.
Plus, the whole concept of a “co-pay” is nonexistent up here. It’s a dirty trick on the part of private insurers to keep their own costs down and their profits high; it forces the patient to pay more out of pocket than the insurer, in many cases. It also leads to some messy and confusing billing situations, and coupled with a for-profit medical system, some utter disasters, too. That’s why our public health system works so well, and is also cheaper than that in the US by far. Our billing process is less convoluted, so hospitals don’t need to add a whole extra department to their overheads; that way, rates are lower. Hospitals (and private medical practices) don’t have to advertise to attract patients; patients don’t have to shop around for private insurance (and pray they don’t get ripped off in the process). It’s a good system on the whole.
The only problems we have lie not with the system itself, but with the bean-counters at the provincial level, who seem to think that cutbacks will make the system “more efficient”, and have been trying that failed strategy since the mid-1990s. So far, that’s done nothing but lead to bed closures and hallway medicine. NOT efficient, to say the least. The obvious solution is to put more money in the public system and make it untouchable, but so far, nobody seems to have twigged to that. The result has been a shortage of doctors (particularly in rural and remote areas) and nurses, as well as fewer hospitals and more overcrowding in emergency rooms.
Now, that may not be a problem for the likes of Shouldice; when you’re literally the only place in the world doing what you do, and you bill by the procedure rather than being subject to a set budget like public hospitals, you can probably afford to advertise out-of-country and set rates that are quite competitive with those of your US counterparts. So it’s little wonder that they get somebody like, say, Aqua Buddha there.
But as with all things conservative, the guy says one thing (which is frankly fucking ludicrous even on the surface of it), then comes up here and does another. That’s good for a round and sound mocking. Which the Majority Report gang deliver, in spades.
And it’s richly deserved, too.