By Hillary Barter in Press Herald
In his letter to the editor May 2, Don Vose of Naples argued that a single-payer health care system would not serve us well, referring in part to Canadians “forgoing” their single-payer system.
This may be a commonly held view, but it is not accurate. A poll by Nanos Research found that 86.2 percent of Canadians support the single-payer system and want to strengthen it, rather than move toward a private insurance-based model. This is because on the whole, regular people are well served by this system. Under a single-payer system you will not find yourself in a “coverage gap,” you are not charged a dime if you get hit by a car and you will never go bankrupt if you get cancer, no matter what.
I have experienced both health care systems after marrying a U.S. citizen and moving to Maine. In Canada I had a great doctor, could stop in any walk-in clinic in town if I needed and was always able to access the specialist care I required. Here, I know many people without health care coverage, and I fear that with one wrong move or unlucky break I could be forced to join their ranks.
Altogether, Canada’s single-payer system is not as radically different as some think. A mix of private businesses (including doctors, the majority of whom are self-employed) bill the government for the services they provide; as a rule, the government doesn’t own facilities or employ health care professionals.
Bottom line: If you want everyone to have access to good medical care, move toward single-payer and away from the current profit-based system.