April 09, 2010

Ow, My Balls! (A Meditation on the Benefits of Canadian Healthcare)

“€œIt never seems to amaze me”€ (as P Diddy once said) how confidently people speak about something as incredibly complex as healthcare. They know America spends more on healthcare than Canada and they know one in six Americans go without it. Therefore, Canada has a better system. The longer waiting time for Canadian procedures is discouraging but it’s better to get a hip in a year than to never be able to afford one at all.

Many resent the comparison and say Canadians are taxed to death. The truth is, after tax, Canadians have the exact same amount in their wallets: 82 percent of gross. So, are our Northern neighbors not living proof socialized medicine works?

Well, to truly understand the difference between both countries you have to go deep inside both systems and experience how they operate first hand. I did this and was shocked to discover this “€œcompare and contrast”€ exercise left me with more questions than answers.

A few years ago, I got into a fight with some gigantic hosers (Canadians rednecks) in Ottawa and they broke my nose so severely, I thought it was gone. Apparently a human nose can be snapped to 90˚ and tucked neatly under your left eye where you”€™d never think to check. I drove to the Ottawa Civic Hospital spraying blood and pulled into ER at about midnight. Hospital staff don”€™t like pugilists because they see us as the opposite of the hippocratic oath so if you”€™re drunk and bloody in a Canadian ER you better be ready to have an already long wait, tripled. At noon the next day, a doctor used 100% of his strength to wrench my nose bone back into its original spot. He then explained I could get plastic surgery to make it completely straight if I wanted and that would be covered. Then he walked away without a care in the world.

“About a third of every dollar spent on healthcare in this country goes to paperwork, which is why America spends 17 percent of its GDP on the little healthcare it provides while Canada covers everyone for 10 percent of GDP.”

Cut to New York City where a crippling ball pain brought me to a Gramercy Park physician. My testicles felt like they were being chewed by a badger. The doctor’s first thought was covering his bases. He peeled back my foreskin and told me I had herpes. Then he looked at my scrotum and said I had to got get a mammogram. This involves having a man smother your balls with hot gel and then slowly rub a vibrating pad over them while you both stare up at a huge screen examining every square inch of your junk. It feels so good, I was worried about getting an erection and even caught myself asking Rajiv the technician about his personal life which is weird because I”€™m pretty sure I”€™m not gay and even if I was, I”€™m pretty sure I wouldn”€™t be into East Indians, they”€™re too hirsute.

A week later, my doctor looked up from a pile of papers and told me I didn”€™t have herpes or cancer. Then he got back to filing. About a third of every dollar spent on healthcare in this country goes to paperwork, which is why America spends 17 percent of its GDP on the little healthcare it provides while Canada covers everyone for 10 percent of GDP. “€œBut what about my balls?”€ I asked him. It hadn”€™t occurred to him he needed to solve my problem. Once he covered his own ass he figured his job was done. “€œDo you drink coffee?”€ he asked. Why yes, we just got a fancy espresso machine at work and I had been going bananas on the thing. “€œAnd you drink beer at night?”€ he presumed. Uh huh. “€œI”€™m an alcoholic,”€ I responded. Without looking up, the doctor told me I was dehydrated. He suggested I drink more water which I did and it worked. My health plan cost my company $800 a month and I probably spent thousands more of taxpayer’s money on those stupid tests but the whole thing could”€™ve been resolved in a Tweet.

After getting my testicles and nose back, I came to the conclusion America’s litigious culture has crippled doctors and the whole system is in drastic need of an overhaul. My gut told me Canada was better but imposing beaver values on a bald eagle still didn”€™t feel right. America is unlike any other country on earth. Where Europeans are happy to give half their paychecks to the government and take the train everywhere, Americans would rather drive their own shitbox down a back alley looking for a shortcut. This country is made up of mavericks who have no intention of playing well with others. On top of this unique Wild West culture, we have 12 million illegal aliens who could care less if someone in New England needs a new hip. Canada, on the other hand, has 150,000 illegals. Ironically, it’s America’s “Finders keepers losers weepers” culture that drew the illegals to this country in the first place.

If Obama is going to fix this problem, he had better ignore Canada and every other country in the world because they have nothing to do with the beautiful mess that is America. To pretend otherwise is to kick history in the balls and then punch it in the face. 

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