Health Care Is Sicko:  That's Why I Don't Want To Strangle Michael Moore That Badly Right Now

By:  Rachel Marsden

VANCOUVER -- I love sparring with liberals more than hanging out with people who agree with me. It challenges my thinking and shapes my arguments.

But in critiquing Michael Moore's new movie, Sicko, some argue that he's simply too fat to merit a voice in the health care debate -- typically before ripping into a pack of Ding Dongs and calling it a day. How about making the fat crack the icing and not the whole cake?

A U.S. cable news outlet recently featured the headline: "National Health Care: Breeding Ground For Terror." One panelist suggested terrorists could spread the Ebola virus through the public system. I think someone just saw the latest Bruce Willis movie -- the one where he rams his car into a helicopter -- and mistook it for a documentary.

Here's the reality of the "universal" Canadian and "private" U.S. systems:

While visiting family last week in Vancouver, I visited a doctor to get a bump on my wrist checked out. Being a Canadian citizen, I just emptied thousands of tax dollars into government coffers in April. But because I am now a resident of New York City, I had to get $50 cash to pay for the visit.

I waited four hours to have the doctor tell me what I already knew: It was a ganglion cyst. I explained that I had been smashing it with a heavy book because that was the cure I found on the Internet. He wasn't impressed. But after waiting four hours, I was tempted to just start going at it in the waiting room again with the massive Age Of Reagan book I had with me.

A surgical solution would mean five-to-six months and a small fortune in Canada for a non-resident -- or immediate treatment under my $350 per month (health and dental) U.S. insurance plan, plus a $75 hospital deductible.

The wrist surgery would be "free" for a Canadian resident.

However, last October, while a resident of Toronto, I needed immediate wisdom teeth removal -- a medical procedure that set me back $2,000 because it wasn't covered.

Some B.C. doctors close several hours early every day, turning people away because the provincial government places a cap on the daily amount of money they will pay a doctor. As the population ages, the system can't support it.

The answer for both countries is a hybrid system. Those who want fast treatment can pay a bit more for private care, which would take the burden off a government-funded system for those who can't afford it. And everyone should have to pay a nominal fee for each visit -- just as a reminder that your doctor isn't your coffee buddy.

And Cuba isn't that great either, Michael -- which is why Castro has a Spanish doctor, and all that free health care can't stop people from risking the sharks and swimming to Miami. Although I'm sure Castro was happy to roll out the red carpet in exchange for some free propaganda in the U.S. market.

Moore is right in that U.S. insurance companies need to give people the treatment they pay for without the game playing. And every U.S. presidential candidate should be shaken upside down on their health care record, in light of the thousands of lobbying dollars they accept from the industry. This conservative would be happy to do so any time in a forum with Michael Moore -- despite any mutual urges to strangle one another -- because this is not an ideological issue.