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White House Health Reform Traveling Circus: Dearborn, Michigan edition

"People from Canada are not flocking to Detroit for medical care."
- Medicare recipient and single payer advocate, speaking at the Michigan forum

I'm about 3/4 of the way through the video from the first Health Reform Forum, held in Michigan, and this gentleman is the fourth person [fifth? I'm losing track] to speak up for single payer and/or HR 676. His point is that other countries, Canada, for instance, are doing something right, we should look to them for ideas.

The moderator's answer, for at least the second time in this session, is that we have to get something done NOW NOW NOW [and it's not going to be single payer]. The President wants to get this done in his first term and apparently he doesn't think we can get single payer done in that time.

Great, do something, even if it's wrong.

The very next [supposedly random] person who was called on passionately and almost tearfully said "No, I don't want anything from another country! I want something Uniquely American!"

Lots of corporate types, all of whom want to keep private insurance, and, ack, a scary emphasis on your employer's [implied] right to take an inordinate amount of interest in and control over your health habits, such as what you eat, whether you smoke, etc. And people are worried about the government interfering in their lives.

I'm having trouble getting the video embed to work [lambert, why does the 'input format' thingy hate me? update: it only hates some of the time; got the video to embed finally]. It's also available here at healthreform.gov.

I like the guy near the end, the one who wants us to take the FDA back from the drug companies and give it back to the people.

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Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

"People from Canada are not flocking to Detroit for medical care."

Not only haven't Canadians ever fled across the border, in droves, to seek primary care, here, but many Michigan cities have been offering free bus trips across the border for seniors for years, now, to purchase cheap prescription drugs.

Though, it is a bit more complicated than this. Since the Detroit Medical Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country, those Canadians in the immediate southwest Ontario that can afford it often come for elective surgeries it being the nearest big-city medical complex, and all. In fact, the DMC has a special adviser for Canadian affairs, and most other Detroit hospitals have worked out some kind of relationship with the Ontario government. The Ontario Health Insurance Plan, for instance, doesn't generally pay for elective and non-emergency treatment at Detroit-area hospitals, but it does pay for emergency procedures at Detroit-area hospitals. In some nonemergency cases, though, if a service or procedure can't be done in southwest Ontario they'll pay for it at Detroit-area hospitals. It's a complicated relationship.

Submitted by hipparchia on

some of that is because the nearest big canadian city with large, well-staffed medical facilities, is further away from small canadian towns on/near the border, and detroit is closer. same deal with a few other american cities on other parts of the border, iirc.

we've got a similar situation here where i live on the florida/alabama border. for a mid-size city with decent medical facilities, many alabamians come here [though this is changing somewhat as southern alabama grows]. the situation with major universities with teaching hospitals is the reverse -- the nearest such in florida is 300 miles away, but the nearest one in alabama is only about 200 miles and floridians frequently opt for the one in alabama.

i haven't kept up with it, so i could be off, but the local largest hospital chain stretches over 3 [maybe 4, or even 5] counties, with one [2?] of those counties being in alabama [their flagship hospital is here in florida], and the largest local hmo/ppo does too, because of that.

i can't find the link now, but something like 90% of canadians getting medical care in the u.s. are the snowbirds who live in nice warm places like florida in the winter and just happen to get sick while they're here. i suppose it's always possible though, that they're deliberately putting off getting elective treatment until they reach their 'wintering grounds' here. whether or not that's the case, canadians sure aren't flocking to the u.s.

before medicare part d, my parents used to buy their drugs [mailorder] from canada. i'm not sure, but i think some of my northern relatives have driven across the border in informal caravans to get canadian drugs too.

Submitted by jawbone on

Her husband died of cancer and I asked where he was treated. She said they went back to Canada as soon as they knew the diagnosis, even tho' it was winter.

She said that if she get's sick, she's hightailing it back to Canada for treatment, that it was so much better.

Now this was 5 or so years ago, but I was pleasantly surprised, given all the negative press the Candian healthcare system gets here. Her experience confirmed what I've heard from any Canadian I've talked to.

Individual stories are just that, but we get only dreck instead of facts from most of our MCMers.

Submitted by hipparchia on

yep, individual stories are just that, and one could argue that people feel more comfortable at times like that at home, but once the stories start adding up...

not to mention all the real data out there that's being ignored or downright poo-pooed. dreck, indeed.

Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

some of that is because the nearest big canadian city with large, well-staffed medical facilities, is further away from small canadian towns on/near the border, and detroit is closer.

Yes, I described that in my post, and it's not just some of it, but most of it.

Since the Detroit Medical Center is one of the largest and most comprehensive in the country, those Canadians in the immediate southwest Ontario that can afford it often come for elective surgeries it being the nearest big-city medical complex, and all.

Submitted by hipparchia on

i thought you were suggesting there was more to it than just that.

Submitted by hipparchia on

it's the ahip listening tour 2.0!

a quote for you [forgive my less-than-perfect transcribing]:

Melody Barnes, moderator [beginning @ 52:00], in response to a couple of members of the audience who are in favor of HR 676:

... and obviously there are a number of people in the room who support a single payer system, and certainly Congressman Conyers has taken great leadership on that. You're absolutely right. One of the things the President has said is if we were starting from scratch, that probably would be the way to go. He's also said, over the course of the campaign, and being in the White House that sometimes. He always wants to hear from people, whether or not we all agree on the way to go because we learn about ... a lot from one another and having that conversation.

He beleives ... in looking at everything we've learned over the last couple of years, that because this problem is urgent, looking at our ability to move legislation and get it done, that building on our current healthcare system is the way to go. I know not everyone in the room agrees with that, but I want to be forthright with you and say, he did make the comment that you said, I think stands by that, but he believes the course that we're taking right now is probably the most expeditious one to try and get our costs down and to try to bring people into the system and making sure that we have affordable quality healthcare for all people.

After one more question, she then turned the floor over to Governor Granholm who mentioned that there was obviously a lot of support for single payer, and she wanted to hear about the role of insurance companies in healthcare reform, so she called on the CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Submitted by hipparchia on

lulz!

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

cares whether their health plan is "uniquely American"? Seriously, other than some industry plant, who on earth would ever demand such a thing about health care.

That's great that you can cure my cancer doctor, but will the cure be uniquely American? Because if it's not, I'd rather suffer and die. Like real Americans do.

What the fuck?

Submitted by hipparchia on

who are intractably knee-jerk xenophobic, with deeply ingrained fears that the furriners are going to kill us all in our hospital beds. my guess is that they're imagining dark-skinned people in turbans and robes, muttering over them in halting, barely-intelligible english, and that then they'll be sent off to die in soviet gulags. they're a small but vocal minority, and all the players who stand to lose something if we get single payer are happily whipping them into a frenzy of fear.

all of the rest of us don't fucking care who ultimately writes the checks to the doctors and hospitals.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

I don't have the time to watch it, so please, tell me if someone from the audience actually offered up the phrase that pays and pays: "uniquely American." I've heard of using a plant, but that's a sequoia!

Submitted by hipparchia on

but just because it's you who ask:

beginning about 1:28:30, is the gentleman [a medicare recipient] who i referred to in my post, the one who said people from canada are not flocking to detroit for medical care. he wants us to look at the evidence from all the other countries, especially canada, and learn from them: this is not rocket science he says [and he puts in a plug for hr 676 too].

melody barnes does a summing up, including mentioning learning from other countries, but alas, emphasizing that we have uniquely american problems and that we have to focus on what we can get done quickly and efficiently and in the first term of the president's administration.

and then gov granholm takes over, asking to hear from the audience again, preferably on any points that haven't been made yet. she makes the point that a lot of people support single payer and then there's what's politically possible. the first person she calls on [beginning @ 1:33:00] is concerned about rural americans [she's right to be concerned, it's an under-served population], and wants us all to work together, and not polarize, not point fingers, and she goes on:

i don't want to look around the world for solutions. i want the president to focus on community solutions. we're uniquely american, we have good ideas, we're entrepreneurs, we sent our smart guys in high school off to med school, we sent our caring gals and guys off to nursing school, we sent the guys with the little pocket protectors off to learn about computers, we can do this.

so, while i did misquote her slightly [i had her saying she wanted a uniquely american solution, which she didn't say exactly, but she strongly implied]. plus, one of the moderators, melody barnes, had used that exact phrase just a few minutes before, so i get bonus points for that.

Submitted by lambert on

Not a plant, but a sequoia. Look at the language:

Obama's signature rhetorical device during the campaign* was anaphora: the repetition of a word or phrase at the beginning of successive phrases, clauses or lines. As in:

[W]e're uniquely american, we have good ideas, we're entrepreneurs, we sent our smart guys in high school off to med school, we sent our caring gals and guys off to nursing school, we sent the guys with the little pocket protectors off to learn about computers, we can do this.

And, of course, "we can do this" is an obvious echo of "Yes, we can."

Not definitive proof of the OFB nature of the extremely spontaneously final questioner, but certainly suggestive. If it walks like, if it talks like...

NOTE * Best cite I can find at this hour. Others at Corrente here, here, and here. One detailed analysis; another.

Submitted by hipparchia on

talk about gmta, i was reading an analysis of obama's speechifying style earlier today. it was written by someone with obama derangement syndrome, who is probably also a real true racist, so i won't go hunting for the link.

early on, i read something about obama's picking up a lot of his oratorical flourishes from jeremiah wright, which struck me as plausible. one way or another, i've heard a lot of that style of preaching, and obama's speeches never struck me as anything out of the ordinary.

vastleft's picture
Submitted by vastleft on

Just like reality, but with a script written by the creative class!

Why does a certain line from They Might Be Giants' eponymous song come to mind?

They might be fake
They might be lies
They might be big, big, fake, fake lies

Thanks for looking this up!

I love the "I don't want to look around the world" riff! Why look at the solution that works everywhere else in the world, when there's more profit in being a shill for the Death By Spreadsheet crowd?