Basic Instincts: Go To Canada. It’s Cold, But You’ll Live Longer

By. J. Michael Willard

At our Side, Turkey home there seems a forever yellow dollop of sun and a breeze wafting between the Taurus Mountains and the Mediterranean Sea. We’re a stone’s toss to Anadolu Hospital.

Ours is a second home, a three-bedroom, two-story retreat where I find refuge and have completed most of my novels and my autobiographical “The Optimistic Alien: Fighting Back in Risky Markets”.

Anadolu Hospital is where my neighbor went to get his ticker mended with a stint. From all reports, as they say, he’s “good to go.” My wife went there after a ghastly sunburn.

If the occasion arises — and I hope it doesn’t — I will traverse the 150 yards to this medical haven this summer. The interesting point is Turkey only spends $1,227 per capita on health care.

Amazingly — according to actuarial charts — folks in Turkey manage to live about the same number of years as we Americans, 78 and a couple of months. One rarely thinks of the country as a bastion of world-class medical care.

A hop, skip and 6,000 miles away the US health-care bill per capita is 10 times higher than in Turkey. I can hear the caterwauling now. It’s all caused by, my gosh, that damned Obamacare and immigrants.

Calm down.

Those claims represent false tropes tossed out as juicy meat to the red-domed MAGA-base. Sort of like Food Stamps to the poor crashes the budget and it is not results of subsidies for corporations and tax cuts for the rich.

Let’s face it, such charges represent chum bait for the gullible.

If you believe high medical costs fall exclusively in Uncle Sam’s domain of foolish policies, you probably also have fallen hook, line, and sinker for our President’s 16,000 and counting other lies.

In the first place, it’s a myth to think the US represents nirvana in medical care, and that everyone gets gold-plated service. Medical treatment in America, by-and-large, is excellent, but, on many levels, not exceptional.

This is, of course, necessarily anecdotal, but I have experienced excellent treatment in Russia, Ukraine, and Great Britain. I can’t swear to the same since coming back to the US four years ago from Eastern Europe.

In the US, whether you have insurance or not, 66 percent of the personal bankruptcies are caused by folks having to beg, borrow and set up Go-Fund me accounts to pay medical bills.

This is due to the high co-pays and hidden costs one is clobbered with on leaving the hospital, such as services that happen to be “out of plan” for insurance reimbursement. It is a uniquely American form of extortion.

And what is Joe Schmo the Ragman getting for his bucks?

In Canada — which the Peanut Gallery likes to accuse of socialist inefficiencies — the cost per capital each year is $4,974 with an expected lifespan of 82 years. That’s about half of America’s per capita cost.

In Sweden? The per capita bill is $5,447, and you get to stick around on the planet also until about 82 given good genes and that fickle finger of fate which can be damned arbitrary.

Having launched complaints about the US health-care system, I am not for Medicare for all or nationalize medicine. I am for improvements in Obamacare, a grand experiment that is (was) actually working.

In this regard, thank God for the late Sen. John McCain who was a sentry at the gate when his fellow Republicans attempted to destroy the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act.

But what’s the root of the problem?

Health care in the United States is a $3.6 trillion business. It has resulted in an unhealthy scrum and scramble for dough with each side having powerful allies.

Two-thirds of Americans say they live in fear of being wiped out by an unexpected hospital stay. Virtually everyone says something must be done about the problem, even the special interest groups who benefit from it — but their sincerity is suspect.

They make haste slowly and enlist an army of lobbyists in Washington, DC and in state capitals to make sure their nests are eternally feathered. They have become the masters on the health-care chessboard.

Today, the hospitals, the doctors, the insurers and the pharmaceutical industry — all of whom claim to coordinate our health care — are in competition for a larger share of the pie, or at least to maintain the disastrous status quo.

No, America’s health care system is not sick. It’s merely infested and infected with special and selfish interests.

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