Friday, June 29, 2012

Meme of the Day: Moving to Canada?

Ignorance is just bliss--for those who can mock the ignorant.  Given how busy I was yesterday with movers and technicians and such, I did catch the big health care ruling, but I did not really see the stream of tweets about "moving to Canada" until late at night.

I thought it had to be just a joke, right?  [Insert SNL bit: really?  Really?  REALLY?  Really?!] I mean, Canada has public health care that dwarfs what Obama put into motion.  I hesitate to call it a national health care system since it is distributed by province, but it is definitely government-provided.  Indeed, my move will help me test my beliefs on this score--will my family have better access in Ottawa than it did in Montreal?

But while reading these tweets, I realized that the folks who are probably most upset about the ruling are the same folks who would say that they support many of its elements if asked one by one and Obama's name is taken off of it.  The funny thing about these folks saying this (even if only a portion of them are not joking) is that the two countries' health care debates have always obsessed about the other.  In Canada, they tend to accept the flaws in the system since they only compare themselves to the tragedies in the American system--people going bankrupt and losing their house as they pay extraordinary bills.  So, they wait and wait and wait, and, at least in Montreal, sit in hospitals that are beaten to crap.  In the US, people focus on the waiting times in Canada and forget how unequal the American experience is.  In neither country do people think that hard about models outside of North America. 

All I can say is that I am glad that the Canadian media has not caught up to me on this one--I really don't want to be answering questions about whether Americans will genuinely seek to move up here because of this ruling.  They didn't flood north to escape Bush.  If anything, folks might try to move up here because the job market is better.  But that may be temporary as government austerity seems to be contagious.  As the drop in government spending in the US seems to be responsible for a significant hunk of the current employment, it seems to be the case that this is the one thing that Canada (at least Harper) wants to imitate--starving the government.

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