Sounds Familiar, Doesn’t It?

Imagine, if you will a place and time where…

  • …a fight over health care tears countrymen apart in bitterness, fear, and anger.
  • …protesters appear in large numbers to fight this health care reform; some use racist images.
  • ….a left-leaning leader is constantly confronted for this health care proposal by opposition preferring private insurance, opposition which accuses his plans of being socialist and claiming quality of health care will be lower.
  • …some doctors fear significant loss of income as well as government interference in medical care decisions due to this plan for universal medical insurance.
  • …physicians vow to close their practices if and when these reforms come into being.

Welcome to Saskatchewan, 1961. It was here that Tommy Douglass, the man voted as having been the “Greatest Canadian”, introduced reforms which would bring about universal health care coverage to the Canadian province.

While I’m not suggesting here that a plan like this be introduced in the US, I wanted to point out that a very similar debate to this, with very similar tactics and arguments, has happened before.

In the end, despite the protests, including a doctors’ strike the reforms were passed. Soon thereafter the Saskatchewan plan was adopted at the federal level, and all Canadians had health coverage. Sure, their system has its problems, but they’ve managed to solve two of our biggest: first and foremost, everyone is taken care of (eventually). Second, the nation spends less per person than its neighbor to the south, all the while their citizens get longer life spans.

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