Friday, July 6, 2007

Dear Michael Moore : re "Sicko"

I sent the following to Michael Moore earlier today and wanted to share the contents of the letter with my readers as some of you know the story and battles of the last number of years that Roo and I have endured up here in the great north.

Dear Mr Moore,

Much has been made about your movie Sicko and the light it shows on what is lacking in the American health care system. I am a Canadian who has lived with and had to use both the US system and Canada's. On your website, you herald Canada's universal system. Let me tell you I think you have some facts wrong from the individual user perspective. Here is my view of both the US system for the poor and Canada's.

First I have spent almost 3 years south of the border living in Los Angeles and in Carlsbad NM. I got to see doctors offices, emergency wards and maternity care down there and have seen the same here north of the border. First for a year I volunteered and worked with the homeless back in the 80's and early 90's. In LA even without health insurance I got looked after and rather well when I had medical issues. First I got a fungal infection. I went to a local health clinic that is free to all, they then referred me to a doctor who treated my fungal infection for FREE, now this doc office was in Brentwood, and what I found great about the US healthcare system is that many doctors step up to the plate very quickly and volunteer services for those in need, you find that RARE in Canada. I also had to be a patient once at the UCLA emerg dept. I saw a doctor within 15 minutes of arriving where here in Canada after say 15 different visits over the last 10 years I have had to wait for care at least 1 hour and when my 3 year old daughter needed life saving surgery we waited 7 hrs for a surgeon here in Canada, in a cardiac care unit. While I lived in New Mexico I became pregnant with my daughter, again I had inadequate insurance( my exhusband was medically retired military having served in the first Gulf War) doctor there never billed me for my 9 months of care. I did have a $2,500 bill from the hospital for her birth. She was covered by with govt funds immediate to her birth and received excellent care while we were in the USA.

For her she is 9, and has been at the mercy of Canada's true lack of universal health care. There are thousands up here that have NO medical coverage. You see my dear daughter since her arrival here in Canada has NOT had adequate medical coverage. She has no access to the universal health care system that is supposed to be in place up here, though she is the daughter of a Canadian citizen.She recieves all her care at a community health center( like your free US clinics), but they can not refer her to specialists and the like who could fully diagnosis her. You see my daughter has many of the symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome, ADHD, sensory issues, and allergies. So far all we have offically is that she has an LD...the tests are undone, the specialists unseen simply because up here in Canada we do have a two tier system. You see even if I got my daughter a health card today and was able to get a referral to a specialist the wait for service is about a year...another year in which my daughter does not get the treatment she so NEEDS for her to have a healthy childhood and that is in Canada. I could take her and have her privately tested up here as most parents who can afford to do do --it costs about $2,500. But you see I am a single parent who is solo parenting who has had to become therapist, coach, and advocate as we battle the government system here in Ontario. For the past two years because she is undiagnosed I have not been able to work as I have to be here for her--you see here in Ontario we are not only lacking medical treatment for all but are lacking resources for special children in the classroom. But that is another issue..

As well on your site you hailed Canadian wait times for services and hospital care. From this user's perspective we are so lacking. To get to see specialists once you are referred by your doctor you are often waiting months to be seen. Getting in to see surgeons is like winning a lottery here. As well don't as me about my local emergency dept..minimum wait I have ever had was 30 minutes, but mostly they have averaged out to about 3 hours before ever being seen by a doctor, and then there is the wait for xrays etc. Up here our medical system is at a breaking point and then there are those who die in a emergency dept hallway after having a heart attack like my grandfather. So please Mr Moore Canada should not be looked at as an example of what good health care is you see up here we need more doctors, we need more care for those in need, so you see we especially the working poor find ourselves in the same place as those in the US who live near or below the poverty line.

So could you do those who are in the real know about how bad it is a favour and correct your site. And then let us not begin to look at the issue of dental care.As well not sure if you know this there is now a Health care tax, so we do pay for health care even IF our families cant be covered. So simply wanted to bring you up to speed and may you never rely on government sources to speak for a real Canadian family.

Hollie PollardMom, Advocate, Coach,Parent of Uninsured Canadian/American child

1 comment:

The Beast Mom said...

Being from Seattle, I have met my share of Canadians who would vouch for several of your opinions, Hollie. For example, I've heard about those unreasonable wait times for simple checkups and even worse wait times for specialists. I've had at least three Canadians tell me they were put on waiting lists for a YEAR. And I know a couple more that left Canada to have operations done elsewhere because they simply couldn't wait for the Canadian system. (Of course, these are Canadians who could AFFORD to travel halfway around the world to see certain specialists. Not true for everyone obviously.)

After I heard all that from real Canadian citizens, my previously rose-colored opinion of the Canadian healthcare system changed. I seriously thought all was la-de-da-wonderful in Canada regarding healthcare. Not so...

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