Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why can Canada afford to provide health care coverage for all of their citizens, and full housing and food for homeless or otherwise disabled persons, and the U.S. can't?

Asked by Dutchess_III (42882points) August 25th, 2014

As asked.

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57 Answers

johnpowell's avatar

We can, we simply don’t want to.

zenvelo's avatar

The US Can very well afford to, it chooses not to. It chooses to spend money on weapons and war machinery.

Pachy's avatar

The U.S. can. It just won’t. It’s called politics.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

The U.S. can afford it, and much more. Of the entire, developed world, the U.S. spends the most on healthcare and eldercare yet gets the least in return. Americans are so fearful of any notion of socialism, and lobbyists wield so much power in Congress, everything has to stay complicated and exorbitantly expensive. There’s also the idea that healthcare is a privilege, not a human right; it’s limited to those who can afford to pay.

There’s no medical care system in this country, just a loose patchwork of services. The countless insurance plans are redundant and waste absurd amounts of resources. There’s a crazy mixture of exempt organizations and shareholder-owned facilities. Your average American has no idea how to wind his/her way through this insane maze.

jca's avatar

It may have something to do with their tax system. I know England provides more health services, but I always heard their tax rate was higher than ours. Not sure about Canada’s.

jerv's avatar

Because that would take money from the pockets of billionaires.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@jca ” I know England provides more health services, but I always heard their tax rate was higher than ours.”

What’s an American’s favorite w(h)ine? “I don’t want to pay taxes. I want tax cuts. My taxes are too high, and I demand that they be less.”

Federal income taxation happens at surprisingly low rates. The problem is, the people of this country have an odd sense of entitlement – they expect to have everything, but they refuse to foot the bill. Sort of like wanting to move into a luxurious mansion, but one that’s mortgage-free.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Politics of course. The Canadian system is a multi-party system, and in order to govern, the various parties have to form coalitions to get along. This tends to improve life for the citizens because compromises must be made.

The US is a two party system, which means that the extremists from each end control things.

So it’s not JUST about money – it’s about political structures as well.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I thought they fixed that? I thought everybody got healthcare now? called Obamacare?

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. The republicans managed to screw it up. It’s a really convoluted, complicated process.

trailsillustrated's avatar

Buts it’s free now, right? Isn’t that what the Obamacare was meant to fix? I would be spewing if I had to spend one dollar on healthcare

Dutchess_III's avatar

No. It’s not free. It was insurance reform. The idea is that if insurance companies had some competition they could lower their rates, but make the same profit by having more clients.

This would be a good question to ask because I don’t fully understand it. We have the same insurance we’ve always had, at $300 a month.

ibstubro's avatar

No, @trailsillustrated, the healthcare is not meant to be free, it’s meant to eventually be universal, with the government providing the indigent with free Medicare.

Some people are actually paying more than before.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

Hey our isn’t free,we all pay Government health care Insurance, the difference is that it is affordable to everyone.

cheebdragon's avatar

Maybe it also has something to do with the fact that Canada has a smaller population than the state of California.

jerv's avatar

@trailsillustrated Nothing is free. The thing is, what many nations have available for all as it’s considered a basic human right is inaccessible to many millions of Americans because we are actually not a developed nation; we’re Third World.
But so long as profits are up, who cares about human suffering?

Oddly, Obamacare was a great idea when conservative think-tanks came up with it and marketed it as Romneycare.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

The USA is I think the last, or one of the very last industrialized nation on the planet not to have universal health care for it’s citizens.
And mainly because, conservatives and large money will think it will hurt their bottom line,the US boasts it’s the best nation on the planet to live, unless you get hurt or sick, then you might as well just die, if you don’t have high priced health care insurance.

rojo's avatar

It has to do with a long held belief that we are a nation of self-sufficient individuals who can take care of ourselves. We don’t need no stinkin’ healthcare!

Dutchess_III's avatar

—Oh shit—-

jerv's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 Highest costs by a wide margin, yet worse outcome than even some non-industrialized nations. Yep, we’re the lone holdout.

trailsillustrated's avatar

—fail to understand. wouldnt a healthier nation with pre-natal care and screenings for everyone and healthcare available to all result in a healthier and therefore more productive population? ( have no idea if that’s the case here but hope so)—

SecondHandStoke's avatar

OP makes the fatal assumption that Canada can afford it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SecondHandStoke – of course they can afford it. It’s simply a question of national priorities and the will of the people. We could afford it in the US too.

The tension is between the low- (or no-) tax crowd and the government services crowd. If “the people”, meaning the vast majority of the electorate, truly wanted universal and free health care, then “the people” would elect politicians who would have the public support to raise taxes in order to support universal and free health care.

Politicians aren’t going to raise taxes without public support.

The issue is that “the people” want universal and free health care, but they don’t want to pay for it through taxes.

So if you want to blame someone or some group for the crappy health care coverage we have in the US, blame “the American People” who refuse to tax themselves to provide it. They want something for nothing.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Obamacare was never intended to be healthcare like Canada has. “Obamacare” was first proposed by Romney of all people. Seems it was designed to serve the insurance and pharma companies from the beginning. Republicans did not “screw it up” hell, they helped write it. America can afford to provide healthcare if we can untangle corporate interest from Washington. We pay plenty of taxes, half of our incomes. It’s enough. Our “leaders” just spend most if it on bullshit.

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

It may go back to this country’s Puritanical roots, or it could stem from the 19th century’s preoccupation with industrialism and capitalism, but the prevailing beliefs are:

— Government is bad, bad, bad, and every service should be provided by privately-held companies. People should never pool their resources, or make even a small sacrifice, for public policy and the greater good. I’ve never heard anyone object to roads, public schools, running water, or sewage, but, heck, I guess those things don’t count.

— What’s mine is mine. People want to keep every penny that they earn. They expect to receive Social Security benefits after they retire, and they’ll lean on society at large throughout their lifetimes, but those things should be paid out of some magic resources.

— The system works for everyone, and there’s no excuse for poverty or ignorance. Anyone who can’t compete and succeed under capitalism is just too lazy, indifferent, or stupid to do so. It doesn’t matter if children, the elderly, and the disabled are homeless and starving; someone should have done a better job of earning and planning.

cheebdragon's avatar

I have no opinion about healthcare in other states, but I know it’s surprisingly easy to get free healthcare in California for people who make less than $20,000. Those who make more than that just pay a small amount based on their income and family size.

I’m not saying that I don’t think there is reason for all of the complaints about healthcare in the US, I’m just saying it’s not THAT bad around here.

cheebdragon's avatar

@SadieMartinPaul really? You’ve never heard anyone complain about public schools, road conditions or water quality? I find that highly unlikely.

I don’t think it’s that people don’t want to pay, it’s more that people don’t want to pay even more when they aren’t seeing their current and previous taxes being spent the right way.

cazzie's avatar

Norway can too. We are very poor by comparison.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@cheebdragon That’s because California is a blue state and took advantage of Obama’s offer to help them expand medicare. The majority of the red states, including Kansas, rejected it. Those are the folks that got left out in the cold.

jerv's avatar

@cheebdragon You mean things like tax breaks for corporations and billionaires? Back when we we a prosperous nation, corporations paid about ⅓ of all taxes; now they pay less than 10%, passing that cost onto us. Yet, even that’s too much and many are moving their HQ overseas. I think that move right there should bar them from generating revenue in the US, but there’s really no way to stop them as they’d rather watch the world burn than cut into their 8-digit executive compensation packages.

@Dutchess_III The red states would rather bankrupt themselves than do anything a Democrat tells them to. Obamacare is, after all, a Socialist plot by a Kenyan Muslim who was ineligible to run anyways; why obey an illegitimate president when you can squander taxpayer money by fighting him in unconstitutional ways?

SadieMartinPaul's avatar

@cheebdragon “You’ve never heard anyone complain about public schools, road conditions or water quality?”

You miss my point entirely. I’ve never heard anyone say that home schooling or expensive private schools should be the only options, or that every road should be owned by a private company that charges a toll and makes its own rules, or that running water should cease in favor of digging wells. All these things are forms of socialism, and I happen to believe that they’re very good socialism. How do you misinterpret this to mean that I’ve never heard people complain about public services?

You know what I’ve never seen and expect that I never will see? Someone’s house catches on fire, and the person forgoes calling the fire department in favor of gathering his/her neighbors for a bucket brigade.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

The reason burgerking is moving to Canada is that they will pay 40% or so less in corporate taxes. What this country does not do is go after corporations who dodge taxes through a maze of loopholes and backdoor deals with politicians. It’s actually the more honest ones who simply leave.

jca's avatar

I was watching a travel show last night that featured Cologne and the Black Forest region of Germany. They showed a beautiful, luxurious casino and they said 90% of its revenue is paid in taxes. In the US, that would never fly. Huge corporations paying 0 in taxes, tax breaks for corporations as incentives to lure them to certain areas, the gaming (gambling) lobby, tax loopholes, labor laws that favor the employer – all these things keep profits in the hands of corporations in the US. That’s why foreign countries have better health care systems.

SecondHandStoke's avatar

So Jerv tells us that conservatives would rather bankrupt themselves than do what a Democrat says.

Jack Kennedy told us to go to the moon.

Many members of my family, conservative NASA employees and contractors for the same gladly obeyed.

We have no problem with a Liberal’s decree, as long as it makes some sort of sense.

Also, it’s clear that Democrats have not always been the completely unrealistic crybabies they are today.

rojo's avatar

@SecondHandStoke That was a long time ago and society was nowhere near as polarized as we have presently become.

Look at our present funding of the space program,I think you will find that Republicans have consistently vote to cut NASA funding year after year.

If it were Obama who called for us to go to the moon we would still be waiting for Congress to even bring it to a vote and if it ever did get to a vote there would be so many riders attached to it to militarize the border or invade Syria or build more prisons that it would still go nowhere.

So I don’t think you can use something that we did as a country 52 years ago as a counter argument to @jerv‘s comment.

jerv's avatar

@SecondHandStoke That was then, this is now. The world has changed, the Republicans have done a 180 on some issues, and as a collective whole is nothing like what it was even 30 years ago.
As for unrealistic crybabies, I fail to see how wanting to fix our nation’s faults in ways that have worked for other nations is unrealistic, or how objecting to violations of laws or human rights makes one a crybaby.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Speaking of 180’s, “Obamacare” was originally a Republican initiative. So…what happened?

jerv's avatar

@Dutchess_III Democrats started to support the idea, but after being taken over by extremists, the Republicans were (and now are) less about providing an alternative to Democratic proposals and more about defying and denying Democrats in every way possible at every opportunity.

I really want Obama to say that breathing is a good idea so that the wingnuts that took over the GOP will stop breathing, keel over, and yield the party back to traditional Conservatives.

rojo's avatar

So, in conclusion, we can say that the Tea Party has been successful in making sure nothing was accomplished thereby proving their position that Government is useless.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ha ha, Jerv! :)

SecondHandStoke's avatar

@Dutchess_III

That’s a classic example of how, unfortunately, Republican no longer means conservative.

jerv's avatar

@SecondHandStoke After the Tea Party, both “Republican” and “Conservative” have been redefined pretty effectively, and in doing so, pretty much handed the country to the Democrats. And since the dingbats are here to stay, it looks the the only hope that those who hold classical GPO beliefs have is to split the party, break the two-party system we have here in favor of a coalition government like many other nations have, and otherwise distance themselves from the Batshit Brigade.

cheebdragon's avatar

Canada is nothing like the United States, if you want to compare healthcare systems, choose a country with a similar population…Indonesia, Brazil, or even Pakistan.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I don’t understand your logic @cheebdragon.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

We are not bad mouthing the US health care system, we are bad mouthing that 55 million us citizens can’t access it, and millions more have a sub standard health insurance.
I have no idea why you guys don’t have government funded health care insurance that everyone can afford, no one should face financial ruin just because they or a loved one gets sick or hurt.

talljasperman's avatar

We Canadians don’t house all the homeless, we charge for over the counter medication and you need a plan to get the real stuff from a pharmacist. Only some of the disabled are looked after. I’m disabled and I go without food every so often. It is feast and famine with me. from Disability paycheck to paycheck. Litter is everywhere. Only some Canadians are actually nice to one each other. We have murders and school shootings. Gas is $1.25 a liter on a good day. Obesity rates are at par with America. Our First Nations (Natives) are living in squalid conditions in remote communities . A ride in an ambulance can cost you $250 – $3000 if you need a helicopter evacuation.

talljasperman's avatar

It costs an arm and a leg for dental work. $1000 per wisdom tooth removal , $50 per tooth pulled , $3000 for dentures. root canals are over $100 per tooth, $50 per cavity to be filled. I had free cleaning from my disability once per year. Eye exams cost $100, eye glasses start at $100 unless you want to take the discarded free welfare ones. 2 liters of pop can run you at best $0.99 cents which is bad because it is cheaper than milk sometimes and drinking cola as bad for you.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@talljasperman Dental work for adults is covered by medicare in neither Canada nor the US, so it isn’t really relevant to the discussion. However, dental work for children is covered in Canada, while it is not in the US (although that was initially supposed to be included in Obamacare).

And I have to say, although our system is far from perfect, you have posted a lot of information on Fluther about the amount of money you get for being on disability, and I am pretty surprised that you are complaining that it’s not sufficient to meet your needs.

cheebdragon's avatar

@dappled_leaves Actually medi-cal does cover dental for adults and children in some states, here in CA most procedures are covered at 100%.

talljasperman's avatar

@dappled_leaves I am learning how to budget my income.

dappled_leaves's avatar

@cheebdragon As I understand it, Medi-Cal is for low-income families or individuals; in Canada, any medical costs (including dental) are tax-deductible if one’s income is below a certain level, so in effect, we also cover it. But of course, this presumes that the person deducting the medical bills is paying taxes or is the spouse of someone who is paying taxes. In this one respect, I have a feeling that you might prefer the Canadian system. ;)

jca's avatar

Many people don’t know that you don’t have to be a member of Costco to use their optical or pharmacy.

They charge less for pharmaceuticals (for cash payers) than you’d pay in most other pharmacies.

@talljasperman: Soda is the same price here – as you said, if you get it for 99 cents for two liters that’s a good price. Definitely way cheaper than milk, here, too, same price.

Also, @talljasperman, you spoke recently of having many open cavities, being overweight and yet drinking sugary soda. That all makes no sense.

Kardamom's avatar

@jca One of the best things about Costco, especially now when it’s ridiculously hot, is to go and hang out in the milk refrigerator room. I’ve done it multiple times, even when I wasn’t buying anything. I just roamed around in there with my cart and looked at stuff, and then hung out in the milk fridge for awhile.

talljasperman's avatar

@jca it Is easy. I am letting my self go. I’m depressed, and unmotivated. I am trying to relax. I’m trying to get into an apartment for the disabled. Where I can get looked after.

jerv's avatar

@talljasperman As a Canadian, you have that option. Here in the US, you’d likely be either a drain on your mother or (more likely) homeless. Be glad you live in a more compassionate country.

Jillybean's avatar

I am glad for the medical services we do have, here in Canada. I have had medical issues since I was in a car accident at the age of 17!! I now have MS and diabetes to go along with the other medical issues but I am able to live a full, active life because the medical system has been there to look after me. I’m afraid if I lived in the US I would not be able to afford the quality of care that I get here in Canada, I have no complaints.

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