One reason U.S. health care sucks

I hate hearing this moronic meme that the United States has the best health care in the world. It doesn’t. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ideologically deluded. I’m looking at you FOX Noise.

One major reason for our tendency to suck is that we have relatively little emphasis on preventative care. Countries with real health care, such as Canada, tend to pay a whole lot less overall in their costs while detecting diseases and illnesses early. (As it happens, this tends to help out poor people quite a bit, but hey, that might shrink the unsustainable, ideologically-driven, money-powered, larger-than-pre-1929 income gap we have going on right now.)

Exemplifying the issue is the recent approval of an insanely expensive prostate drug:

Medicare officials said Wednesday that the program will pay the $93,000 cost of prostate cancer drug Provenge, an innovative therapy that typically gives men suffering from an incurable stage of the disease an extra four months to live.

The good news is that the drug extends survival rates by about 4 months versus no treatment and two months versus chemotherapy. The bad news is that Dendreon, the company that makes Provenge, is about to make a billion or so dollars off the taxpayer. It claims this reflects the billion they put into research, but how much of that was subsidized by the government? And are they going to reduce the cost once they recoup their money? (Hint: No.)

But bioethicists who study health care decisions say Medicare’s ruling on Provenge mirrors the bias of the overall U.S. health system, which emphasizes expensive treatments over basic medical care. Health care costs account for nearly one fifth of the U.S. economy, more than any other country.

“We tend to put our health care dollars into very high-tech interventions that produce very marginal improvements,” said Dr. Steven Miles, a professor at the University of Minnesota’s Center for Bioethics. “The problem is that we have created a health care system that is uniquely inadequate in terms of access to primary health care, which is where you get the most bang for your buck.”

One of the big problems with our new health care law is that the stubbornness and fear Americans have towards change has prevented a single-payer system. “But my lib3rty!!!11!!!”, they say. Well, I hope you like a side of late-stage cancer with all that freedom. (Wait…do dead people have liberty?)

Pathetic, America

This is just more confirmation of the general superiority of Canada to America.

via Why Evolution Is True.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the Canadians apparently beat us in another department as well…

A slice of humble pie

Cameron Ward is a civil rights lawyer in Canada. (He is also a pretty good goalie from Canada, playing for the Hurricanes. But that’s another guy.) In 2002 he was arrested on suspicion of plotting to throw a pie at the Prime Minister.

[P]olice – acting on an anonymous tip that someone was preparing to pie then-Prime Minister Jean Chretien at a nearby event – arrested Cameron Ward as he walked to work.

Ward, who did not have pie with him, was jailed for several hours, subjected to a partial strip search and had his car impounded.

He was released after Chretien’s event was over, and the prime minister — who had been pied at an East Coast event in 2000 — never did suffer a pie attack.

Ward then sued the Vancouver police for wrongful arrest. A court ruled in his favor, awarding him approximately $10,000. Vancouver then appealed the ruling, resulting in this a ruling from Canada’s Supreme Court:

The justices unanimously sided with Ward, however, although they struck down the C$100 he got for having his car impounded.

“He had a constitutional right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, which was violated in an egregious fashion,” wrote the court, ruling that the rights violation was great enough to warrant damages being paid.

This has taken 8 years to conclude. It has cost the city far more than the awarded 10 grand when the legal fees, time and energy, and embarrassment are all factored. But what could have solved the problem much, much, much more quickly? What could have saved everyone from this whole show? It turns out the answer is pretty simple. The courts and police just needed to fess up to their obvious error in judgement.

“All of this has cost hundreds of thousands of dollars needlessly because all I ever wanted was an apology,” Ward insisted.

The audacity.

Dumb parents

Quebec has a program of study which entails learning about different religions. It does not say “This is right. That is wrong.” It makes no endorsement of religion. It is simply a well-tailored course which educates students about what others believe, the culture surrounding those beliefs, and the diversity that is entailed in the world, with an obvious focus on Quebec’s diversity.

Of course, it comes as no surpise that some dogmatic mooks do not recognize the point of the class.

The course “is forcing children to learn the content of other religions,” Jean Morse-Chevrier, president of the Quebec Association of Catholic Parents, said yesterday. “Therefore it is the state deciding what religious content will be learned, at what age, and that is totally overriding the parents’ authority and role.”

The new course is the final step in a secularization of Quebec schooling that began with a 1997 constitutional amendment replacing the province’s denominational school boards with linguistic ones.

The notion that parents should have the authority to shelter their children from knowledge is obscene. The course is about learning how other people think and why. It offers insight, not harm. What these parents want to do is have the right to abuse their children by keeping them locked in an intellectual cage of uniformity and dogma.

A 2005 law changed Quebec’s Education Act and its Charter of Rights to eliminate parents’ right to choose a course in Catholic, Protestant or moral instruction, and the changes came into effect last June.

Am I reading this right? Students had to attend some form of “moral instruction”? Even with the options offered, this is inane. Looking beyond the oxymoron of Christian morality, at what point did Canada think it a good idea to indoctrinate children with particular notions of right and wrong beyond perhaps some basics (i.e., no fighting)? I thought you were better than that, O Canada.

Of course, such an article would not be complete without an example of the topic.

For Diane Gagne and her 16-year-old son Jonathan, evangelical Christians in Granby, the course teaches values that run counter to their religion.

Jonathan has been sitting out the course this fall, which is taught for about two hours a week. Last Friday he was told by J-H-Leclerc secondary school that he had been suspended for the day.

If he continues to skip the class, school rules could eventually lead to expulsion.

Ms. Gagne said her son remains determined despite the suspension. “He told me, ‘Mom, I am still standing, and I’m going to keep standing and fight this to the end.’ We’re prepared to go right to expulsion.”

Dear Ms. Gagne,

    Your son is a moron.

    Best wishes.

Puh-lease. This is just sad. This kid is so indoctrinated in his mother’s particular brand of inanity that he is unwilling to so much as listen to what someone else believes. Such action is not the mark of an intelligent individual.

Meteor Follow-up

LLOYDMINSTER, Alberta – Scientists said Friday they had found remains of a meteor that illuminated the sky before falling to earth in western Canada earlier this month.

University of Calgary scientist Alan Hildebrand and graduate student Ellen Milley found several meteor fragments near the Battle River along the rural Alberta-Saskatchewan border, near the city of Lloydminster late Thursday.

They said there could be thousands of meteorite pieces strewn over a 7-square-mile area of mostly flat, barren land, with few inhabitants.


Meteor over Canada

A meteor was spotted in Canada by a police dash cam just a few days ago.