Those Lucky Canadians

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Commenter Tom West writes:

Boy, the more I read, the guiltier I feel about living in Canada. We sort of have the ideal position

We're large enough that most of us don't see the direct comparison with the American system, (which is nice, but three times the price). America operates as our second tier which is close enough that the rich aren't upset about going there for expensive health-care, but far enough away that the even the moderately well-to-do don't look at it as a serious alternative.

We're insulated enough so that when the doctor's say "there's nothing we can do", you can believe it without feeling guilty about not destroying your family's finances to pay for some sliver of hope. We benefit from the American innovations when they're finally brought down to a cost that our bureaucrats consider acceptable. The doctors don't have to cater to ridiculous demands for unnecessary tests, and have no incentive to give them.

We have a Corolla health-care system as opposed to the American Lexus, but it does a decent job for most of us, and ends up being an element of society that binds most Canadians together rather than becomes a source of resentment and distrust. (Tommy Douglas who introduced our health-care system was recently selected as Greatest Canadian ever by viewing audiences.)

That said, sadly for those few Americans that look at our health-care system as a model, I'm afraid it wouldn't work for you. You'd be missing the one ingredient that helps it work as well as it does... You.

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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