The Canadian Advantage – Why Canadians are Smiling
During its reportage of the Vancouver Winter Olympics, NBC is covering all thing Canadian and are correctly portraying Canadians as generally polite, reserved, dedicated, hard working and happy. At the Inn some of our fellow workers were talking about how much more friendly Canadians seem to be.
Canadians are not friendlier than Americans. Nor are they more generous. Traveling and living in both countries, my experience is that Americans and Canadians are equally generous, helpful, polite and outgoing. But there is a profound difference.
Canadians are more “comfortable” – I don’t know how else to put this.
Thinking about it, their comfort comes from the knowledge that if they become ill, they will not lose their homes because of high medical costs and potential bankruptcy. In Manitoba, where Joan was born and where we both attended graduate school, their version of “universal health care” is paid for from general Provincial revenues. As a Canadian and Manitoban resident I was issued Manitoba Health Services card on January 1, 1974.
Today I am insured with our employees under an Anthem policy with a huge deductible. It is what we can afford. Medical insurance issues occupy considerable staff time just in management alone. And it is very expensive. Twenty-seven years ago, we could afford to insure all of our staff, part and full time, paying 100% of the employee’s costs for a low deductible policy. Today, we cannot. We now pay only 50% and only for full time employees. We wish we could pay more and for a lower deductible policy. But to do so requires raising rates, which at this time and in this economy is problematic.
Manitoba’s medical care simply eases life. And don’t be fooled with regard to claims that Canadians do not get the medical care they need. We have never heard anything like this. Quite the contrary – we have only heard plaudits: People with cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis – all feel that they received essential, life saving care. If they need a specialist, even in another province, their “insurance” provides for travel and the necessary treatments.
Canadians do have this on us. Americans simply do not have a clue regarding how much easier life is without having to worry about their medical care.