By Marvin Ross
October 20 is the birthday (born 1904) of Keifer’s grandpa, Tommy Douglas. Tommy was a Baptist preacher who became a social democratic politician (something modern day Baptist preachers in the US would likely never do). Douglas is responsible for introducing universal health care, first in Saskatchewan in 1962, and then to the rest of the country.
The Saskatchewan plan was so successful that a Conservative Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, appointed a Supreme Court Justice, Emmett Hall, to study universal health care. Hall recommended a nationwide health care system based on the Saskatchewan model. In 1966, the Liberal Prime Minister, Lester B Pearson and his minority government created the program, with the federal government paying 50% of the costs and the provinces the other half.
A program to help all Canadians was developed first by a social democrat Baptist preacher, promoted by a Conservative populist and created by a Liberal. Two years before his death, Tommy was voted as the Greatest Canadian. Keifer is a staunch supporter of Canadian medicare.
Like most people in the developed world, I look at the US and their attitudes towards universal health care and their divisive politics and shake my head in wondrous disbelief. In the final presidential debate, Trump claimed his success at fighting the pandemic and Biden pushed for improved health care but still supports (as best I can figure) the role of insurance companies. How badly served the American people are by their inadequate health system only requires a look at their health statistics like maternal mortality, infant mortality, lifespan, etc.
The US response to the coronavirus is an example. Since the pandemic began, I’ve been watching the numbers and rankings on Worldometer. In terms of total cases, the US is number one and has been number one since the very beginning. Canada started out in 13th place (if I recall correctly, and has now dropped to 30th. In cases per million population, the US ranks at 11 and Canada ranks at 90. For deaths per million, the US ranks 10th and Canada ranks 36th.
Why Americans who could benefit from universal health care with proper preventative services and treatment that will not cause them to go bankrupt oppose it I will never understand. They have all been brainwashed to think that universal care is communism and bad neither of which is true.
Three years ago, I did a piece in Huffington Post on how Canada’s universal health care system saved my life. I recommend that Americans read it https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/marvin-ross/to-the-americans-doubting-universal-health-care-it-saved-my-life_a_23219381/
the world is anxiously waiting for some significant changes on November 3 and it can’t come soon enough.