Sunday, December 6, 2009

Canadian health care system? At least you could get a flu shot there...

Matt's bookmark story illustrates nicely one of the joys of reading. When I pick up old copies of the Henry Wiggen novels I often find airline tickets inside, bookmarks I used out of convenience when traveling. I look the ticket over and suddenly some little piece of the trip comes back to me. Depending on the airline, the ticket may even smell like chocolate chip cookies.

I've only been to Canada twice. I went to Winnipeg to do a story. I found it a lot like Fairfax. Not, Fairfax, Virginia. The Fairfax of Sunshine Bakery, Certain-T-ed, and Chevrolet. I went to a conference in Toronto. Toronto is so international, its international-ness seems completely natural.

I've been laughing all day about Wanda Sykes' monologue last night. She said she'd like to ask Obama a few questions. One: "Where's my universal health care?"

Well, I was listening to jazz on the computer -- a wonderful radio station in Toronto -- yesterday. I've been steaming ever since about a public service announcement they broadcast between tunes. It was from the much maligned Canadian health care system. If you believe Fox news, this is the worst health care system in the history of the world. The announcement: "Everyone in Ontairio can have an H1N1 vaccine now. Call this number to find the clinic nearest you."

Everyone! Hear that Mr. President. Hear that congress. Hear that Fox News.

And here in the states, in the health care system the Republicans would like for you to believe is the best in the world -- "please, Mr. President, don't touch it" -- you can't even get a regular flu shot. I'm going without now because I missed my opportunity two months ago, which turned out to be the only opportunity I'll have this winter.

Now, if I lived in Ontario...


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