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Derek’s Letter

Dear Mr.Capitalism,

My name is Derek and I just moved from Canada to Florida to get a Master’s degree in Law down here. Did you know there’s no health care in the US? I mean, this is your home, Mr.C, don’t you think everyone should have the right to be healthy? Wouldn’t having a healthy and happy society free of the worries of medical care make them better employees and thus better consumers?

I am totally on your side on pretty much everything, but I have to say that universal health care is just a good idea. Let me give you two examples: my father and my aunt. First, my dad. He got prostate cancer a few years back while living in Canada. Obviously everyone in our family was worried, but never once did he have to think about whether or not he could afford the surgeries or the chemotherapy. He could focus all his energy on getting better rather than concerning himself with insurance payments, or doctor pills or anything of the sort. On the other hand, my aunt lives down here and she collapsed at work one day and was told she needed to have surgery to repair something in her heart. She doesn’t have tons of money, but this incident was serious, so it wasn’t an option to ignore it. She had to do what the doctors said. Her company had her partially covered, but there was still a sizable bill when she got out of the hospital after six weeks. So, on top of worrying whether or not she was going to die and if she was going to lose her job, she had to have constant meetings with her company to try to get them to extend her coverage (they wouldn’t) AND with her bank and a financial officer to re-finance her home and take out a second mortgage.

Now, fortunately for me and my family, both of them are now doing quite well and the treatment they received in both countries was equally excellent. However, the stresses placed on my aunt caused her to re-think a lot of things about where she lived, so soon after she recovered she moved to another state where property taxes were lower (of course, the public services in the state she moved to are terrible, but now she can save cash for future medical emergencies.) She also now has a deep-seated distrust of her company which did nothing in her time of need, which has led to problems at work, and she is actually thinking of trying to get Canadian citizenship.

On top of all this, and I am not a commie let me make clear, in 2006, per-capita spending for health care in Canada was US$3,678 while in the U.S., it was US$6,714. I mean, what’s the point of having such unequal healthcare when you’re still spending more per person federally than the supposed socialists? Clear this up for me, Mr.C.

Dear Derek,

First, off: don’t lie to me, you’re not a law student, you must be in one of those Soviet-run programs like anthropology or women’s studies or some shit. I appreciate you trying to pretend like you’re one of the team, but let’s be real, shall we?

The people always left out in this debate are the ones I truly feel sorry for: the poor insurance companies and all their employees. What jobs would these people get if the United States nationalized the health care system? Literally tens of thousands of people depend on insuring (or, more importantly, not insuring) their fellow citizens. Every time I think of Canada and all their poor and destitute doctors, and all those people they have roaming the streets looking for work, the solution is so clear: if you privatize, sure they’ll be more people dying of preventable disease, but it’ll create jobs! (not only in hospitals and clinics, but in what I like to call the “secondary industry of the US health care system”: coffin makers, grave diggers and organ harvesters. These people need livelihoods too, Derek, if that is your real name.) And what of the others to be heart-breakingly anguished by your plan, the pharmaceutical company executives! How would they afford their third yachts? Betcha didn’t think of that, smart guy?

I am a Darwinian at heart, even though I don’t like to say it in church. Survival of the fittest, my dear friend. If your father couldn’t afford to have his hospitalization and he died because of it, well, he should have worked harder all his life to prepare for that moment. And all in all, things came out pretty good for your aunt—she moved to one of the smart states that realize that poverty isn’t a structural problem, it’s the fault of the individual who is stupid enough to be poor and sick.

Sure, my own dad (Mr.Feudalism to you), left me lots of money, but it was my job not to blow those billions on stupid stuff. Really it’s no different than being poor, you just have to work with what you have, shut your mouth, and do what you’re told . . . I just happen to be the one who gets to direct other people around. It’s a tough job, really.

And Derek, I can think of at least one more reason that Canada should privatize their health care system: if your parents had to spend all their savings on your dad’s treatment, then they wouldn’t have had enough money left over to send your stupid ass down here. Believe me, we don’t need you.

MISTER CAPITALISM

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