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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Point Worth Taking Home For The Holidays

  With the publicity surrounding the American Healthcare legislation , I've noticed so many people claiming that Canada has wonderful and universal care for all denizens and that it is free . People seem to have my nation and Great Britain somehow confused , and while it is a lovely idea , it is UNTRUE . 

  I was refused life-saving medication today because I told the pharmacist I could not AFFORD it . Not offered any alternative , flat out denied something that I need to survive . In Canada . The tune quickly changed when I pulled some money from my pocket and asked how much I could receive for my dollars . I have a bottle in my hand that contains one third of the quantity prescribed , but I will live to tell the tale and presumably buy more drugs . Now , I am 33 years old and I can take care of myself for the most part but what if the person was a lady with end-stage cancer or a child with diabetes ? Surely , such persons would not be without their medicines in caring , socially-aware Canada . YES , they are refused . 

  I know people who have children with chronic conditions that spend undue amounts of time in the hospital due to lack of medical care , which should include medications to prevent these costly and life-threatening complications . There are diabetic kids RIGHT NOW , in wealthy Canada who are losing their eyesight because of lack of insulin . There are men and women who have to resort to criminal activities to pay for the medications for their children and spouses who are seriously ill . Decent , working-class , backbone-of-our country CITIZENS are being forced to do things that they could not previously imagine because working people do not qualify for assistance in the vast majority of instances . And that's a crying shame in a country as blessed as ours . The average person would be outraged at this , but we do not want to believe that this national tragedy could occur under the careful watch of our tax dollars . 

  The usual reply is "what about welfare?" . Well , what of it? In order to qualify for welfare in the province that I live in you must prove that you have been indigent for 3 months . 3 MONTHS and you might be considered for assistance that WILL pay for the medicines you so desperately need , but only if you haven't worked a day in those last three months . The maximum TOTAL payment for a single person is $510 per month and you are expected to pay no more than $350 of that in rent , the rest for food , clothing , and other neccessaries . I will tell you now that you cannot rent a SINK in Vancouver for $350 , and you have to provide PROOF that someone is willing to rent to you for that puny amount , otherwise the payment is $185 .  Forget about living in your car because if that vehicle has a Blue Book value of more than $2000 you are required BY LAW to sell it and live off of the proceeds . Yes , if your 1994 Plymouth books out at $2001 you are S.O.L. Social Assistance is demeaning by design and remember that we don't have food stamps . Besides , what self-respecting parent wants to quit their job in order to wait 3 months for medicines for a sick kid who needs them YESTERDAY ? 

   People do sometimes get together as a community to help , but it's not universal . Nobody really wants to admit that their hard-work cannot sustain their family . In times of plenty I will open my wallet to help . Several times I've been at the pharmacy picking up my meds and noticed the dejected look on a mother's face when the cashier announces a figure and then denies the insulin or anti-convulsants . And when I can , I will volunteer to pick up the tab because it is the right thing to do . What SHOULD be appropriate is that the kid is not denied in the first place , and if it means paying an extra half a percent in taxes so be it . Medication is preventative care to begin with , and will save us so much more money in the end , but moreover it will save the lives of those who are ENTITLED to grow up to live and love and wipe my geriatric butt . I wish that those pharmacists (fat chance at their salaries comparable to entry-level doctors) would band together to just dispense the meds and send the Feds the bill . What are the big box joints going to do ? FIRE them when there are zero people to replace them? 

   This is NOT going to happen any time soon . So when you raise your glass tonight in Montreal or Vancouver or Toronto , don't hand some useless trinkets to your entitled relatives . Find some local family in need and use that gelt to buy them the healthcare that they deserve but is not provided . Have  respect for your fellow man and save his life this season . If each and every one of us who can do something does , our chunk of the planet and the future of the world as we know it will change so much for the better . It is in all of us to give to others - whether it's a bag of sandwiches for that old guy living in his truck or buying a cancer ward . Even if all that you have to give is your words , use those to make another living being feel like a valued entity . All of these things no matter the size or scope add up to a world that IS worth living in . Just for today , stop and take a breath and then do something to help another person . There is no job too big or too small , only the depth of your empathy for fellow human being . We ALL can do this one day , and one person at a time . 


  1. One of your personal best. I posted my response on my blog as it got a little long. You can find me on twitter for a link to my blog im @razormuses

  2. what a wonderful post
    made me cry
    thank you


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