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Shona Holmes: Crusader for Justice or Fox "News" Prevaricator?

Posted on 2009.28.07 at 11:23
where am I: the birds and the breeze and the wind chimes chiming
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Um, it's the second one.

So Ms. Holmes says this on FOX:



The first lie: She had cancerous tumour. Except, no, she didn't have cancer. Or even a tumour. According to the Mayo Clinic, where she was treated, she had a Rathke's Cleft cyst, which according to Saint John's Health Center are "not true tumors or neoplasms; instead they are benign cysts". I'm not saying her condition wasn't scary or didn't warrant attention, but it wasn't the dire emergency she's implying. Oh, wait, she's not implying. She's actually saying that. Granted, it's FOX who added the "cancer" blurb to its crawler, but Shona Holmes sure isn't jumping up and saying no, they're wrong, it wasn't cancer.

The second lie: Without the treatment, she'd be dead in six months. According to, well, everything I've read, there's no indication that Ms. Holmes' condition was life threatening. She says in an interview with CBC that a doctor told her this, but apparently he did so prior to doing any testing. I haven't found anything, anywhere, that says a Radke's Cleft Cyst is life-threatening.

...aaand, the third lie: This is actually relevant to the average American. Ms. Holmes' surgery cost $97,000. I don't know if that's in Canadian or US funds, but either way it's a whole lot of money. It's also what an uninsured American citizen would have to pay for the same treatment. I seriously doubt that most Americans with health insurance could afford this, let alone people who can't afford insurance in the first place.

Also, uninsured Americans don't have to worry about wait times, because for the most part, they can't get care at all.

Ms. Holmes is currently trying to get the Ontario government to reimburse her for costs. They're refusing on the grounds that she wasn't denied treatment. If I tried to do something like that with the Rhode Island government, they'd not only refuse, they'd laugh me out of New England. And it wouldn't be because they didn't deny me treatment but because they weren't required to treat me in the first place. And if I were one of the 47 million uninsured/underinsured in the US, I'd be SOL.

In an interview with CBC's As It Happens (interview is in the first part of the segment), Ms Holmes talks about her condition and her reasons for seeking healthcare in the US, and manages to plant her foot firmly in her mouth.

There's more in this short segment of NPR's On the Media, and more in-depth discussion in this episode of Talk of the Nation.

When I rant about US healthcare, I rarely, if ever, use Canada as a comparison, mostly because Canada's isn't the only national health system in the world (actually the inverse is true: the US is the only NATO country without a national health service), and Americans need to broaden their investigation a little (not that most of us are doing much investigating at all other than running around saying "OMG SOSHULIZED MEDDIZIN IZ EVIL OMG PLZ HALP MEEEE!).

No health care system is perfect, not Canada's or Norway's or fill-in-the-blank. But there's a difference between critical comparison and outright slander and IMNSHO that's what's obviously happening here. And since Canada seems to be the ONLY system being compared to ours these days, and because what's being said is IMO slanderous/libelous, I'm breaking my rule.


Canadians, please feel free to chime in here, since I'm only going by what I read (which is pretty extensive, but still), and as I've never used the system myself I'm definitely on the outside looking in.

Comments:


Tarnish notte the majesty of my TOWER of HATS
meresy at 2009-07-28 20:22 (UTC) ()
It's ain't perfect, but a) I don't have to think about it much, nor is it dependent upon my employment and b) I wouldn't trade it for the U.S. system.

What's funny is that public health insurance is such a holy cow here, even to conservatives. The suggestion that sections of the basic medical system should be privatized will get you cussed out like nothing else...
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-29 01:31 (UTC) ()
What you're saying is basically what every Canadian I've talked with/heard from is saying (which isn't exactly a cross-section, but still).

The thing is, Americans generally don't hear anything from Canada, and they don't KNOW anything about Canada (ask your average American who the PM of Canada is, and trust me, they won't know), so everything most Americans have heard about the Canadian healthcare system has come from other Americans, so consequently they don't know shite about what they're spouting off about. Grr.
Tarnish notte the majesty of my TOWER of HATS
meresy at 2009-07-29 02:05 (UTC) ()
From what I can tell, the problems that the health care system here has are similar to the problems the U.S. has -- I mean, I have a hard time believing that private health care never has long waits in clinics or ERs, and never has geographical availability problems (the major problem in Canada is getting enough doctors/nurses/facilities anywhere but cities) and never biffs the triage of a serious case. Right?

But you have that and ALSO straight up access problems. Here, no one is uninsured, every facility takes the insurance and it costs me some percentage of my overall income tax that I don't even rightly know because it's not that much -- whether I use the walk-in clinic once or have to have major surgery. And no one has to screw around with 134567 million private insurers.

Anyway, none of those weird attack ads is going to tell you what the system up here does right... which is the successful and timely treatment of several thousand people a day, and 100% coverage. I feel for people who caught the short end of the stick, for sure, but there's wider compensations. *shrug*

Edited at 2009-07-29 02:07 (UTC)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-29 03:19 (UTC) ()
What's really silly about the whole Shona Holmes thing is that the Obama proposal isn't even close to the kind of healthcare system Canadians have. It's not free, there are still seventy bazillion private hospitals (I work in one), the private insurers are still shamboling around waiting to deny us treatment and/or eat our brains, and the employment-based system, silly as it is, is still firmly in place (and honestly, having one's healthcare contingent upon where one works is really pretty random, not to mention idiotic).

Edited at 2009-07-29 03:21 (UTC)
Colline
mcollinknight at 2009-07-29 04:10 (UTC) ()
The thing is, Americans generally don't hear anything from Canada, and they don't KNOW anything about Canada (ask your average American who the PM of Canada is, and trust me, they won't know), so everything most Americans have heard about the Canadian healthcare system has come from other Americans, so consequently they don't know shite about what they're spouting off about. Grr.



They're really not comparable, nor is it logistically possible for the US to consider adopting exactly the same system, not the least because we spend our biggest budget chunk on HC, and the US spends over 50% on the military. It has its problems, as do all systems, and to completely discredit or shove aside universal HC or Obama's plan or *~*~*SPARKLY SOCIALISM*~*~* because of one lady or 'omg wait times haven't you heard' is keeerazy.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-29 13:52 (UTC) ()
not the least because we spend our biggest budget chunk on HC, and the US spends over 50% on the military.

*sigh* Maybe a double-check on our priorities should be done first?

and to completely discredit or shove aside universal HC or Obama's plan or *~*~*SPARKLY SOCIALISM*~*~* because of one lady or 'omg wait times haven't you heard' is keeerazy.

Yeah, because Americans have never had to wait for a specialist appointment or a test or surgery or anything like that.

Sparkly Socialism: Is that something from Twilight?

Also, HER MAJESTY FTW!
peacey at 2009-07-29 13:05 (UTC) ()
Stephen Harper. Nyah.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-29 13:43 (UTC) ()
You, my dear, are not the Average American. In fact, I was going to add "I don't have a problem with people who come to a different conclusion after actually reading about the subject (yes, peacey, I'm talking to you), it's just the ignorant, knee-jerk reactions that boil my blood". But then I got lazy and/or distracted and didn't. :)

Edited at 2009-07-29 13:44 (UTC)
peacey at 2009-07-29 13:49 (UTC) ()
Tanks, darlin', though I give the "average American" a bit more credit than you, methinks. Also, knee-jerk people piss me off too.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-29 13:55 (UTC) ()

knee-jerk people often wind up bashing themselves in the chin

I know I'm generalising too much, but I also know I'd end up spending the day researching seventeen jillion polls and things because I'd want to get the specifics exact, and then I'd probably pull out my hair and/or kill someone out of sheer frustration. ;)

Edited at 2009-07-29 13:57 (UTC)
i lost to a hamburger...
littlealex at 2009-07-29 01:09 (UTC) ()
since Canada seems to be the ONLY system being compared to ours these days

Would I be wrong in figuring that this is because they're next door, and nothing to do with the quality/representative nature of its national health care system.

But because I realize I know so very little about Australia's NHS (Medicare), I will give you some facts you probably already know, being interested in the subject more than I am:
- had a hard time getting passed, but did so in 1975 (yay Whitlam!)
- is paid for by a 1.5% income tax levy.
- directly after inception was split into public and private branches (both owned by the government) but the private one has been completely privatised.
- cost $18.3 billion in 2007-08, which is about 43% of the health budget.

However, I can't say anything about hospitals and waiting times because I've never had to go to the hospital (well once, but it was a public hospital and the waiting time was because it was a public holiday and anyway I only had tonsillitis, it wasn't going anywhere.)
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-29 01:51 (UTC) ()
Would I be wrong in figuring that this is because they're next door, and nothing to do with the quality/representative nature of its national health care system.

Oh, definitely. The general thought of the average citizen is that any national health system is the spawn of Satan. Canadians are singled out because they're next to us. Of course, they're singled out with almost no knowledge of Thing One about the country, mind you, but you're right, it's proximity.

Apparently Australia is one of the systems our federal government has looked at because of its two-tiered system (along with Germany, IIRC). I'm only just starting to read about Australian politics and stuff, so I don't know any stats about its effectiveness (except for the general idea that as a rule people in countries with national health systems tend to be healthier than we are).

Edited at 2009-07-29 01:52 (UTC)
bjohan57
bjohan57 at 2009-07-29 19:41 (UTC) ()
Being in the UK, I am also a recipient of a socialist, commie-loving, universal health-care system as well...and it's great. Waiting lists for the most trivial procedures are now about a month or so and no-one is turned away at the door - it's illegal and unthinkable. The option of privatisation here isn't really an option but the only question is one of how to deal with finite resources catering for an expanding population.

If this particular battle is lost due to the hacks which pass as Fox News, then that's a far bigger tragedy as any fake-cancer woman not being denied non-emergency treatment in my view.
try to catch the deluge in a paper cup
primroseburrows at 2009-07-30 02:41 (UTC) ()
Being in the UK, I am also a recipient of a socialist, commie-loving, universal health-care system as well...and it's great.

That's the general feeling I get from you guys, and from Canadians (and Norwegians and Australians and yadda). Amerikay needs to get on the Clue Bus.

If this particular battle is lost due to the hacks which pass as Fox News, then that's a far bigger tragedy as any fake-cancer woman not being denied non-emergency treatment in my view.

See, this is why I put the word "News" in quotes--because it isn't news, it's Newspeak. I don't think the battle will be lost because of Shona Holmes, it's just frustrating to know how many people will believe it, and also believe that Obama is proposing Canadian-style healthcare in the first place. Obama is not trying to be Tommy Douglas, y'know? I mean, look at the trouble he's getting from proposing a public option. Medicare for all would get him, I dunno, flogged or something. *throws up hands*
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