It’s time to debunk some more cherished right-wing myths about Canadian healthcare. No, Canadian doctors are not flooding across the border to practice here, and no, Canadians are not flooding across the border to get their care here. In particular:
When I look at that tiny little sliver in the middle representing those who choose to come to the U.S. for their care or are forced to by an emergency, I just laugh my ass off. Yet it seems the conventional wisdom is that Canadian healthcare sucks. Even some doctors are repeating that lie, because they all “know someone who knows a doctor from Canada” who “couldn’t practice there” and was “forced to move here.” It’s like the old lie about hippies spitting on Vietnam War veterans: everyone claimed they knew someone who knew someone this happened to; no one could ever actually find “the someone” it happened to. Ah, zombie lies, they just won’t die.
The problem with Republicans is that they just make shit up and the problem with the Democrats and the “liberal media” is that they let them. Remember when Sen. Bob Corker claimed that Canadians were leeching off of America’s medical innovation? He actually used the word “parasites.” What an ass.
Robert Stein had a really good post up yesterday about this tendency for Republicans to just make shit up, be it making Paul Revere’s famed ride about gun rights and bell-ringing or making specious claims about Canada’s excellent healthcare system. It’s part of a general tendency towards dumbing down American politics, he says. Mainlining stupidity is a two-pronged process, he observes: first Republicans demonize knowledge and expertise or those with knowledge and expertise, then they replace it with misinformation. And then suddenly Republicans have one set of facts, Democrats have another, and nothing ever gets done because we can’t even agree on the problems let alone find solutions. Once upon a time we had the media to referee such conflicts and remind everyone what the facts were; today, though, the media is stuck in its “well, there’s two sides to every story!” rut. They’ve largely abrogated their responsibility to the American public and no one has stepped in to replace them.
This is a big problem for America today but I don’t see it changing any time soon. Far too many people are profiting far too much from keeping the populace dumb and divided.
Adding … Alex Bennett, who is not someone I normally listen to or even like, just made a really good point. He said the reason stories like Weinergate take off is that they’re easy for everyone to have an opinion about them. If you want to talk about healthcare (or Libya, which was the example Bennett used), you need to know something about these topics, you need to know who Qaddafi is, you need to know something about the Canadian healthcare system, whatever. But even people who know nothing about politics can have an opinion about Weinergate.
And I think this is just another component of the dumbing-down of America. We have more people who don’t know anything about important things, so the trivial stuff ends up dominating our discourse.