Monthly Archives: February 2017

This pretty much sums it up

From a comment on an article on the US health care system:

“I’m Canadian….my taxes are nearly 5% higher than yours…in 22 years of marriage and two kids later…my ENTIRE out of pocket expenses for Medical are….$60.00 for renting a TV in the Hospital…..I don’t mind paying taxes and having the exactly same Medical Coverage as my Prime Minister….sometimes I wait for an MRI or CAT but, BY LAW the most ill go ahead of me……..I don’t mind that either….Good Luck my American friend, I think that you are going to need it…..”

This is what I don’t think Americans understand. It is worth paying a little extra taxes so:
1. You can have a universal healthcare system that shares costs across ALL users. We would all save.
2. You can guarantee access to free (or at least cheap) University
3. Maternity leave (paid 15 weeks in Canada, 0 weeks in US) and up to 35 weeks more partially paid in CA. I might have the details wrong, but it’s safe to say it’s very common across OECD where the average is 18 weeks —
4. And similarly with sick leave and vacation time. Pretty much every OECD country has this guaranteed. But not the US.

One can find charts that show that the “average” American supposedly makes more than many countries, even after taxes and adding in “in kind” funds like free healthcare and college in other countries. An example:
2 problems with this:

1) Using “average” is flawed because it doesn’t take into account income inequality — they should be using “median” not “average” or even better… I’d like to see the median numbers for each quintile — bottom 20%, 20%, middle 20%, 20%, top 20%. I bet the US wouldn’t do so well anymore. Income by US State by quintiles:

2) It doesn’t take into account that it is immoral to NOT take care of all people!
(IOW, while it’s possible that in a country with high income inequality that at least poverty is not an issue… but it’s usually not the case.) There is an interesting metric called the “Relative median at-risk-of-poverty gap” that I believe measures this:

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