Hi Jay,

I have really been enjoying this thread! Fascinating. I've wanted to jump in many times but wow, now it's so big.

I really don't think there is any American bashing sentiment here, and although I can't speak for others, I think that what you may be sensing is that for the vast majority of Canadians, 'we' are just very proud of our healthcare system... and the basic underlying sentiment (I believe)... is that we *wish* it for you! We don't wish you any additional burden of debt however.

As much as we are proud of our system, it is also far from perfect and struggling to manage the rising costs of healthcare as well. I think this is a big challenge for every country. Part of our interest in the debate (that is not ours ) probably lies in the fact that we pay great attention to what our neighbours are doing, and naturally more so than vice versa, as whatever is eventually decided certainly has some potential to impact us and our political leaders and decisions. Our nations are tied at the hip in many ways.

I think Adam, you may have misconstrued a few facts? From what I understand, our overall tax burden is generally higher than most Americans and this is essentially to do with the taxes we pay towards healthcare coverage. It always cracks me up when we say it is free because it absolutely isn't. There are varying tax brackets in Canada and combined Federal, Provincial and Municipal taxes can be as much as 45% of total income for 'some'. Not me. I do not know what our highest is actually. I would think the average is around 30% but I'm not sure on that figure either.

We are not actually a Social Democracy. We are a Federal Parliamentary Democracy (within a Constitutional Monarchy)! And capitalists too. We have a few more social programs, most notably universal healthcare but we are not socialists! We do have a Social Democratic Party, which I don't think(?) has ever held power federally. (whew) They are somewhat useful in Opposition tho.

Some key regulations, preferably less than more imho, do seem prudent and necessary. The banking system is a recent prime example that literally saved our banks from collapse.

Cripes I've gotten myself way off topic. It seems to me (not that my opinion counts for a hill of beans) that Americans are facing a unique opportunity and challenge. I imagine that if you indeed want change (which seemed the case by your last election anyway) that you could probably figure out a way to do it that would not automatically increase your deficit but it would have to be a cleverly designed and multifaceted approach to reform. There are huge efficiencies to be gained from large groups for sure but the sheer size of your population and the complexity of it really makes it difficult. It is in so many ways like comparing apples and oranges for us.

I still wish it for you though! The benefits I mean. Some of the stories are just heart-wrenching and unfathomable to me.