Being a Canadian in America I have been asked several times about what I think of President Obama’s health care reform since it will in a way model Canada’s socialized medicine. First I’d like to say that I like President Obama. I believe he is a breath of fresh air for America. Unfortunately, he has inherited a mess of a country and he has big challenges ahead of him to try to turn this country around.

For me, I love being Canadian and I love Canada’s health care program. I would never give up my Canadian citizenship or the privileges that come with being Canadian.

As a child growing up in the province of Ontario whenever I’d get ear infections or sprain my ankle from sports or whatever accident I got into health-wise my mother or father would drive me to the health clinic that was close to our house. When there I’d see a doctor and he/she would help me and then my family would go home and my parents would NOT get a hefty bill in the mail. Growing into a teen I’d go see my regular family physician for a physical check up and I’d get test done (e.g., blood work, pap smear, x-rays, etc.) and I would NOT get a hefty bill in the mail. Similarly, when my older sister had two babies in the hospital she NEVER got hit with a big medical bill as families do in America for having a baby in the hospital. In Canada, people don’t go into debt or claim bankruptcy because of enormous health bills.

My memory recalls that the hospitals in Ontario were always clean and used state of the art equipment, the doctors were professional and the nurses were courteous. I always had really good experiences using my Ontario Health Card. I am from the province of Ontario and each province has its own health care system albeit they are all socialized. For me, living in the U.S. throughout the year, specifically in California, I don’t purchase any extended health care coverage from let’s say Blue Cross because frankly it’s cheaper for me to buy an airplane ticket back to Canada. I could fly two hours to British Columbia, a western province that would honor my eastern Ontario health card, or I could fly six hours to Toronto, Ontario. I suppose my flight would depend on the severity of my illness . . . but I don’t get sick.

Personally, I think that one of the reasons I am so healthy is that I make healthy lifestyle decisions. I prevent bad health from happening to me by being proactive. I don’t smoke. I don’t use drugs. I eat properly. I exercise. I clear my emotions. I monitor my thought patterns. I put my health first. I create good health for myself and since I do that I don’t need to abuse the health care system I contribute to financially. I have no problem paying into the health care system when I pay my taxes because I am grateful that my taxes will help other people who need medicine. I care about other people and I believe all people should have access to great health care despite their financial bracket. A great country depends on healthy citizens, bottom line.

Walking the beach here in California at Big Corona I have spoken to several locals about President Obama’s health care reform. Some of the men that I have spoken with are Republican and are wealthy. Their thinking is this: “Why should I have to pay for someone else’s health care? I take care of my family’s health and that’s enough. I work hard for my money and I don’t want our President to tell me how to spend my money.”

By contrast, the Democratic men that I have spoken with have said: “I don’t really understand what socialized health care is and I don’t think anybody in this country really does because we haven’t experienced it. I have seen how corporations put fear into people with their commercials against socialized health care, making socialized health care out to be a monster. As a country, we need to ensure the health and survival of our people and I have no problem contributing to that. The Republicans who are against socialized medicine and who want to penny pinch forget that they are where they are because of this great country. These men and women need to stop being selfish and start contributing to the betterment of our country.”

If I were American I think I would be Democratic. And so like the Democratic men I have spoken with I believe people in America need to open their arms to positive and smart change that is in the BEST interest of ALL people not just in the interest of a few select people with mega bucks.