Yuri N. Maltsev: Soviet Defector on the Loss of Freedom in America

Tonight, we went out to dinner.

Some cousins from up North (about a 15 hour drive north-west of Ottawa – their town only got a road built to it in the late 70’s/early 80’s) came down to Ottawa to visit the tourist places – and to say hi to us.  So, we went out to dinner and had a very, very fun time.

As these are cousins from my hubby’s side of the family, I was meeting two of them for the first time.  Wonderful people – we ‘clicked’, as you say.

And, as we were extended family members, getting to know one another, we discussed our backgrounds – whom from the family we knew, how they are related to us and them, and also about the bits of our families that are different from each other.  My Northern cousins talked about their Ojibway, Polish, Finnish and Irish roots while I talked a bit about my life on the far side of the iron curtain.

The discussion turned to our aunt (their grandmother – a most wonderful 87-year-old lady who, just a couple of weeks ago, joyfully played ‘Cards Against Humanity’ with us when we went up to the ‘camp’ up North) and her health situation.  You see, she has cancer.  And, she is in the Ontario Socialized Medicine waiting list to get surgery….  Except that, if she were to wait for her turn, she would most likely die of cancer before her turn came up.

Remember, this is not Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA):  this is Northern Ontario!

Voters in the GTA decide the Ontario Government – just the other day, a reader of mine from the GTA (I believe) commented that (s)he got a non-emergency MRI in JUST (sic) 6 weeks – a luxury unheard of outside the vote-rich GTA!!!  The rest of us peasants have much, much longer wait times:  for example, I managed t get an X-ray appointment in just two weeks!

Explanation:  Ontario family physicians have been forced into clinics, as sole practitioners have been forced out of business – and various clinics will only accept results from ‘approved’ imaging firms – ensuring that you cant go to a place with a shorter waiting list, even if you were willing to pay for the service out of pocket by going, say, to the US or elsewhere.  And the shortage of family physicians is so acute that you take what you can and hope for the best…

But, I digress.  Back to my auntie and her cancer.

She is on a long, very long waiting list for her cancer surgery/treatment in Ontario.  Too long for any reasonable chance of survival… So, she will go down to the US to have her surgery done.  It will cost less than her annual contribution to the Ontario socialized medicine Ponzi scheme and is easily affordable, even without the rest of the family needing to pitch in (which we would have gladly done, had she needed it).  And, she gets in in about 10 days.  Of course, the big complication is the travel…

This brought out dinner conversation tonight to medicare and I was asked about how medicare was in the Socialist Worker’s Paradise where I grew up…

I explained that whenever we would go to see a doctor, we would bring a package of Western coffee, or chocolates, or a bottle of expensive booze, or something else that would please the doctor – so that they would actually examine and treat us, not just give us a slip of paper for time off and a prescription for an antibiotic (regardless of what the problem was).  After all, if the system does not incentivize people to perform, other mechanism, like this underground economy, would develop.

It was funny, really.  My mom was a gym teacher – renowned for her basketball coaching skills.  She ran a number of boys and girls basketball teams and organized tournaments to which scouts for the ‘army (read professional teams) would come. So, some parents of her students would give her ‘presents’ (coffee, chocolate, booze…) to make sure their kids would get a lot of play time when the scouts would be there.  She would save these and we would, in turn, use them when we went to see a doctor or a dentist and such…

We joked that in such a pound of coffee or box of chocolates could easily pass from the parent to my mom, from her to the MD, from the MD to her dentist, and from the dentist to his plumber – who was the original parent….

In this light, I think you might enjoy the following talk:



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