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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

August 28, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Keven Drews’ story: Is it proof of a failed health-care system?

A perfect reason why reform is needed

Keven Drews, with dual citizenship in the U.S. and Canada, provided a stark contrast [“USA or Canada? I chose the country that saved my life,” Opinion, guest column, Aug. 25] between his health care in Canada — with lifesaving measures provided three times at no cost to him — and the unaffordable costs the same care would have amounted to in the U.S.

His story supports Paul Krugman’s call [“Night of the living Reaganites,” Opinion, syndicated column, Aug. 25] for an Obama bully pulpit: “We’re at what should be a turning point but are failing to make the turn.”

— Erin Scarlett, Seattle

Like Drews, my husband has gone abroad for care

Keven Drews’ guest column hit a nerve, as my husband is also suffering from multiple myeloma and has had to return to England for treatment.

We are in our 70s and are having to live apart because we cannot afford the horrendous medical bills a serious illness can bring in “the richest country in the world.”

I shall be traveling to the United Kingdom this week to be with him, and we will be leaving our lovely home in Renton to rent a small one-bedroom flat somewhere near the hospital.

We do need a government health option here in the U.S.

— Pauline Warby, Renton

Is Canada, despite health care, an undesirable place to live?

After reading Keven Drews’ column regarding his battle with multiple myeloma cancer, several things jumped at me.

First, I was impressed and inspired by Drews’ strength, perseverance and determination as he fought and re-fought this insidious disease. I am also thankful he’s achieved the level of recovery he’s reached and pray he remains in good health.

Second, while the purpose of the column was to point out the failings of health care in this country, a few things were revealed between the lines.

He made several references to the fact that his preference was to live in the U.S. He said he was “forced” to return to Canada and “saddened” he could not stay here. He implied that living in Canada was an unfortunate necessity.

This reluctance to live in a country providing a universal-health-care program, touted by many here as the solution to our health care, brings up some unanswered questions.

What is it about our neighbor to the north that makes living there less desirable to the writer, despite all our faults?

Are the burdens of socialized medicine on Canadian taxpayers and businesses so repressive that the cost of living there is economically prohibitive? Many are in the 55 percent tax bracket on top of having to pay monthly premiums. Also, not mentioned in the column is that many Canadians, with the financial means, flee south to receive quality health care in a timely fashion.

I understand his appreciation for the Canadian system, and its benefits in his situation, but he still makes clear that given the choice his preference would be to reside in the U.S.

I’ve visited British Columbia numerous times and have found the land and people beautiful and hospitable. I hope to visit many more times in the future. During my visits I’ve never experienced or seen anything to make me wish I didn’t want to be there. Yet, apparently the author has reason to wish returning to live in the U.S was an option.

It would be ironic that the Canadian universal-health-care system he speaks so glowingly of actually contributed to the conditions that made his relocation north unfortunate and sad?

— Bob Brunswick, Bothell

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