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U.S. needs comprehensive health care reform, he says


My great-grandfather emigrated from Sweden with his four adult children to Canada in 1889 and my grandfather was the only member of the family who came to the U.S., where he met and married my grandmother, who had emigrated with her parents from Norway.

So I have many relatives in Canada, who live from Ottawa to the Winnipeg area and across the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver and to Victoria on Vancouver Island.

I have visited many of them and several have visited me in River Falls.

Invariably, one topic of conversation is the Canadian government-run health care system. I point out that their system has many critics in the U.S.

That reaction, they respond, is probably due to propaganda from highly paid lobbyists for private health care providers whose profits range from 25 to 35 percent in order to pay huge salaries and bonuses to their executives at the expense of people who need health care.

Not a single relative spoke against their system that provides health care for all the people in Canada.

Although health care is often prioritized to take care of patients with urgent needs while others with less serious health problems are put on a waiting list, if you have enough money you can go to a private physician or clinic, or cross the border to the U.S. or go to another country if you want immediate treatment.

They ask me why the U.S., the wealthiest country in the world, has more than 47 million people with no health insurance.

I reply that we do need comprehensive health care reform and hopefully that Obama and Congress can agree on a system that will provide quality and affordable health care for all Americans.

Ray Anderson

River Falls