North49: I read your post again and did not see the direct comparison between the population of Canada and the number of uninsured in the US. I see you cited 40 million but did not see any comparison with the population of Canada cited. Perhaps I am missing a post.
You asked if it is acceptable to have this occur in the US. Actually, by default, yes it is. If people wanted to have socialized medicine and pay the kind of taxes that are required to support it, we would have legislators being browbeaten by citizens and lobbyists howling to get this system in place. The most recent permutation of this is was the only major piece of legislation Obama put into place. Unfortunately, it is jury-rigged into a half-baked system and provides an expensive band-aid to an open free enterprise system. I could not agree more with nearly everyone who posted that it takes having a good job and lots of money to retain good health care provisions as an American citizen.
We have lots of jury-rigged system in this country. Our health care system is broken but we do manage to have some of the best most innovative research anywhere on earth so some part of it works well. Our tax codes are outrageous, built on one modification after another. Soon we will dedicate all the taxes we collect will go toward Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. We fought two major wars and never raised a penny in taxes to help pay for them. So it is no wonder we are growing broke.
Free enterprise is about the only thing that is working successfully. However, if we hamper that system with some social medicine overlay and not provide new money and incentives for companies to prosper in the US, we will have to settle for a mediocre system of health care and worst of all loose leadership in the pharmaceutical industry in the US as well as in medical research. (Recall my NIH story. Lots of money flows out of NIH to eager medical researchers all over the US. Starve that fund and we all loose, US Citizens and Canadians alike.) Which brings me to my last point.
Thanks for the reference to the website on Canada's pharmaceutical industry. Sure, they are doing fine but notice that the leadership they maintain is interdependent on US and European pharmaceutical manufacturers. My point is Canada cannot go it alone. Look at the list from the website you provided. See the group of Global Investors who are providing support. Here is the same list with the corporate headquarters listed along side.
Amgen – Thousand Oaks CA
Astra Zeneca – London, UK
Bayer – Germany
Bristol Myers Squibb – New York
Eli Lilly – Indianapolis, IN
Glaxo Smith Kline – Philadelphia, PA
Hoffman La Roche – Basel, Switzerland
Johnson & Johnson - New Brunswick, NJ
Merck – Whitehouse Station, NJ
Novartis – Basel, Switzerland
Novopharm –Toronto, Canada
Pfizer – New York, NY
Sandoz – Princeton, NJ
Sanofi-Aventis – Bridgewater, NJ
Sanofi Pasteur – Lyon France / NJ
Notice the pattern. These are the big, well known, well financed drug companies. Out of the 15 companies listed as supporters of Canadian initiatives, only one is Canadian. 5 are European and 10 are American. In fact, if New Jersey exploded tomorrow, (sometimes I think it might given the industries that line the NJ Turnpike) the drug industry worldwide would be in a lot of trouble.
America - (US and Canada) has a symbiotic relationship with medical/pharma research. So before we get down on the US medical/pharmaceutical industry be thankful they produce the things they do. Let's see any one of us make a useful drug on our own.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. It is the main reason I don't buy the debate on which system is superior. Both have strong and weak points. We wlll leave it at that.