Luckily, America is not a socialist country, and healthcare is TOTALLY not rationed based on how much money you have or whether you are employed or not. What a ludicrous idea that is.

Because healthcare in the US is absolutely not the most expensive of any developed nation, Julia Wertz is having a fundraiser to pay for a hefty hospital bill. Since we have no healthcare worries in this country, just go for the laughs.


  1. First of all, I love America, and I’m saying that as someone who was born in another country and moved here. America is a great country that is being F*** by the stupid people in charge of things. America’s problem is that people would rather say F it, then fight for it. I’m saying this as someone who has had thousands of dollars in medical bills. I really hope Julia Wertz raises the money she needs. It shouldn’t have to be that way, but if you think things are bad now, wait until we put the government in charge of things. I mean, they’ve done such a great job of working together in a bi-partisan fashion and fixing everything else they screwed up, right? Maybe, we should be saying F them instead. At this point, the only way I see things getting better is if we fire every last one of them, and bring in an all new staff. I mean, that’s how eveyone always talks about fixing comics, so why not use it for the government, too?

    Whoa! Where did that come from?

    God bless America!

  2. [email protected] magazine, I don’t think you understand “govt” health care sir. There are no issues of partisanship when it comes to actual health delivery. Pretty sure Republicans and Democrats ( and crazy tea baggers ) all get treated the same via the socialist Medicare system when they reach 65. Don’t confuse politicians with paid employees simply working for government department ( or contractors ).

    Besides, that’s not what is being pushed. The “Public option” is simply a self funded insurance plan, not a new Medicare to cover all. That’s a compromise with Republicans already.

    Read up a bit & stay informed. Maybe We’ll have first world health care one day…won’t be for awhile sadly.

    Good luck to Julia.

  3. This is another one of those clarifying moments as I contemplate people who attend events titled “F*** America”.

    I mean…..wow. I realize the woman has some major gripes….but F-America?


  4. Mark,
    “gripes”.?..sorry, I mean “major gripes”? Yeah, she’s overreacting over “gripes” of some kind. You are one compassionate, dude.
    Didn’t realize the F-word carried such weight with you.

  5. It’s been widely stated recently that medical costs figured prominently in 62 percent of personal bankruptcies in 2007, but that figure should be about 17 percent, some say. Articles on the subject are worth reading.

    More troubling to me is the philosophy some on the right have that there is no problem with health insurance. Anyone can go to an emergency room for treatment. That’s an astonishingly ignorant stance — and ignorant in terms of economics, too, since the hospitals don’t eat the costs–they shift as much costs as they can, so the public winds up paying for the treatment of the uninsured anyway.

    If I was faced with thousands of dollars in bills for medical expenses, bills that were impossible to make sense of, the prospect of being in debt for years, and people proclaiming and screaming that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the current system, I’d be thinking “F*ck America!”


  6. “Didn’t realize the F-word carried such weight with you. ”

    To most people in polite society, it still does, believe it or not.

    On the larger picture, why would someone curse out their country over hardship…WHATEVER hardship they are experiencing? Is there some fine print somewhere I didn’t read that promised us a problem/heartache/unfairness-free life here in America? Is there a section of the Constitution or the Bill of Rights I’m not aware of?

    Yes, it sucks to be sick and owe alot of money. The system needs fixing…no doubt about that. But why the leap to say “F*** America”?

    I guess I can’t understand or comprehend (much less identify with or even sympathize with) that level of toxic bitterness. Sorry.

  7. Mark,
    “Yes, it sucks to be sick and owe alot of money”
    I don’t know if that kinda simplification would pass in polite society.

  8. Mark makes excellent points and isn’t scared to use his real name and link to his website. The anonymous internet troll loses again.

  9. I think ‘Fuck America’ has something to do with this being the richest, most free-est super great country ever, but if you break a leg and you lose your house that is well tough nuts for you.

    See personally, I’ve always liked this one really keen piece of paper, called The Constitution of the United States of America. I like it because its a swell deal, with this really really great tidbit about “promoting the general welfare”.

    I like that part. It’s not specific, because it shouldn’t be specific. It should make sure that people who don’t look like my white-skinned yeti ass get to, you know, vote, have good jobs, and be generally able to give their children a better life than they have had.

    It’s good for things like making sure women actually get to you know, own their own bodies, rather than not.

    For making sure that rich pompous asshats who do look like my white-skinned yeti ass have workers for their factories that know how to read and spell and have at least a modicum of ability to solve-problems because they were given an education.

    Mostly, it is because we’ve chosen to live in a society, and that society needs to be able to function, and this bullshit “quit-whining-nobody-ever-promised-you-anything” attitude doesn’t fly. A society works because we work together and take care of one another. Once we stop doing that, we then its time to break out the battle-axes (and my axe is pretty big).

    So the issue is really that if we are such a super great totally awesomest most cool kids in school country, why is it people who own only 1 home – small, modest affairs that are cramped and drafty but are their own damn homes – end up losing their homes because they get cysts in places where no cyst should be, or pneumonia, or anything else that can land them in the hospital for a week?

    Because Fuck America. We’ve got a $14.3 Trillion dollar GDP, we comprise 23% of the world economy, and there are rampaging vexless bastards running all over NYC here with more money than they can possibly ever use, but Ms. Wertz has to worry about ever being able to buy a house because she was unlucky enough to get sick and now has to find a way to make sure she doesn’t ruin her credit.

    Because FUCK America. Because if we all lived in Cuba, well at least Ms. Wertz wouldn’t have these medical bills, but who in their right damn mind wants to live in humid damn Cuba.

    So to quote Joe Quimby, “This stupid country.”

    To quote a character in a movie played by Morgan Freeman “Ernest Hemingway once wrote, ‘The World is a beautiful place, and worth fighting for.’ I agree with the second part.”

    I believe America is a great people. I believe we wish to be. We only lack the light to show us the way.

    I honestly think we will get there, because we inevitably, no matter how painful some may find it, end up doing the right thing, and I think we’re a better place for that, but until then, Fuck You America.

  10. What we need to do I’m this country is to give the power to the consumer and not the government or the insurance companies. In a perfect world we wouldn’t have lawyers and companies in the pockets of our leaders. Sadly we do so we have to rely on those very people to solve our problems.
    Also if I am to read that illustration correctly the bill says $3200. I’m not saying that doesn’t suck hard but I’ve seen worse and haven’t heard any of those people say fuck America.
    Well whatever the case I hope she meets her goal and more importantly I hope she’s in good health.

  11. Never said to stone her or put her in jail. I’m just expressing my own displeasure and incomprehension at the “F*** America” sentiment.

    Probably won’t get me invited to any of those cool-cat Manhattan parties, but I guess I’ll struggle through somehow.

  12. I wonder if F*** America turns off more donors than it gains. It certainly would keep me from ever giving her a penny.

  13. Mark,
    you misunderstand -you can be upset at the use of the “F” word about anything you want…but don’t trivialize her burden in the process. That doesn’t make you polite, sophisticated, cool or a martyr.

  14. Ms. Wertz goes into some details about her medical problems here. Whether she has systemic lupus erythematosus as diagnosed, or some other autoimmune problem, she has a condition that isn’t compatible with routine insurance claims — although she doesn’t think that universal health insurance is the answer.


  15. I never understand it when the people say “let’s get rid of the idiots we have running things now and start over with new people … that’ll fix everything.” Why? Isn’t that what we do ever 2/4/6 years? Has it fixed everything yet? No … it is going to take a LOT of time to fix all the errors that’ve been made over the past decade. I realize we are the nation of instant gratification, but come on!

    Second, people say they worry about having the gov’t running things, but what’s the alternative? Private corporations? Have THEY been doing such a great job? Aren’t they why we’re in this fix to begin with?

    And if they are so great, why have we been having to bail so many of them out over the past couple years?

  16. Julia Wertz creates a really funny comic, and because I value it and want her to continue to do it, I’d be willing to attend this event if I lived in NYC. Since I don’t, I will probably buy a print online since I already own both volumes of her collected work. I wish she was coming to APE.

    Having said that, I’m glad that, at least for the moment, I am not FORCED to pay for her healthcare through taxation and mandatory universal healthcare.

    Who is John Galt?

  17. Julia is a talented artist, wonderful young woman, very, very funny and deserves our compassion & respect. Attend her show, buy her books, or send her a few bucks & shut up with all your old fart conservative tight ass grumpiness. My whole family reads her book and my 85 year old mother uses the f word. So sue us. Keep the faith Julia. Thanks for having the courage to speak the truth an show your ass.

  18. In regards to the F word, I’m a children’s art teacher (part time) and feel that I owe it to them to not drop F bombs. I’m not saying I don’t do it, but I try not to. It’s my choice and I’m not going to tell others not to say it. I’m not even going to be offended when they do.

    “Wow, no one cares that Julia is showing her ass!”

    I paint a lot of nudes. I guess I’m just used to them. It is a cut drawing, though. It’s that F*** America that bothered me.

    “It is a truly great country when someone can loudly proclaim their anti-country sentiment and not get stoned, thrown in jail, or worse.”

    So, so true, Jackie.

  19. Nate – we don’t replace them every 2/4/6 years. We replace SOME of them every 2/4/6 years. There’s always enough overlap that the culture doesn’t change.

    Plus, we don’t even replace those – many of them get reelected.

    As long as politicians are worried about being re-elected, they are going to make decisions based on the knee-jerk reactions of the majority of their constituents, many of whom have no idea what’s best for themselves, and certainly don’t care about what might be best for others.

    Not to mention that even at their best, congresspeople from state A have to worry about what’s best for state A, even if what’s best for state A isn’t what’s best for the rest of the country.

    I support the “Re-Elect Nobody” platform. Give everybody 4 years, but you can only be elected for a political office one time. That way at least you know they’re not worried about re-election.

  20. I love America in a creepy, stalkerish way, but I’d take a rock in the head if it meant more affordable pills for my Mom.

    Will there be a vague and uneasy feeling of impending violence at the party? Or will it have more of a butt feel?

  21. Just a couple of quick comments about this subject.:

    Ø Floating Cloud: I think you need to be careful, having your nose any further up Julia’s ass will probably result in you catching the same affliction.

    Ø Bill: I really think you should move to Cuba, you and I would both be a lot happier if you were there.

    Ø The Beat: No I really don’t care that her cartoon character is showing her ass, especially since it is scaly and diseased.

    Ø Julia: Your F America campaign certainly shows you to be a class act, perhaps you should move to Cuba with Bill.

  22. “I love America in a creepy, stalkerish way, but I’d take a rock in the head if it meant more affordable pills for my Mom.”

    I think we all feel that way about about someone… uh, like your mom having more affordable pills I mean. I think the solution lays in preventing insurance and drug companies from fleecing Americans, rather then just letting the government take over everything for us. I was taught not to trust the government, and I’m sticking to that.

    As far as Julia’s party, I really hope it goes really well for her. I have over $17,000 in medical bills I’m dealing with myself right now, otherwise I’d send some money her way, too. I don’t blame her for her anger at all.

  23. When I saw that this post had 30+ comments, I knew they would all be compassionate messages of concern and support for this young woman’s health. I just knew it!

  24. “To most people in polite society, it still does, believe it or not.”

    This from a dude who supports fucking TORTURE.

  25. “It is a truly great country when someone can loudly proclaim their anti-country sentiment and not get stoned, thrown in jail, or worse. ”

    Not really, most western countries allow you to do that. Freedom of speech is great, but it is also a basic right, and it shouldnt stop you from demanding more of your country.

  26. “I wonder if F*** America turns off more donors than it gains. It certainly would keep me from ever giving her a penny.”

    The proclamation of “F*** America” does divert attention to the woman’s problems and probably makes many wonder why they would want to contribute their hard earned money to such an disrespectful individual. I know some probably think it’s hip, cool or rebellious to condemn your home country in such a manner, but I find this sort behavior (and such a ridiculous blanket condemnation) to be pathetic.

    But hey, for those not bothered by such (or just see it differently), I hope you generously open your wallets and purses to help this individual out.

  27. Very dissapointed with some of the anti-Universal Healthcare comments in this thread. It is ridiculous that people in this country are opposed to Canadian/British-style healthcare. God forbid some of you people have to sell your Escalades or Cadillacs, God forbid you do with less, so that others can have the basic needs of survival.

  28. Hey, Mike S.

    For the record, I’ve owned about 17 cars in my life, and all except three were four-cylider jobs. Of those three, two had six cylinders. The one eight-cylinder car I’ve owned was a used 1970 AMC Ambassador that I

    That said, I would not want a Canadian- or British-style healthcare system in the United States. I lived in England for three years and its healthcare system ain’t no panacea, that’s for sure. Canada’s system, from the research I’ve done, doesn’t seem any better. As a matter of fact, even Canada believes its system needs an overhaul.

    Any other false stereotypes you care to throw around?

  29. Henrik, I don’t think Jackie was saying that America was the only great country, just that is one of them.

    Mike, I was born in England, and half my family is from there. My aunt was giving six months to live my a British health care doctor (the only one she was allowed to see for another 6 months) who after ten minutes of examining her, told her she had six months at most to live. My grandmother had to take her to France to see another doctor who figured out that she had a pinched nerve in her neck, that was causing her symptoms. In Canada, waiting times in most emergency rooms is about FOUR DAYS and people are denied things like life saving heart surgeries (one woman said her heart transplant was filed under elective surgery. “I elected to live” the women said, after coming to THE UNITED STATS to get what she needed done.) by their government run health care. I’m telling you, don’t trust any government to do anything right. You’re just asking for trouble. I say we vote them all out, no matter who they are, and bring in fresh blood.

    Get well soon Julia. I mean it. You deserve a long healthy life no matter what people think of your opinions.

  30. Canada and Great Britain are often mentioned in health care debates, but the European countries that wonks cite as examples of effective use of monies are France and the Netherlands. The graph below illustrates how relatively inefficient the U.S. system is:

    OECD graph

    No system is perfect, but France’s system is noteworthy for its use of both government-run and private insurance systems.


  31. I think if you study hard and get a good job then you will have very good healthcare. I have great healthcare w/Boeing and they even pay for acupuncture and chiropractor. You have to encourage people to work hard. You cant just hand everything out to everyone. That stunts growth.

  32. Can we get a citation on that Canadian four-day waiting period? It doesn’t jibe with anything I’ve ever read.

    Really, this can be a great country and still need improvement. Details of individual systems aside, universal health care is a simple right expected by every citizen of the western world, except in the U.S. Our situation is shameful, embarrassing, and causes death, hardship, and enormous anxiety to hundreds of thousands of people every day.

    And please don’t fall into the trap of thinking “Government can’t do anything.” That’s the exact goal of the Republican leadership in this country, to screw up everything from wars to disaster relief so the citizens will just say “It’s hopeless” and allow private industry unregulated freedom to do whatever it wants, no matter how destructive, inefficient, or harmful to individual liberties. Committed, responsible government can do wonders, efficiently, when it’s not wholly run by the richest corporations on Earth. Which is the real problem we’re having now.

    Oh, and I agree: Fart Party is awesome.

  33. Paul: Glad you have good health care. If you worked for a smaller company, or if you were self-employed, you might not. And even so, your health coverage is likely to deteriorate over the coming years under the current system. If you develop an expensive preexisting condition, you may find yourself unable to change jobs or move to another state for fear of losing your coverage.

    It’s not a matter of studying or working hard. The U.S. system is deeply broken and restricts individual liberties on a mass scale.

  34. Paul – I’m not sure it’s accurate to state that your education and dedication to your job is the reason you have good healthcare. The reality is that you are incredibly lucky that your employer, Boeing, cares enough to choose a health plan that provides you with good benefits at what I hope is a reasonable cost to you. Boeing cares enough to pick up the tab on your excellent benefits. Chances are the factory workers at Boeing probably have almost the exact same benefits you do without having earned a college diploma, etc. You’re lucky enough to have an employer who cares enough to spend a lot of money. I’m actually not saying this as speculation – I happen to work for a major health insurance provider (United Health Care) who handles a large portion of Boeing’s plans.
    However, I’ve also studied hard, worked hard and have a decent job, and the benefits available to me through United are beyond awful. The family deductible alone would be almost 1/5 of my yearly paycheck if I were to participate in their benefits – and that’s not counting coinsurances for every service. The only thing they pay for at 100% is for one yearly preventative checkup for each family member.
    I, however, am also incredibly lucky, because my wife works for a company who really cares about their employees (Expedia) and offers them excellent benefits, so I was able to choose not to take UHC’s benefits and instead be added to her plan.
    And what Stuart says is absolutely accurate – coverage is going to deteriorate over the coming years under the current system. How do I know? Because the excuse UHC uses to justify the horrible benefits they offer their employees is that it’s a cutting-edge plan that all companies will be using in the future because it saves so much money and encourages employees to take a “proactive role” in managing their health so that they don’t have to incur expenses.
    And yes, for those wondering, I would drop this job in a second if I could find something better, but in this economy and in the area I live it’s the best thing available right now. Sometimes you have to make moral compromises in life in order to support your family, and an education isn’t always enough.

  35. If a person believes treating access-to-healthcare as an entitlement is what a civilized, humane, kind-hearted nation should do, then the current turmoil over achieving that goal in the USA breeds resentment towards “America”.
    I am such a person, but I spend more time viewing this site than I do on The News. Having read the comments on here by many regular and erudite commenters, comments that sound to me like the drivel of RepublicanGreedhead AssholeEnemiesOfTheCommonGood (and are made by people who’s past comments on other issues have been reasonable and intelligent IMO), and noting that these people are my fellow Americans, I think I’ve gotta say FUCK AMERICA!
    Yes, the impetus to compete fosters progress, BUT KINDNESS IS A VIRTUE AND GREED IS A VICE. What kind of people do we want to be? (the rest of this comment, attempts at lofty oratory in support of my opinion, removed to spare you the further bother…)

  36. I feel bad for Julia and all her real life healt problems, but it’s kinda hard to listen to her since my falling out with her. :(

    I might still donate to her cause anyways.

  37. I also feel bad for Julia, and worse so for the comments I’m reading here (on both sides of the issue). I’m also facing HUGE medical bills due to a traumatic incident with my grandson who stayed over two weeks in a hospital ICU. It’s nice to hear folks who have working healthcare and how they are happy with it, but I will not work at Boeing Aircraft — and the same for tens of millions of other people.

    But Julia, a fellow artist and contributor to the comic industry deserves better from us, at least from the community, even if it is just lip service, good wishes, and hopeful prayers.

  38. The only Americans you’ll find who are actually happy with their health insurance are those who’ve never used it.

    Trying to attack the poor woman for saying “f*ck America” when her country is doing exactly that to her, well, that’s classy.

    It’s funny but no population on earth has ever voted to repeal a universal, single payer health care model. Ask any brit what they think of the NHS…better yet, google Stephen Hawking on the matter & the ignorant right wing morons yet again making things up about the much better coverage every other western nation provides it’s populace.

    It’s sad that Julia’s plight now seems centered on her patriotism. I know right wingers and haters of govt are not the most complex people, but I thought they were better than that.

  39. Funny you should mention education reform… the House just passed a bill removing banks from the federal college loan program. By not subsidizing low interest rates to banks, an estimated $87 Billion will be saved over ten years.

    I recommend that everyone set up one of those health savings accounts…

    And didn’t the Republican governor of Massachusetts enact a universal healthcare program that works? Anyone heard from him lately?

  40. Christopher
    I work in a Canadian Emergency Ward and I can assert that on the busiest of days in a Major Metropolitan Hospital the wait times are measured at most in HOURS – I’ve never seen anyone wait even a DAY for Emergency treatment (besides, if you can wait for days for Emergency Care, you should probably not be going to an Emergency room!) Furthermore, there are walk-in clinics everywhere, so if you want a second opinion, you can easily get one – and a heart transplant surgery would be unlikely to be classified as “elective” – women here routinely receive breast reduction surgery that is covered under the system if they have back or neck pain.

    I can’t speak to the British system, but my understanding is that it is similar to the Canadian one. Please stop spouting fallacies about Canadian healthcare though. It’s not perfect and there are always things that can be changed, but I’ve never spoken to anyone who lives here that would want to trade what we have for the American system.

    Shawn Richter

  41. That’s usually the kicker in the debate for me. Folks in the Canadian, French, UK and other government funded systems would not trade what they have for the American system. That alone is telling.

    Keep the statistics, keep the money pie charts, what is plainly obvious is that nobody wants our flawed system, and it’s seen in our U.S. citizens when they continually cross the Canadian and Mexican borders just to get affordable pills and medicine.

  42. I was late to this party because I went to the Fart Party party. But allow me to weigh in:

    I have heath care through my job and I still got hit with a tremendous bill from lying down on an ER cot for seven hours.

    I’m not being sarcastic when I say that I hope that none of you people ever have to put your health plan to the test. You’ll be crying the blues as well. When the government and citizens of your own country are actively working to prevent you from achieving health–HEALTH, the most important thing a person can hope for–I don’t know how you can blame a person for saying fuck it.

    As the enraged privileged classes of this country (and many non-privileged who are too ignorant to realize that they’re on the wrong side) protest the first earnest attempt in years by our leaders to actually PROTECT the citizens of this country, I’m more than a little disappointed to see the hostility, inhumanity and deafness of some of you here.

    “Fuck” is just a word. $3,200 in medical bills is a coffin, nails and six feet worth of dirt for a lot of people in this so-called first world country. But what would you know about pain if you’re more concerned with someone cursing a country than you are with a country cursing the person.

  43. First of all, I would like to thank those who have offered snide remarks towards me. I apologist that I will not be returning them. Please, allow me to elaborate on the four days waiting in emergency rooms. I learned about this on an ABC news special (sorry I can’t sight it, but I’ve already spent more energy on this line of comments then I ever intended) about a year and a half ago. It is by no means happening in ALL of Canada, but there are arias of the country where it is. How it works is, that the government funded doctors are being overburdened to the point where they can’t handle all the patients being thrown at them. Therefore those patients go the the emergency rooms. The emergency rooms get overloaded to the point where patients are being kept in the halls. Those who don’t have a real emergency are kept waiting for days. Granted many of them do get to go home until their time to be seen, but it’s still a mess. I’m not saying we have a great system here, right now, but I just don’t think this Michael Moore, “Let’s just do what Canada does” mentality is the answer, either.

  44. Torsten, the Republican governor of Massachusetts did indeed enact a “universal healthcare program.” It consists of requiring everybody to buy health insurance or pay a fine, with some subsidized care in addition to what Medicaid provides.

    Part of my job is to administer an emergency fund that provides direct help to needy families, so I see the results of this very directly. On the one hand, very few of my clients are uninsured, so most peope are getting most of the care they need. However, insurance is costly, and lately I have seen quite a few people whose premiums have gone up or who have been taken off the subsidized plan (although their circumstances have not changed) and put on a more expensive plan, which is a hardship. Also, I routinely see people who can’t afford their meds, which is bad if you have a seizure disorder or a progressive condition like some forms of arthritis.

    The problem, ultimately, is health insurance itself. It is a third party that sucks money out of the system. Health insurers must make a profit, just like the house in Vegas must make a profit, and that means, in both cases, that ultimately people pay out more than they get back. You have winners and losers, but ultimately, the house wins. I support universal health care, but I think it should be administered by the government, although I’m fine with private insurance if it’s optional and the basic care is good. My grandfather was the doctor in a small village in Ireland. He saw national health patients and private insurance patients, and both groups got excellent care.

  45. “Kindness is a virtue and greed is a vice.”

    Thank you for saying that, Seth. It needs to be said loudly and often, in a lot of different contexts nowadays.

  46. Health insurers must make a profit, just like the house in Vegas must make a profit, and that means, in both cases, that ultimately people pay out more than they get back.

    And one method the insurers rely on for that, unfortunately, is rescission. What things would be more infuriating than paying thousands of dollars in premiums for insurance, only to find out, when the time comes to use it, that the insurer is accusing you of cheating/defrauding them, so they won’t pay anything? Here are just a couple of pieces on the subject:

    POTTER: If they determine that you might have left out something that they consider pertinent on your application and might have indicated that you would have had some illness or might get an illness down the road, and you’ve been getting treatment and submitting claims to your insurance company, they will go back and look at that application and they will often rescind or cancel your policy even if you’ve been paying your premiums on-time, every month, for years. You will be left holding the bag with the responsibility of paying all of your medical care when insurance companies do this. They’ve been doing it for many years and saving billions of dollars as a result of this.

    One thing a health care industry restructuring should do is ban rescission, unless there’s clearly an intention to defraud.


  47. I live in one of the poorer Provinces in Canada( Newfoundland And Labrador), and we most definitely have a doctor shortage. Having said that, I would describe the health care that I, and my (large extended) family have received throughout my life as excellent. The system is nowhere near perfect, but it works OK. I wouldn’t trade it for an American style system in a million years, though I hear the British system is working pretty well these days.
    Slightly higher taxes, and good public services seem like a perfectly reasonable trade off to me.
    I don’t understand the fear and hostility in The United States, to Universal Health care. As someone earlier wrote, It’s a given in the rest of the Industrial world.

    In ending I’d just like to say Fuck all countries. They are simply not as important as the people who live in them.

    Best of luck To Julia.

  48. @Christopher: I don’t think anyone (even Michael Moore) has suggested that the US should simply “do what Canada does”. But most of the world’s civilized nations have settled on some sort of mix of public and private health care funding, allowing each to play to its strength (it’s not often mentioned in the US’s hysterical health care “debate”, but 80% of Canadians do, in fact, have private health insurance, through their jobs, which covers things that aren’t covered under the public system). And I’m certain that the the US, too, will eventually settle into some sort of hybrid that most people can at least be content with.

    But citing some anecdotal “evidence” from ABC news as “proof” that CANADA’S SYSTEM IS BROKEN AND WE DON’T WANT IT HERE, BY GUM is absurd. Anecdotal evidence can “prove” that seatbelts cause car crashes. Isolated incidents do occur, and Brian Wood’s link a few posts above effectively demonstrates that wait times aren’t just a Canadian problem. There CAN be wait times here, of course, though these are overblown by America’s insurance company lobbyists, and unfortunately taken as fact by conservatives south of the border. Personally, I’ve never waited at an ER more than four of five hours, or more than a day or two to see my family doctor, and have never known anyone who’s mentioned waiting longer. And don’t even get me started on the notion that some kind of government overseer “gets between you and your doctor”.

    Canada’s health care system IS overburdened, and overloaded. As with ANY system, there’s a terrible amount of beauracracy, and there’s constant arguing over who’s getting funding, and how much, and for what. It isn’t perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But the fact that there IS funding is the point, I think. The fact that EVERYONE IS COVERED is a grace that forgives a lot of other things. No one here worries that if they break their leg they’re also going to lose their house, or that having a baby is going to sink them into debt before they even get the kid home.

    Its flaws aside, Canada’s health care system is a source of national pride here. The Rebuplican rallying cry that Canadians aren’t happy with their public system is a lie, pure and simple. Ask pretty much any Canadian what separates us from the US, and one of the first things out of their mouth will be “health care”.

    Do we complain about it sometimes? Absolutely. Is it better than what you Americans have? You bet your ass it is.

  49. I’ve seen both the UK NHS at work, and the US Health Care systems at work.

    Let me go through me and my family’s experiences with both systems.

    My mother has Crohn’s Disease. Real fun. At 19 she was given 6 MONTHS to live. Thanks to advancements in medicine and FREE health care, she has continued to live for 45 more years. Numerous expensive surgeries, decades of medical supplies, check-ups, treatments invented in SWITZERLAND that my Aunt, the head of a medical college in Harlem, had never heard of.

    Okay, so, over 40 years, millions of pounds of treatments, for FREE.

    My step-father had throat cancer. In the final 18 months of his life, he had CATscans, MRIs, IN-HOME NURSING CARE, drugs through the wazoo. When he was in pain, they didn’t just hand him vicodin or oxycontin like candy, he had full-on medical grade morphine. Millions of pounds of treatment, for FREE.

    Do any of us complain about our taxes being used for the NHS? FUCK, NO. I’m thrilled that when I work in the UK, that my taxes will pay for my parents treatments.

    I have Epilepsy. I live in the US. I am on constant medication, to ensure I don’t have seizures, that I can drive around, and function in society. I once went for a CATscan in Oakland. In my ignorance, I assumed that the CATscan department, being in the same building as my doctor on my insurance, was administered by the same organisation. It turns out that, despite all being part of one company, it was actually several, smaller private companies that all had separate agreements with my health-care. How stupid is that? Seriously, that people are HAPPY with that line of thinking, or don’t have to know any better? FUCK, NO.

    I’m lucky my partner can currently provide me with health-care through her job, even though the insurance plan is CRAP and we have to pay almost a quarter of her monthly pay to it. I’d rather pay +8% on MY pay-cheque and everyone gets healthcare than my wife be forced to pay +20% for only two people – which is what the only current option available to her (and YES, we have looked into it. We both have numerous pre-existing conditions).

    Oh, and here’s one more example of America’s shining healthcare… I went to LA General to have a sty looked at in my eye. There were people lined up in corridors, it was dingy, unclean. MY WIFE CONTRACTED TUBERCULOSIS FROM THE WAITING ROOM!!

    Say what you like about the UK healthcare, you’re wrong. Me, or anyone I know ever contracted a communicable disease waiting for a doctor.

    “In USA, when you go hospital, HOSPITAL make you sick.”

    And for those so deeply, deeply offended by the use of the word, “FUCK”, if you work in comics? Stop reading ’em. Put down Alan Moore, put down Frank Miller, Warren Ellis, Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, Garth Ennis and Art Spiegelman, and let’s all go back to the good ol’ days of the CCA, shall we?

    If you hit your thumb with a hammer, you don’t say “darn”, and when you get a $5000 bill for fixing that thumb, you should certainly say something stronger. You know what, my own country is flawed, the NHS could do with some improvements (after getting reamed for 15 years by the Conservatives in the 80’s and 90’s), so I’ll say it here, as someone who loves his country FUCK THE UK, FUCK THE USA, and whatever country you’re in? FUCK THAT ONE, TOO.

    Because even a little fucking makes everyone a little less tense.

  50. >>>I don’t understand the fear and hostility in The United States, to Universal Health care. As someone earlier wrote, It’s a given in the rest of the Industrial world.

    I would love to see the fear and hostility that the presently-insured feel if they LOST THEIR INSURANCE. Or their MEDICAID. I don’t currently have health insurance. I do go to my doctor (who is awesome) when I have bronchitis or walking pneumonia, but that’s about it. Have I spent some sleepless nights worrying about that? I certainly have.

    FMB has no insurance here but when he goes home to the UK he does. Guess whose system he prefers?

    Brian W. thanks for that link. I was going to bring that up. Like there are no AMERICAN ER/hospital horror stories? It seems like everyone I talk to has one!

    FART PARTY is awesome, btw. And I hope Julia stays well/feels better.

  51. How many of the people here are here because they actually *like comics*?

    How many are here because they’re anti-social and believe the stereotype that says you should like comics instead of sports if you’re anti-social?

  52. I was shocked the other day, while having a conversation on this topic with my very Conservative parents, that they weren’t aware that private healthcare costs could vary drastically from region-to-region. In particular, seeing the premium rates for the NYC area has definitely planted a kernel of doubt in their previous belief that nothing needs changing.

    Fall 2009 Premium Rates for Indiv. Health Plans, New York Co.

    Recommended reading for anyone who still believes this system isn’t broken, or doesn’t drastically affect average, hard-working people.

    ** Granted, membership in the Freelancer’s Union can get you reduced Group rates, but they’re still ludicrously high, especially considering it’s still bare-bones coverage.

  53. @Rebekah, my god…that’s not health care, that’s financial rape. I consider anyone against reform to basically be immoral at this point.

  54. I realise now, after re-reading my previous ‘piece’ that I might have made a very good point that bears repeating, because the maths involved can be understood by a drunken chimp:

    “I’d rather pay +8% on MY pay-cheque and everyone gets healthcare than my wife be forced to pay +20% for only two people”

    Now that first figure is probably waaay high, but the second one is waaay accurate. Those of you with a healthcare plan – what percentage of your monthly take-home does it account for? 10, 15, 20%? And that covers …you, your spouse, maybe even a kid or two?

    Let’s do some sums here… $15 Billion to set up a Public Option over 10 years. That’s $1.5 Billion a year.

    To put that sum into perspective, the US Government has spent at least $20 Billion on Iraq. A YEAR, for 9 YEARS! For a total of $173 Billion to date. And that’s just the (conservative) military figure.

    That would pay for a Public Option for a CENTURY (in theory).

    15 Billion smackeroos. 15 Billion dineros. 1.5 Billion a year. For 300 Million people. 138 Million pay taxes, so around 45% of the population….


    My wife and I would have $3,500 EXTRA DOLLARS A YEAR without a healthcare plan. We could pay off credit cards, or plan on buying a house. Go on a cruise. Every year. Have a child without fear of financial hardship, and have enough left to pay for tuition BEFOREHAND!!

    Imagine a future where everybody could afford to put their kids through College, and they would have no loans to repay. Imagine a country with an educated, free thinking workforce.

    Yeah, that’s pretty nice, right? For the cost of 2 Happy Meals. Do the maths. PROVE ME WRONG!

  55. Kings County Hospital, where the woman died on the floor of the waiting room in the link that Brian provided, is where I was required to go for all my specialists when living in Brooklyn and under the city-run MetroPlus Health Care program.

    MetroPlus uses medcaid money, and has huts set up all over BedStuy (and other poor areas) to recruit people. The recruiters get commission, so they help you fill out the paperwork to assure your acceptance into the program. I was thankful for it, because it was SOMETHING as opposed to NOTHING, and my pills were only $3-$9… but it’s a crooked crooked foul system. I’ve no idea who is getting rich off of the government money that’s being funneled through, but it’s certainly not going to the patients.

    Here’s some other views of Kings County Hospital:

    If public health care programs were more the norm, I imagine that the very poor (the people who’ve been relying on these programs) wouldn’t be treated so terribly, and perhaps there’d be better oversight in how these systems were run.

  56. guys, fuck UK and USA health care:
    Let’s take a look at my country Belgium:)
    We have a cap on hospital costs, we get 90% of medical bills paid back and we have the highest doctor/patient ratio in Europe
    we also take more pills than Michael Jackson

  57. Long Island College Hospital, near me, is a case study in the horrors of private ownership of medical facilities. The owner, Continuum Partners, has been trying to shut it down in favor of more profitable facilities, and has starved it of supplies; the staff, including doctors, has threatened several times to go on strike. Last year they tried to close their obstetrics department, until the city stopped them. This is what happens when you entrust vital services to people driven solely by profit motive.

    (Don’t get me wrong; I believe profit motive has its place! This just isn’t it.)

    I pay for my own insurance, and it’s gone up enormously in the seven years I’ve been freelance. I’ve had to switch plans three times because trade organizations suddenly drop their plans, rates keep going up, and formerly reliable plans suddenly develop enormous deductibles.

    A brief digression on New York: Its rates (statewide) are high because state law forbids companies to pull the usual preexisting-condition shit that’s common in 45 of the 50 states. I have no doubt the rates in that link are accurate, but if you’re a sole proprietor/freelancer, you can do better. I recommend going through Mediabistro; you can also try Freelancers Union, though I can’t currently recommend the latter’s plans. That means you, Heidi.

  58. In my area of Atlantic Canada, we receive excellent care, but the doctors are being paid less here than in other areas of the country. I expect that it is a factor of being in a province with a smaller tax base from which to derive the doctor salaries. So, there is a shortage of family doctors, and people tend to go to the hospital for all medical issues rather than trying to find a family doctor.

    Our system is not perfect. No heath care system is.

    Economic cutbacks are beginning to shape our health care system toward the US system. Nurses are being replaced by LPNs and other lower wage workers. This is how the health system is trying to cope with rising costs. Soon to come is the increase in demand on the system as ageing baby boomers begin to require an increasing proportion of medical attention as they age.

    However, according to my wife, who received her Nursing Masters and worked in the States and who now works in the education department of our local hospital, the Canadian system is still superior. She recounts anecdote after anecdote of the types of issues that American hospitals are attempting to deal with. The astounding number of trauma cases in major city hospitals based on gunshot wounds is particularly disturbing, for example, but watching just about any episode of the ER series would make us aware of that.

    But back to Canada. Yes, wait times in Emergency wards can be long for those who come in with a cut finger, or a common cold. People are seen by doctors on a priority basis, so a person coming in with a genuine trauma case, with a critical injury, breathing or heart problems, etc, is rushed through and seen immediately.

    Yes, hospital rooms are at a premium, and people DO wait on beds in hallways, so there is always room for improvement, especially when there is no room for patients in the hospital.

    Please research the Canadian system, don’t listen to biased US television reports. Make the US system better than ours. But don’t run ours down without doing your homework and having solutions to the problems we openly acknowledge.

  59. I honestly wish the rich, privileged folks against a Universal Health Care system would come out and say that they hate the poor, especially minorities, and wish they would die.

  60. whoa people, please, be more selective about the battles you pick. I have a hard time imagining you have nothing better to do then to over analyze my use of the F-word. If that “turns you off to donating” that’s fine, I suggest you take that money to God and see if you can buy a sense of humor.

  61. *Please* oh please stop defending the current U.S. health care “system”. Every other developed country on this planet has some form of socialized medicine. Reading U.S. citizens that think the U.S. health care system is better is just a sad reminder of how out of touch with the rest of the planet most Americans are.

  62. The number of, & passionate nature of, the responses to this thread prove that folks reading this blog are aware of what a mess the current healthcare system is.

    Though I’m not surprised the use of “fuck” has distracted people, here’s how one can feel the way Ms. Wertz does.

    When I was in college, my dad died. He died right before I was supposed to have knee surgery, paid for by his insurance. I called the insurance company to assure myself I was still covered for the operation, they said yes. I had it & came home. & after that, the insurance folks changed their minds and the surgery wasn’t covered. I owed about $24K when all was said & done, & have slowly paid off most of it. Along the way I’ve dealt with collection agencies, a hosed credit rating & a pair of multi-thousand-dollars ER visits.

    I went 14 years with no insurance. I lived in the North Jersey/NYC area, researched available plans, but given the high cost of living there, couldn’t afford to buy an individual plan as a self-employed comics person.

    So I’ve moved to a community in upstate NY that has a high concentration of peolpe in the arts & self-employed folks, & through a local arts organization I now have basic healthcare. They’re not great benefits & I still pay premiums that I mostly can’t afford, but they’re something & I sleep better at night for having them.

    I’d move from this area if I could afford to. I’d like to be closer to friends/family than I am now. But my benefits are tied in w/ my living here. I have a pre-existing condition & am about to turn 40. So, upstate NY it is for now. My need for care is keeping me here.

    It’s all a mess. The insurance & pharma companies are so smitten with their huge level of profit, & we are not as involved or angry a country, when it comes to what we get for what we pay for taxes, & so the system marches on. Doctors are told by insurance companies which drugs to prescribe their patients with a system of cartooon smiley faces in their computer system. How insane is that..? SO INSANE.

    This issue hits home with comics people as a bunch of us are technically self-employed.

    That’s how someone could feel like “fuck America”. Back to bootie-showin’ Ms. Wertz. I dunno if I woulda put it that way, but she did, & I wish her a better time of it than I had, struggling with debt for over a decade. Also speedy recovery. :)

    This is another reason it’s so disappointing that there won’t be a public option in the current healthcare reform bill. I wonder how many people reading this would take the option? Not all of us work for Boeing. ;)

  63. Heh. That’s the best smackdown of a comment thread I’ve seen in a while. Nicely done, Ms. Wertz. Hope you’re feeling better.

    Rachael, those shots look like they were taken straight out of the Silent Hill series. Jeezis…

  64. Unfortunately, America has a very vocal minority of sub-mental retards who accept anything Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, or Sean Hannity say as gospel truth. Corporations are trying their hardest to kill our nation, and they’re doing a bang up job of it.

    A note to all the patriots beating their chests: stupidity and ignorance aren’t patriotic.