The Shona Holmes Blowback begins

Blowback?  Or collateral damage?   Both?:

I am NOT Shona Holmes.

Waterdown resident Palmira Holmes wants angry callers to know she is not the same Holmes from Waterdown whose problems with Canadian health care have made her the U.S. poster girl for forces opposed to President Barack Obama’s health-care plan.

Palmira Holmes has been inundated with phone calls from people trying to express their fury over Shona Holmes’ decision to become the face of an aggressive American TV ad that slams Canadian-style health care.

Palmira Holmes says “it was like being bombarded” in the last few days as critics called constantly, thinking they’d reached Shona Holmes. Palmira’s number is listed as S. Holmes for husband Stephen.

Well that’s gotta suck!  If I was Palmira Holmes, I’d be looking for Shona with a baseball bat.  (Line forms on the right, Palmira.)

I’m extremely late in commenting on this one,  mainly because when I watched the video featuring Shona Holmes shitting all over the health care system that probably gave her a pretty good shake for the first 40 years of her life, I was so enraged my head nearly spun off and burst into flames.   But I can’t help noticing the irony of the situation.

Everyone knows the backstory by now:  Shona Holmes chose to jump the queue and go stateside for treatment she didn’t really need, then came back and launched a lawsuit, bankrolled by the right-wing CCF, to shake OHIP down for the money she spent.    (And to provide the anti-reform lobby in the US with a poster girl to lie her douchebag ass off in commercials and further their odious goal of continuing to deny  health care coverage to 50million Americans.)  Think about that for a minute…

Talk about having and eating the proverbial freaking cake. The irony is that if Shona Holmes had been living in the US and had private health insurance, it probably wouldn’t have paid for her treatment at the Mayo Clinic either, since it was very much an elective procedure.  If she chose to mortgage her home and get the treatment anyway, she’d then have no recourse for recovering the cost, as she does with OHIP.

But I guess when you’re busy shilling for the private health insurance lobby in the US, such points of logic are meaningless trivia.


UPDATE: In the comments, RossK retiterates a point that he made in his post about Holmes, which is well worth highlighting:

The benign cyst for which Holmes was treated is caused by what’s called an “embryological remnant” — that is, it formed before Ms.Holmes was even born.  Safe to say that would put it in that terrifying (but much beloved to private insurance companies) category known as “Pre-Existing Conditions“.

So not only would this surgery not have been covered under private insurance because it was elective, the fact that it was a pre-existing condition might well have been reason for her insurer to cancel her policy… at which point there’d be nothing she could do but say “D’OH!

80 Responses to “The Shona Holmes Blowback begins”

  1. 1 RossK Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    <"The irony is that if Shona Holmes had been living in the US and had private health insurance, it probably wouldn’t have paid for her treatment at the Mayo Clinic either, since it was very much an elective procedure."

    Bang on JJ.

    But there is something else to consider as well….

    Rathke’s cleft, the benign cyst that Ms. Holmes was afflicted with, is an ’embryological remnant’ which means that she’s had it all her life.

    Which means that it was a ‘pre-existing condition’.

    Which also means that, in addition to not covering the specific surgery to remove the actual cyst, it is also very possible that a private healthcare (non)provider would have cut her off completely given that weeding-out folks who are actually sick is precisly how they really put the screws to people to ‘control costs’.


  2. 2 JJ Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm

    RossK – Excellent point, and I updated my post to add it. The real-world scenario destroys the legitimacy of this whole anti-health care reform campaign that Holmes has pimped herself out to. Thanks for reminding me of that!

  3. 3 JJ Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    RossK – If you don’t mind, I’m going to tweet your post.

  4. 4 RossK Saturday, July 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Fine-O-Rama-Llama-Ding-Dong JJ.

    I’ve also got a post up at Firedoglake asking for the opinion of folks down south who have to live with the spectre of having their health insurance (not healthcare) cut off, at a moment’s notice, because they’ve done crazy things like well, you know, getting sick…..


  5. 5 toujoursdan Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 5:12 am

    Not only that. The big dirty secret in the American healthcare system is that they (or “we” since I am in New York for a few years, at least) have wait times too. The difference between the U.S. and Canadian systems is that the U.S. system is so disorganized and non-transparent that no one can really track them. So every American thinks it’s just something that affects them alone and doesn’t see it as a system-wide problem like Canadians do.

    See Business Week: The Doctor Will See You in 3 Months

    A Facebook friend of mine in Washington DC has been waiting for 17 weeks to get shoulder surgery done to fix a rotator cuff injury and he works for a city agency with good insurance.

  6. 6 Dr. Prole Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Toujoursdan, I had great insurance in the states. I had to wait 2 months for a pap test, then another 2 months when I had to reschedule due to unforeseen circumstances. You’re absolutely right about wait times in the US. Oh and you should see an urban ER in the US sometime!

  7. 7 brebis noire Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 7:02 am

    You can die waiting for care in a private clinic.

    Dr Chaouilli realised his dream of providing private emergency care in Quebec. Too bad he didn’t actually have the necessary equipment or infrastructures to treat his patient.

  8. 8 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 9:13 am

    RossK – Great post at FDL, the answers you’re getting are enlightening.

    It appears that even among progressives, the boogeyman about universal health care is wait times. The American spin machine has done a good job on that 😦 in spite of the fact that they too have wait times (see toujoursdan’s post above and the Businessweek link). Maybe it might be a good idea to remind people of that, put their minds @ ease.

  9. 9 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 9:22 am

    toujoursdan – Thanks for the link. I’m hoping RossK will post it over at FDL because the main stumbling block to Americans getting universal health care is all the propaganda about our wait times. They don’t seem to realize that they also have wait times, since the private insurance lobby has done such a good job of pointing north and going “Look! Shiny thing! Wait times!”

    17 weeks to get shoulder surgery done is more than you’d have to wait here. Here it would be more like 2 months, depending on the severity of the condition.

  10. 10 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 9:28 am

    Dr.Prole – Two months for a 5 minute pap test is outrageous. This is how bad our system is: my doctor’s office used to call ME to tell me it was time to get my ass in for a pap test. Every two years, like clockwork. (Of course, BC for some reason has really outstanding healthcare, even better than the rest of Canada.)

  11. 11 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 9:48 am

    brebis – Chaouilli is a perfect example of how private health care can go horribly wrong.

    Health care is one of those things where I think it’s almost wrong to make a profit, and I say that as someone who is a free market believer in most other respects.

  12. 12 J. A. Baker Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 9:54 am

    Dr Chaouilli realised his dream of providing private emergency care in Quebec. Too bad he didn’t actually have the necessary equipment or infrastructures to treat his patient.

    You know. It’s funny how the anti-choice crowd frequently cite botched abortions as a reason to stick government in the woman’s uterus, and yet they’re strangely silent when something like this happens…

  13. 13 RossK Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 10:05 am


    I’m on it.

    (and I’ll try and engage Laura of ‘We Move To Canada’ as well).



  14. 14 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 10:10 am

    JAB – That’s because they don’t want to draw attention to the fact that in reality there are no more botched abortions than there are botched knee surgeries or botched heart attack treatments; probably a lot less.

  15. 15 brebis noire Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 10:40 am

    well, I’m a private health care provider (aka veterinarian) and I’m always more worried about the patients I don’t see due to their owners’ budget considerations than the ones I do. That’s really the only reason that wait times are pretty short (I once experienced the supreme irony of a doctor complaining about a longer than usual wait time that was due to an X-ray machine malfunction…if I weren’t such a kind professional I would’ve given him a nasty piece of my mind).
    And there was a terrible propaganda piece about vet health care being so much better than human health care in Maclean’s a couple of years ago; if I’d seen it in time I would’ve written a rebuttal about how patients regulatly get euthanised when they cost too much…

  16. 16 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 10:40 am

    RossK – Awesome. I’d hate like hell to see Americans shy away from universal health care because they’ve swallowed the propaganda about wait times. I mean, yes, we sometimes have wait times, but so what? They’re no worse than what they have stateside — and at least we ALL have health care to wait FOR. And it’s the severity of the condition, not what’s in our wallets, that gets us to the front of the queue.

  17. 17 JJ Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 10:50 am

    brebis – As much as I love animals, I think that’s a little different — I have no qualms about vets making a profit. We “own” our animals, so their care is up to us (and as you point out, not everyone takes as good care of their pets as they should). OTOH, nobody “owns” us. But we pay those jerkoffs in Ottawa a good chunk of change to make sure we have health care.

    That argument about getting better health care from a vet reminds me of the Seinfeld episode where Kramer decided to see a vet instead of a doctor because vets are more knowledgeable — they have to know about dogs, frogs, cats, cows, etc. 😆

  18. 18 brebis noire Sunday, July 26, 2009 at 10:57 am

    No, my point is simply that you can’t really turn a profit from health care and be honest about its costs at the same time. This is what we’re seeing with private insurance in the US.
    And I’ve worked as a large animal vet as well, but you can barely make a living doing that because of the costs involved and the low value of animals. The large animal vets who make relatively good salaries work as “consultants” for concentrated animal feeding operations – not the ones who deliver emergency and medical care services.

    It’s not a great system either, but the comparisons with human healthcare break down at many points.

  19. 20 Angela West Monday, July 27, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    And here is her website:

    This is definitely her, looks like she hides under the maiden name. Confirmed through her picture with her Mom, Margaret Robertson, who used to own Pause Awhile Tea Room in Waterdown.

    According to this website you should be able to walk into 33 Mill St. in Waterdown and converse with her, although I imagine she’d call the cops on you.

  20. 21 jp2 Monday, July 27, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Just emailed her for a comment on the discrepancies…will report back.

  21. 22 Dr. Prole Monday, July 27, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Can we not go all Michelle Malkin here?

  22. 23 Dr. Prole Monday, July 27, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    I should clarify that statement. Let’s NOT act like psycho stalker Malkin. I realize Holmes’ physical address probably easy to find, but publishing it is not necessary unless one is insinuating someone should go harass her. Not cool.

  23. 24 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Angela West & P2 – WHOA! Thanks gazillions!!! I just posted about it.

    Dr.Prole – I wouldn’t post anything that wasn’t in the public domain. But since this website clearly is in the public domain, it’s fair game. I mean, she could have taken it down when she sensed blowback which has been happening for over a week now.

    I doubt anyone will show up at her place in person, but people have a right to bombard her with questions about her lies.

    I’m tweeting it.

  24. 25 Dr. Prole Monday, July 27, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    JJ, yah I hear ya, I just hate to be perceived as stooping to the level of the people who go out and stalk the families of sick kids, know what I mean? The only reason I can see for putting her physical address in a comment would be to make it easy to go harass her. Shit, people were going after that one lady who wasn’t even the right person. Not that you should edit or censor it, of course. It was right there on her website.

    You probably wouldn’t find Shona at home anyway, she’s likely galavanting around the US having cocktails with the Heritage Foundation board of directors, who are inwardly holding their noses at having to associate with one of The Help.

  25. 26 jp2 Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    I think sending an email asking for clarification is reasonable…we don’t have to immediately jump to Malkin here. That’s about a million steps away.

  26. 27 Dr. Prole Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Oh, that’s totally reasonable, I agree. Calling for clarification, if she has a phone number at her website, IMHO is reasonable. Showing up at her house, menacing her and her family and blogging about her fake granite countertops is not.

  27. 28 jp2 Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Well yeah, of course.

    I wonder if she would fall under any FCC/slander laws in either countries? Chock full of lies.

  28. 29 Angela West Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    Just to clarify – that is her business address, I did find her home address as well but won’t publish it. That wasn’t the intention of the comment. I think, as most of the other commenters do, that we should be able to discourse with her openly as she has mentioned numerous times on news broadcasts. The “missing piece” for me is exactly what happened in Canada that made her go to the US, seems she went in with a problem and her doctor didn’t refer her to a specialist fast enough for her liking, in which case I personally would have gone to a hospital rather than flying to the US, but hey, call me crazy.

    My boyfriend had a huge tumour in his chest and had one botched surgery where they said they couldn’t remove it, the hospital then came back and had another surgeon do the surgery successfully. I’m sure this happens all the time in the US as well. I’ve had millions of dollars (US) worth of health care and would be bankrupt if I had this done in the US, so yes, I do personally resent this woman somewhat since it seems like she just freaked out and went to the States and now is blaming the whole country for it. I could have done the same thing after my guy’s botched surgery but at the worst I was going to go to another hospital, which didn’t end up having to be the case. She’s advertising speaking engagements and is making a TON of money off of this, I don’t believe a word of it when she says that she isn’t.

  29. 30 Dr. Prole Monday, July 27, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Angela I totally hear you, believe me. My only concern was that the “left” gets accused of promoting her harassment. I didn’t know that was her business addy. Carry on! 🙂

  30. 31 Woman At Mile 0 Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:09 pm

    Why would you have to wait for a pap smear? You just go to your doctor and get one done. Results back in a few days. The orginal ppointment with Doctor might take a day to get in (if its your family doc) unless you want to go to a walk in clinic then you could get it done immediately.

  31. 32 Dr. Prole Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    WaM0, I assume you’re asking me about the pap test? I had to wait because my clinic in the US was booked up 2 months out. I had to reschedule, and so it was another 2 months to get in. Here, it takes me less than 2 weeks to get an appointment with my family doc for that kind of stuff. My point was that when people are shrieking about wait times in Canada and how that makes it BAD! here for healthcare, the US has waits as well, sometimes longer.

  32. 33 Woman At Mile 0 Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:23 pm

    2 months is freaking crazy stuff Dr. Prole…unacceptable.

  33. 34 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Angela – No problem, it took me 2 seconds to find it on Canada 411, so it’s public domain, which makes it fair game. I’m not publishing the phone number mainly because I know someone else eventually will.

    I think people have every right to demand that she answer for her bullshit. She’s slagging a health care system that most Canadians hold near & dear to our hearts — not only that, but putting it in imminent danger with her lawsuit — and last but not least, shilling for people who want to keep 50 million Americans from having health care!!! That’s just inhuman.

    As far as your BF’s experience goes, I’m sure this happens in the states as well — it doesn’t matter who’s paying them, doctors are human and they occasionally fuck up. The fact it, our doctors are actually better-trained than US doctors. For a US doctor to practice here, he/she has to go through a year-long training course.

  34. 35 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    jp2 – Emails, even phone calls are acceptable IMO. After all, the other Holmes woman has been inundated by calls for the last week in a case of mistaken identity. Americans have every right to know why she’s lying to screw them out of health care, and Canadians have every right to give her a slap in the yap for endangering OUR healthcare and slagging it on US TV.

  35. 36 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Dr.Prole – I don’t know what happened to my other comment, I responded to you before, but basically I said:
    I hear ya right back. Nobody wants to go full metal apeshit on this woman, but OTOH, people probably have questions for her and there’s no problem with emailing or even calling her.

    I might even call her myself 😉 for an exclusive interview 😛

    I bet if I said I was calling from the Western Standard she’d talk to me. Or even a made-up name like that guy did when we were digging up information on the massive poll (“Hi, I’m calling from Medical Choices Weekly…”) or some other name along the lines of the ones those fake-o pregnancy centres use.

  36. 37 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Woman @ Mile 0 – Isn’t it ridiculous?? My doc used to call ME when it was time to come in for a pap (or at least send a form letter), and there was no “waiting period” at all (maybe a day or 2).

  37. 38 Woman At Mile 0 Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    They do call me for paps JJ. Every single year if I miss the annual appt for it by more than six months.

  38. 39 fern hill Monday, July 27, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Here’s what my doc told me about the situation in Toronto. There were two labs doing all the pap tests. One bought the other and fired a bunch of people. The last two tests I’ve had, I’ve waited for results for more than two months.

    But, hey, that’s the free market for you.

  39. 40 Angela West Monday, July 27, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I was just thinking that if it were me, I’d be telling people about going to the doctor and not getting anywhere, then going to the hospital and not getting anywhere, and then going to another hospital and not getting anywhere, and then going to the States. I think she just skipped right to the Mayo clinic when her doctor didn’t have the answers she wanted, and thought from the beginning that she’d sue OHIP to get it back. That’s just my assumption, but if she could clarify the sequence of events, I may be a little more understanding. I just find it hard to believe that she received such horrible care in the same town where my BF had such excellent care – does not compute.

  40. 41 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Woman @Mile 0 – That’s good, very good. My doc was amazing about it, he’d call me in advance (because he knows I’d just procrastinate and forget about it).

  41. 42 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    fern hill – That’s the problem with health care becoming a profitmaking venture, to make a profit they have to cut corners, there’s no way around it. And that means service suffers. Ontario actually is worse than BC in this respect, having privatized a lot more. We’re lucky out here, we have outstanding heathcare in every respect. In fact, I read a few years ago that Nanaimo is the best place in Canada to have cancer 😐 and my experience definitely supports that statistic.

  42. 43 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm


    I think she just skipped right to the Mayo clinic when her doctor didn’t have the answers she wanted, and thought from the beginning that she’d sue OHIP to get it back.

    I think you nailed it right there. That’s what’s bugging me — what happened to set this whole thing in motion. Jumped or pushed? It seems to me she must have been talking to someone about this lawsuit very early on.

  43. 44 Saskboy Monday, July 27, 2009 at 10:28 pm

    This is great writing by the way, it made me angry. Perhaps it’s other things going on helping with that, but it takes a lot to make me really angry.

  44. 45 JJ Monday, July 27, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    Saskboy – Thanks! If it made you angry, my work here is done (at least for this post). This is something we should all be extremely angry about — it’s not only about denying Healthcare to Americans, her lawsuit is putting ours in jeopardy as well.

    So hold that thought!

  45. 46 Angela West Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 6:02 am

    Hi JJ:

    I agree; even if she wasn’t in consultation with someone about this lawsuit/going to the US early on, I think the thought process was “I’ll sue and get it back”, if there was a thought process at all.

    Her Mom owned a tea shop here in town that was quite well known, I even enjoyed a few cuppas there myself. I imagine she did quite well from it and little Shona is one of those entitled people that thinks that everyone exists to serve them. Entitlement is a huge pet peeve of mine. She also has a smugness to her when she’s doing interviews that is really infuriating.

    My guy is going to start calling and writing American left-wing groups with his story, he had a hell of a worse problem than Shona (an actual tumour the size of a grapefruit in his chest) and while one surgery was botched, the health care system came through and he’s living today because of it. One thought that sustained me through that whole process is “thank god we aren’t in the US”.

  46. 47 JJ Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Angela – You live there in Waterdown? Hahaha, we might recruit you to do an interview (j/kidding).

    Good job on getting your BF’s story out, I think we need to get as many good health care stories out as possible to counteract the bullshit. If this US healthcare bill doesn’t get passed before they recess, the GOP is spending a million dollars on an anti-reform campaign to run during recess and will no doubt have more Canadians like Holmes who they’ve dug up. Already on Twitter there’s a guy I’ve been talking to who’s flogging 4 or 5 similar videos; same bullshit, different people.

    I hear ya about thinking “thank god we aren’t in the US”. That was my thought exactly when I went thru cancer treatment 10 years ago. (10 years later I’m still standing, AND I still have my house.)

  47. 48 Angela West Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Heh – I do indeed. While it’s tempting to go have a talk with her, I am not exactly full of understanding and such a talk would consequently end in some police intervention, methinks. Here’s to knowing your limits and playing withing them! 🙂

    I’m not a Waterdown native and probably won’t stay around here for long; somehow a town close to Toronto has managed to fill itself with ultra right-wing Left Behind-reading crazies that just aren’t my peeps. Looking at somewhere a little more accepting of left-wing Liberals like Elora or Guelph.

    Congrats on 10 years cancer-free; no wonder you’re as fired up about this as I am. I think it really takes something very bad to happen to us before we can fully appreciate Canada’s healthcare system.

    Cheers mate and e-mail me anytime.

  48. 49 JJ Tuesday, July 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Angela – Ooooh, Elora! Pick Elora! That’s one place i’d consider living if I ever moved back to Ontario (I’m from T.O. originally). If there’s that many right-wing left behinders in Waterdown, I don’t know how you handle it there. I’d burst into flames.

    Yes, my cancer experience is one reason I’m so defensive about our health care system — they did such an outstanding job, everyone from the surgeon to the radiation techs, to the oncologists, to the nurses, to the hospital janitors were soooooo great!!! It was detected early, slashed and nuked right out of my system, and woohoo! I’m still here. So I am VERY sensitive about the system that saved my life and it infuriates me that someone would lie about it — for money! and to help the GOP screw 50million people out of healthcare.

    I really think America would be a much happier place if people didn’t have to worry about health care; I want so much for them to get it.

    Cheers backatcha 🙂

  49. 50 Jill Baxter Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 11:52 am

    If our healthcrae system is so wonderful in Canada why are so many Canadians waiting months to see a specialist and up to a year in some cases for serious medical conditions?

  50. 51 JJ Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Jill Baxter – Links please. You can’t just pull statements like that out of your ass.

    As you know, in our system the most serious cases get priority. I don’t mind waiting a few months for a hip replacement if it means someone with CANCER is getting the treatment they need (which they obviously can’t wait for).

    Sorry but you’re talking to someone who’s basically a poster girl for how well our system works — I had cancer 10 years ago, outstanding treatment, and I’m still around to talk about it without having to file for bankruptcy or lose my house (being one of those fortunate enough to have a house to lose).

    Hope this helps.

    ETA – Just so we’re clear, I don’t contend that our system is the best in the world by any means — we definitely have room for improvement. But it does work, and in the context of the US system, ours is far superior.

  51. 52 Reality Check Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm

    If your system is superior, why is it that tens of thousands of Canadians flee your country to get healthcare in the United States, and NO Americans leave the US to get care in Canada?

    Because socialist healthcare sucks. Thats why.

    And what a pack of LIES the original post is!…

    I watched the video featuring Shona Holmes shitting all over the health care system that probably gave her a pretty good shake for the first 40 years of her life

    Yes, it served her SO WELL until she actually needed it! Until she was losing her vision, and could have lost her life because of a tumor that the Canadian system had NO IDEA was not cancerous.

    You greedy little wards of the state apologizing for a system you use to force other people to pay for YOUR healthcare.

    Its A-OK if other people lose their eyesight and lose their lives as long as YOU dont have to pay for your own care. And unless you are among the wealthiest Canadians, someone else is paying for your healthcare.

    Shona Holmes chose to jump the queue and go stateside for treatment she didn’t really need,

    LIAR!!! Shona Holmes was diagnosed with a brain tumor in Canada. It wasnt UNTIL she went to the Mayo Clinic that she found out it was a cyst, not a tumor, and it wasnt UNTIL she went to Mayo that she found it wasnt cancerous. It would have taken MONTHS in Canada just to find out if it was cancerous or not. And had it been cancerous, on TOP of losing her eyesight, Ms Holmes would have lost precious time fighting cancer, and perhaps lost her life…as so many people do, waiting in lines for socialist healthcare.

    Its no wonder so many Canadians, INCLUDING THE MEMBERS OF GOVERNMENT, flee that country to come to the United States to get the best care on Earth. And its no wonder ABSOLUTELY NO ONE leaves the US to get care in Canada…at least not on purpose.

  52. 53 JJ Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    B U L L S H I T .

    The insurance pimps and whores must be getting pretty desperate, and no wonder, after Ontario finally responded to Holmes’ bullshit today.

    Now, do try to keep up: Holmes did NOT have cancer, not even in the same ballpark. She was diagnosed with “Rathke’s cleft”, a self-contained benign pituitary cyst that does not spread. Not only that, it was an embryological remnant, formed before she was born — can you say “Pre-existing condition”?? I thought you could. (We don’t have to worry about ‘pre-existing conditions’ in Canada, by the way.)

    If your system is superior, why is it that tens of thousands of Canadians flee your country to get healthcare in the United States, and NO Americans leave the US to get care in Canada?

    You’re kidding me, right? 😆 You’re not allowed to “come up” here for health care — you can get it if you’re already here, that’s it.

    Look dude, unlike Shona Holmes, I’ve actually had cancer and been treated in Canada — 10 years cancer-free, still own my home and haven’t filed for bankruptcy, all thanks to universal healthcare.


    Okay, not really.

  53. 54 Frank Frink Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    To add to JJ’s response, Reality Check.

    Yes, it is true that there are Canadians who do go to the USA for medical treatment. They fall into the following categories:

    1) Referrals from the Canadian medical system for extremely specialized treatment that is only available in a handful of locations worldwide.

    2) Canadians who are currently working and residing in the USA, although many of them often wait until vacation or family visits back to Canada for treatment if they do not have bluechip/Cadillac health insurance in the USA.

    3) people who wish to jump the Canadian medical system queues for non-emergency and non-life threatening treatment and have the ability to pay the outrageous cost of that treatment out of pocket. If that is there wish, fine. I don’t think any of us have a problem with that. It doesn’t mean the USA treatment or system is ‘better’, it only means that the treatment is more expedient if you have the 100’s of 1,000’s of dollars it might cost for such treatment.

  54. 55 JJ Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 8:36 pm

    FF – Well said.

    What is always lost to these bozos is the fact that millions of people are without healthcare — that’s 3rd world shit, not something that should be going on in a Country like the USA.

    Not to mention the number of people who are denied coverage because of conditions like the one Shona Holmes had.

    It’s sad — but sadder still is the fact that people are actually dumb enough to defend these big insurance companies that have no interest in them other than to give them a royal fucking over.

    But you can see why the insurance pimps are in such a panic — there’s massive amounts of money in this. God, what if the US gov’t introduced a public/private hybrid system and people actually decided the public system wasn’t all that bad after all? 😯

  55. 56 Frank Frink Wednesday, July 29, 2009 at 11:20 pm

    Interesting consideration from this link passed on to me earlier today. (emphasis mine)

    Whatever we do, we shouldn’t ruin “the best health-care system in the world.” Progressives confronted with this common argument often respond with incredulity. “Are you kidding me?” they shout. Fifty million uninsured, the highest per-capita costs in the world, millions of people pushed into bankruptcy by medical bills, worse health outcomes than most of the industrialized world? Are you kidding me?

    But this is not a practical argument — it’s a moral argument. Those who make it believe that our system is the best precisely because of its inequality. Systems like those of our European friends, in which everyone has access to high-quality care at a reasonable price, just don’t sit right with many conservative Republicans. If a captain of industry can’t buy better health care than the guy who cuts his lawn can, then the world just isn’t functioning as it should.

    Yep, that sort of thinking is truly part of the problem. So, how do we/they get around that?

  56. 57 mouthyorange Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 1:55 am

    One of the problems with a world where abuse is part of the everyday dynamics both at an individual and a group level is that a segment of the population responds to abuse by defending the party whose interest is to fuck them over.

    It’s the reason why a lot of stuff doesn’t get healed.

    It’s a massive problem.

  57. 58 mouthyorange Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 1:56 am

    And another segment of the population responds by defending the party who fucks over other people.

  58. 59 JJ Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 7:59 am

    FF – Thanks for the link, good one.

    The suggestion that the rich, by virtue of their material wealth, “deserve” to be in better health than the poor, is odious and loathesome. It also misses the fact that, unless they win a lottery (including life’s lottery of being born into money), the rich don’t get that way without a lot of help from the not-so-rich, so to imply that it’s about rewarding work ethic is a fairy tale and a joke.

    But a lot of people think this way so it’s not something that will be overcome anytime soon. Lower and Middle class conservatives have long been the most vehement supporters of the system that royally fucks them over because society worships wealth, and the myth of the “American Dream” (work hard, get rich) has been perpetuated for so long. It’s important to keep peoples’ eyes focused on some distant glittering star in the sky outside their window lest they look around and notice they’re sitting in a roomful of dog shit.

    Not that there’s anything wrong with having big dreams and chasing them, but allowing people the freedom to pursue their dreams is not what the American Dream myth is about — it’s about controlling the wage-slaves, and it works.

  59. 60 JJ Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 8:09 am


    a segment of the population responds to abuse by defending the party whose interest is to fuck them over.

    Absolutely; because that segment of the population doesn’t believe they’re being abused.

    It reminds me of a woman who thinks her husband’s jealous rages are a sign that he cares about her, when in fact it’s not about caring at all, it’s about control.

  60. 61 pale Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 10:01 am

    “If a captain of industry can’t buy better health care than the guy who cuts his lawn can, then the world just isn’t functioning as it should”

    That is truly the way conservatives think isn’t it?
    Capatains of corporations…..Usually born with a silver spoon, best education. Very few talents. Just who they know.

    But they are somehow more deserving than anyone else.

    Fuck em. 🙂

  61. 63 JJ Thursday, July 30, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Hey, well done SCSkeptic! Great post!

    It’s too bad that nobody knows *for sure* what her original diagnosis was (in Ontario). But here’s more speculation… 😛

    It’s almost certain that was diagnosed as a benign cyst right from the start because cancer and self-contained cysts look so different on an x-ray that any doctor can tell them apart. (Cysts look like little round pebbles, cancer looks like a star, with long spindly fingers coming out of the center of it, there’s no solid border like there is with a cyst.) But that’s where it all gets murky.

    OHIP was actually prepared to pay for her Mayo Clinic treatment — they just wanted to do an investigation first, to make sure the treatment was really necessary. That’s when she decided to sue, which would lead one to believe that she didn’t think she had a leg to stand on for getting her money back out of OHIP. Meanwhile she hooks up with the CCF and US insurance interests and the rest is history.

    Thanks for adding your voice to this, we need as many Canadians speaking up about it as possible.

  62. 64 Jill Baxter Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 9:52 am

    A young man died in Halifax after being told by the hospital that he would have to wait 24-hours! Now, tell me our system works well?

    Son dead, mother wants answers
    Young man died after leaving over crowded ER
    By JOHN McPHEE Health Reporter
    Sat. Aug 1 – 4:46 AM
    A grieving mother says her

    Other articles:
    B.C. doctors refuse to treat girl after parents protest surgery delay

    Even huge tumour can’t secure care in Ontario
    Woman must cover cost of U.S. surgery
    “Inside Sylvia de Vries lurked an enormous tumour and fluid totalling 18 kilograms. But not even that massive weight gain and a diagnosis of ovarian cancer could assure her timely treatment in Canada.”

    Montreal dad got to hospital in time, but still delivered wife’s baby himself

    Ontario denies funding to disabled baby despite need, reverend says

    Long waiting lists for speech-language pathologists in Alberta

    Hospital had to send man to Montreal for surgery
    When Dany Bureau’s stomach started to hurt last week, he figured it was just because of something he ate

    Our healthcare system has many glaring problems. Rather than fighting Holmes, why are you not writing to the provincial and federal government to ensure that ALL Canadians get the proper healthcare he or she deserves. I have contacted my MLA, MP, and others, and have done my best to fight for better care for all, have you? Just because someone has a good experience, does not mean that all Canadians are receiving excellent healthcare. Too many are falling between the cracks. This is what needs to be corrected.

  63. 65 Dr. Prole Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Jill we can walk and chew gum at the same time, imagine that. We can fight Holmes (because she’s a liar and is trying to take healthcare away from ALL Canadians) and write our MLAs and MPs. Which YES, in fact, I have.

    By the way, if you happen to think switching to private coverage will magically fix wait times, you are mistaken. I can match each Canadian “horror story” with 10 or more that are worse from the US. Our system does work well the vast majority of the time. When it doesn’t, you might want to look at “our death by 1000 cuts” corporate-friendly politicians and their insurance company golf buddies crippling the system on purpose so that you’ll demand private coverage and care. It’s a cute trick.

  64. 66 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Jill – I have never implied that our system is “perfect”; in fact, I said further upthread that I would not be opposed to allowing private clinics to take the pressure off the public system, as long as they work hand in hand (and there’s no double billing & other ripoffs), and the public system continues to provide *everyone* with health care.
    The fact is, though my experience as a cancer patient was extremely positive, I realize there are still improvements that could be made.

    I’m defending Canada’s health care system in the context of comparison with the US system, and the way they’re dishonestly trashing our system at the moment — Canadian healthcare is obviously better than what they have (or more to the point, what 50 million Americans *don’t* have) in the US. That’s a no-freaking-brainer.

    Cherry-picking isolated health care horror stories proves only one thing: that there are isolated health care horror stories in Canada. In the US, 50% of bankruptcies are due to medical costs — that’s not isolated, that’s huge. If we want to look at other health care horror stories in the US, I’m sure there’s no shortage. (And that was just the first link when I googled “US health care horror stories”.)

    Bottom line is the vast, overwhelming, mindblowing majority of Canadians wouldn’t trade our system for the US system — that really says it all.

    Hope this helps.

  65. 67 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Dr.Prole – The typical American with a typical health insurance policy has wait times too — the very rich don’t wait, but whoop de doo — that’s 1% of the population. Most people can’t afford to pull $100 G’s out of the bank to get themselves to the front of the line, and can’t afford to pay for top of the line insurance.

  66. 68 Dr. Prole Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    JJ, exactly. I’ve had to wait months for appointments in the US, and that was with insurance. I’ve also stayed at toxic, shitty jobs just to keep my coverage down there. My mother is completely uninsured at the moment – scary. She had the expensive COBRA coverage but couldn’t afford it anymore. We’re keeping our fingers crossed that she stays healthy at the very least until she’s old enough to qualify for Medicare. I’ve got family members who are farmers who 15 years ago were paying $1200 per month for family health coverage, and you can bet that’s gone up at least 40% by now like everyone else’s premiums have. It’s an unmitigated disaster down there right now. People are suffering, and that’s what Holmes and her backers want for everyone.

    I talk to a lot of people during the week, and I’ve heard nothing but overwhelmingly positive feedback on the system in Canada. You hit it on the head when you say that cherry picking isolated health care horror stories only proves that there are isolated horror stories! My experience last year completely blew me away, not just the promptness but the wonderful care I received at Royal Columbian hospital and from all the docs and specialists I saw and continue to be treated by.

  67. 69 Jill Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I have to disagree, our system does not work all that well. Too many Canadians are waiting weeks and in some cases months for important specialised appointments, this includes adults and children with cancer, and too many are dying on waiting lists. Perhaps, the government needs to start keeping track of how many Canadians are becoming sicker and (in some cases) they are dying waiting for care. This sadly, would be important information to know, as it would be an indicator of how well the system is performing or perhaps underperforming.

    I have had to wait up to a year to see a Respirologist and have always found that there are incredibly l-o-n-g waiting lists for care. A majority of Canadians who think there is no problem are often not that sick and generally have rarely used the system. How can they know? Folks, it’s not performing well, is in shambles, and the worst is yet to come with retirement of our baby boomer doctor and nurses. Provincial governments made cuts to medical school seats in the 1990s and nursing programs at that time were also cut substantially. We are already experiencing the effects. Have you been hospitalized lately? I have and there are not nearly enough nurses, it’s actually, scary to be in hospital these days. When people are waiting a year to see a doctor there are profound problems in the system. Let’s not sugar coat these issues.

  68. 70 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 5:41 pm

    Jill – You either don’t get what I’m saying or you have some kind of agenda to go around disputing all the positive claims about Canadian healthcare.

    The debate isn’t how perfect the Canadian system is — it’s far from perfect — the debate is the Canadian vs. the US System, and in that context, it’s a no-brainer: unless you’re extremely wealthy, the Canadian system wins hands down.

    My experience with the system has been 100% positive, and most people I’ve talked to are in the same boat. I have yet to encounter anyone in real life who’s had a really negative experience, and yes, I’ve been in a hospital recently, and as always, received top-notch care.

    If you think the US system is better, that puts you in a tiny, benighted minority. Very few of us would trade our system for theirs.

  69. 71 JJ Sunday, August 2, 2009 at 5:57 pm

    Jill again – Why did you sign your name as “Anne” in this post? A roommate who also hates health care? 😆

    Sockpuppetry is a sign of having an agenda to push.

    I’ll find out, don’t even worry about it.

  70. 72 Nancy Friday, August 7, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    Guys, my husband actually HAD a Rathke’s cleft cyst, which is, as has already been stated, an embryological remnant on the pituitary gland that slowly fills with fluid & debris and can affect pituitary function. It is NOT malignant, and not cancer, but it does sometimes have to be drained if it gets big enough to press on the optic nerve. That’s what apparently happened to Shona Holmes, and also to my husband.

    It’s absolutely necessary at that point, because it eventually can harm your vision. But it’s not a medical emergency. My husband scheduled his surgery probably six months after deciding to have it. And guess what? Our American insurance (Aetna) paid for it without hesitation. I feel quite certain that Canada’s Medicare would have paid for hers as well. (Also, Mayo Clinic overcharged her. My husband’s surgery at Mass General cost nowhere near $100,000, and it was the same kind of surgery.)

  71. 73 JJ Friday, August 7, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    Thank you Nancy, for a balanced take on a controversial situation.

    I’m pretty sure OHIP (Ontario health insurance) would have paid for Holmes’ procedure too, but they had to do an investigation to make sure it was something that she really needed. At this point, she decided to sue rather than letting them investigate, which tells me there’s a lot more to the story of her lawsuit and choice of the Mayo Clinic than meets the eye. But we’ll see.

  72. 74 Magpie Friday, October 30, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    Just for the record, if Ms Holmes condition had been as dire as she claims, and there was nobody to perform the treatment in a timely manner in Ontario, then OHIP WOULD have paid at least a goodly portion of the cost of getting it treated in the U.S. IF MS HOLMES HAD RECEIVED PRIOR APPROVAL.

    However she didn’t (or wouldn’t) but instead hopped on a plan, got the job done, then came back to Ontario and started demanding that OHIP pay her back.

  73. 75 Magpie Friday, October 30, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    The crux of Ms Holmes problems seems to be simple impatience–she didn’t want to do it right, she just wanted to do it NOW.

  74. 76 JJ Saturday, October 31, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Magpie – I think Shona Holmes was probably contacted by the anti=universal healthcare lobbyists who are now bankrolling her lawsuit against OHIP, and that’s why she decided to jump instead of waiting for OHIP’s approval. They’re also financing another similar lawsuit for someone else — they seek out this kind of patient so they can launch these lawsuits that they hope will end up undermining Canada’s health care system. They have connections with the anti-reform lobbyists in the states.

    Small world.

  75. 77 Vhainya Thursday, November 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    My sister had a bone marrow transplant last year. Her chances of survival without one were less than 1% with her form of leukemia. The insurance company preapproved the procedure, then only paid for half of the entire cost of having it once the bill was submitted. She’s now 20 years old, in full remission, trying to rebuild her life with over $100,000 in medical debt. Because of the health care reforms Bush passed she has no recourse to sue her insurance company to force them to cover her. They are allowed to deny her coverage and force her to eat the costs even though she was fully insured when she developed cancer.

    I know this is an extreme case, but it happens all the time for more minor claims. How many people have been denied an MRI or CT scan after their orthopedic surgeon ordered one? How many people were denied coverage after having a procedure which was preapproved? An insurance company can deny a claim for any reason at any time and there is nothing the insured person can do about it if the insurance company decides not to pay.

    Our politicians have done the American public such a great favor by denying us health insurance. It must be nice to be a politician who receives free health care subsidized 100% by the tax payers without having to worry about their coverage being denied.

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