Basic Income: Just What the Doctor Ordered, by the Toronto Star
Joyce Park stashed this in Healthcare
Canada is currently considering several large-scale experiments with basic income. For an American one of the most interesting yet foreign features about eavesdropping on their discussion is that basic income in Canada is being sold as a HEALTH issue. That would NEVER work in the USA!
Even though Canada has single-payer health care, it does not cover a lot of things including "prescription drugs, home care or long-term care, prescription glasses or dental care". With the exception of prescription drugs, none of those are covered by normal American health insurance either. And you know what's REALLY not covered? Having to miss work and forego income and possibly incur travel expenses to deal with health issues.
Apparently many Canadians recognize that under these circumstances the poor are not realistically able to maintain their health -- and that seems to them a pressing reason to move to guaranteed basic income. In the US we like to imagine that poor people should just die in the street rather than becoming a burden on the body politic. In fact when I had my subarachnoid hemorrhage in the summer of 2009 -- during the Obamacare debates and while I was uninsured due to the recent demise of my last startup -- I actually did not call an ambulance or go to the ER for 3 days partly because I was so worried about overuse of emergency room resources! The demonization of uninsured people who dared to go to the ER made me risk actual death, despite suffering one of the ailments that everyone agrees needs to be seen in the ER ASAP. Oh and I should mention that even with OPEN BRAIN SURGERY you can only stay on disability for a few months (I think 16 weeks?) before you have to start reporting to a government functionary about your inability to work.
The logic of the Canadian justification for basic income makes a lot of sense to me.
Thank you for sharing your story about the demonization of uninsured people in the United States.
Seems like single payer health insurance plus a basic income could really help a lot of people.