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Speedy von Vloppen

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About Speedy von Vloppen

  • Rank
    Junior Member
  • Birthday 09/29/1964

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Omaha, NE USA
  • Interests
    play writing, photography, languages
  1. Sounds more like a description of blue state USA (liberals) versus red state USA (so-called conservatives).
  2. If I have a question about site rules that should be dicussed privately, who do I contact?
  3. Thanks. I was going to ask about Winnipeg and Manitoba in general because I remember that that's the province that Louis Riel founded. I'm actually from Nebraska, but am living in Idaho for now at least. Manitoba is pretty much due north of Nebraska. It's a bit of a drive, but I could get there.
  4. I live near Boise, Idaho and am working hard to learn French for numerous reasons. Of course I'm in a border state and could easily drive up to Canada in a day, but the provinces close to me are English ones, not French. It would be easy for me to get to British Columbia or Alberta or even Saskatchewan. Unfortunately, the French provinces, Québec and New Brunswick, are quite far from me, way too far for a one-day drive. This leads to my question. Are there pockets of French speakers in the western provinces? If so, it would be worth it for me to take a mini-vacation up there. There are precious few opportunities to speak in French in Idaho. I have found a French club that meets at a coffee shop once a month. I also have a Skype partner from France. I speak with her once a week, both in French (to help me) and in English (to help her). I'm not all that good at French yet, having only been studying it since September of 2012. However, I know from past experience that you only get good at a language by starting off being terrible, but using the language as much as possible anyway. That's how I became fluent in German. I went over to Switzerland and Germany and used my German every day. Here I have a French-language country immediately to my north. Plus, I've always wanted to visit Canada anyway.
  5. I'm an American busy learning to speak French. I study the language every day via books, audio materials, and software. I also practice speaking it with a Skype partner from France. All my study materials are based on Parisian French. However, I hear that at least for written word, the Parisian and the Canadian dialects are mostly the same. On the other hand, I'm told that the accents are quite different to the point where sometimes a Québécois may have a difficult time being understood in France. It's important for my French to be useful in multiple countries, not just in France. I've therefore been watching French movies from multiple countries: France, Belgium, Switzerland, and Canada. The Canadian movies I've seen have all been Québec ones. I'll also soon be hooking my laptop up to my TV to watch Québec based news on a regular basis. Is that sufficient or is the French spoken by people not from Québec significantly different? The English spoken by someone from New York is way, way different, for example, than that of someone from Texas. Would it be a good idea to also tune into programs from New Brunswick? What about other areas of Canada? The goal is to be able to understand and be understood regardless of which French-speaking country I'm in. Btw, I wasn't sure if this was the right board for this post. I thought of putting it in Provincial Politics, but I decided since it's about language, not politics, that it belongs here. If it should have been on another board, go ahead and move it.
  6. You're correct about that. It's definitely a problem here. One solution that looks promising is to create a centralized medical database that every doctor accesses. It's what they do in Taiwan. Every patient has a medical access card that they have to present. It gives the doctor immediate access to all the person's medical records. So if the person got an oxycontin prescription from a doctor in New Taipei and then went to another doctor in Taichung asking for the same med, the doctor would see that he already has been prescribed it. Then if he suspects addiction, he could refer the patient to an addiction specialist, which is also covered. Centralized computer medical records also cut out a lot of burrocracy. You wouldn't believe the hassle I went through trying to transfer my medical records from Nebraska to Idaho. I was in extreme pain, but the pain clinic was refusing to see me because my records just would not show up. I ended up waiting about two months for treatment in Idaho because of the records problem. If any right-wing American claims there are never wait times here, he's wrong. Sometimes sheer bureaucracy causes them. That sounds like a solvable problem. There is actually such a problem of health care costs being too low -- the opposite of what we have in the US. In Germany some doctors were getting frustrated by their wages being too low and the country began to lose doctors to neighbor countries like Switzerland and France where they could earn more. Japan also had some similar problems. The Japanese government sets all the prices for every medical procedure in the country. When there wasn't enough political will to implement increases, some Japanese doctors quit providing some services that they couldn't earn enough money from. The solution in both countries was simply to put more money into the system. Looks like the solution in Canada is the same, and it's simple. Put in more money and increase the number of med school places. You would still be paying way, way less than we pay in the US. Be very grateful you have such a good system in Canada. Some things could be improved there, but you're still light years ahead of the US. Sometimes I honestly wish when I graduated college I had just left the country -- maybe go back to Germany or move to Canada or France. When I had lousy jobs I didn't even have clunky medical insurance. My treatment for my back pain was to buy a big bag of ice from 7-11 and then to ice my back up, take ibuprofin, and drink too much alcohol. It gave me some relief, but it ended up leading to a drinking problem (but now I'm nearly 3 years sober). I'll continue the fight against the USA's insane right-wingers who've been scaring people away from universal health care for years.
  7. First, I'm not one of the right-wing extremist nuts who spreads misinformation about Canadian Medicare. I'm aware of the preposterous stories they spread, like if you break your arm you'll wait in the ER for 72 hours in searing pain before you get any help; or if you need open heart surgery, they'll schedule you for 18 months down the road and you'll die waiting. I'm well aware these stories are garbage. But I do have a few honest questions. 1. Is there anything in place to prevent overuse of the system? I've researched other health care systems such as the one in Taiwan. Taiwan has a single payer system a lot like that of Canada. However, the Taiwanese were concerned that making access to health care easy with no out of pocket payments at the time of service might encourage frivolous use. They have an auditor who looks at the stats to see if someone goes to the doctor excessively when he may not be sick. In such cases, the person perhaps really suffers from hypochondria and needs treatment for that. They'll then be referred to a mental health specialist, which is also covered. Sometimes if I'm sick I choose not to go to the doctor. If I just have a minor cold, a doctor can't give me anything that will kill off the virus anyway, so I just drink orange juice and use over-the-counter cold meds till I'm getter. If I stub my toe or get a bloody nose, I just deal with it on my own since it's not serious. In the US we have strong financial incentives to not run to the doctor frivolously. Of course, the huge down side to that is a lot of people end up not getting help when it is serious and when they absolutely do need help. Our system here stinks, even with Obamacare partially implemented. (Further implementations are scheduled for 2014.) That leads to my next question: 2. Do you find that many Canadians go to the doctor frivolously? Or do most people take care of minor problems on their own? My last question is about wait times. I'm aware that they exist, but I'm also aware that our lovely right-wing extremists cherry pick situations and use hyperbole for political gain. I suffer from chronic pain in my back and migraines. Despite having health insurance, I've had a hard time getting treatment. My specialist doctor visits are $45 each, and I spend about $75 a month on meds. My cortisone shots in my back are $400 per shot. This is with insurance. If I didn't have it, I would not be able to afford any of this. My insurance is paying 80% and I'm paying 20. When I had a hernia operation, my portion due was $20,000. I'm still paying that off, which makes it difficult to afford those $400 shots. So my final question is: 3. What would the experience of a Canadian with my same health condition be? Would he have difficulty accessing his cortisone shots or affording his meds? Would there be wait times? If so, about how long? I can't trust Americans with a political agenda to give me quality information about this. That's why I wanted to ask real Canadians. I belong to a grassroots movement named Nebraska Appleseed which has been fighting for health care reform in the US. I was protesting in Lincoln (the capital of Nebraska) when the big health care debates were going on in the US. IMO Obamacare is a step in the right direction, but I am disappointed it doesn't go anywhere near far enough and it has some problems. If you have insurance, you still often have junky policies like mine that cover 80 percent and leave you to pay 20. That 20 percent is very often a lot. It's very often unaffordable. We still depend on private insurance companies who put profit first. Now there are at least some regulations that prevent the most egregious of abuses. I had way, way better health insurance when I lived in Germany. Germany doesn't use single payer like Canada. It's a multi-payer system where you have the choice between public or private insurance. It's far better than what we have in the US. Whether you're publicly or privately insured, you're 100 percent covered. And everyone is insured in some way. I honestly would be thrilled if the US adopted either a Canadian or a German-style system. Both systems are way better than what we've got. I just had a few questions about the Canadian system. I hope you don't mind answering them. I'll continue the fight for real health care reform in the US that does better than Obamacare. There is one very encouraging bit of news, in case you haven't heard it. The State of Vermont has passed a single payer system much like that of Canada. It's scheduled to go into effect no later than 2017. California also passed single payer, but Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed it. However, he's no longer in office. That state may be able to pass it again, and the current governor will sign it. It might be that single payer starts spreading across the country state by state as people see how well it works in states and that it's not some bogeyman. All right. Thanks for listening. Edit: I almost forgot #4: Is mental health treatment covered?
  8. Appreciate the concern, but we won't be heading up north until the summer. Many thanks to everyone.
  9. If you repeat a lie over and over it does not become true. The hostess employees and their union keep getting blamed for the company's demise, but that's scapegoating. That's just the oft-repeated lie. If you want the truth, you can consider these facts: Read more from the source: http://www.thenation.com/blog/171331/vulture-capitalism-ate-your-twinkies# This scapegoating of the hard workers at Hostess is getting old.
  10. My roommate and I might drive up to Canada from the US this summer. I have a US passport, so I'm good to go. My roommate was born in Canada and lived in a foster home there till he was 7 when he was adopted by an American family. He's lived in the US ever since. He says he doesn't need a passport because he can just show his Canadian birth certificate at the border and he'll be allowed in. I'm not so sure. I remember you used to be able to travel to and from both countries with just a US or a Canadian drivers license. I know for a fact that's no longer the case. I've urged him to get his passport. He got his US citizenship in the 80s and therefore can get a US passport. With his Canadian birth certificate, he could probably get a Canadian one if he chose to. Does anyone know if his birth certificate at the border is enough? Or do I need to insist that he get a passport?
  11. Their WHO ranking is high. Polls show the German public is happy with the system. And, btw, I'm not saying that Canada has to adopt a public/private system. The current system works way better than the one in the US. The wait periods to see specialists could conceivably be shortened by improving the doctor/patient ratio, as others have suggested. I'm only saying that it's possible for public and private insurance to coexist and work well.
  12. It could be set up to not drain resources from the public system. In Germany everyone has to pay taxes into the public system, even if they opt out and purchase private insurance. It's similar to how in the US you have to pay taxes that support public schools even if you send your child to a private one. Doctors also accept both public and private insurance. With it being set up this way, only wealthy people can afford private insurance. In fact, only about 10 percent of the population is privately insured. IMO Canadians are smart to be wary of a change to a public and private system. If the opt-out allowed for a person to not pay Medicare taxes, and doctors were allowed to only accept private insurance, then, yes, resources would be drained. However, the way it's set up in Germany, it works quite well.
  13. On my trip to Lake Winnipeg next spring, I'm of course going to bring my photography gear so that I can get whatever quality shots I can. Does anyone know if either Canadian or US customs (upon my return) will care that I'm traveling with my gear? For example, will US customs want proof that I had previously bought my gear in the States before my trip?
  14. Allowing private insurance would not necessarily take doctors out of the public system. It depends on how it's set up. In Germany, most doctors accept both public and private insurance. When I was living there, I noticed the first question the receptionist at the doctor would always ask was, "Do you have public or private insurance?" Then you would hand in a certificate known as a "Krankenschein" that gave them all your insurance info. Keep in mind, the public insurance system is different in Germany. There's not a single public option like Medicare. The government has actually created numerous publicly funded insurance companies like Medicare. Every person is required to buy into one of those or to choose private insurance, which does not get government funding. I agree with you that it would be a mistake to create a public and private system where doctors quit public service. However, it's entirely possible for doctors to serve both the publicly and privately insured without destroying the quality of the public system. In Germany about 10 percent of the population is privately insured, while most of the population goes for one of the more affordable public plans. I got my public insurance from a company named AOK (http://www.aok.de/bundesweit/). Best health insurance I've ever had! It was way, way better than the GARBAGE I have now (Aetna), which is extensive and routinely finds excuses for not covering me. The German public/private health care system does have its strange and uncomfortable quirks. The privately insured pay more and get better service. It's not uncommon for a privately insured person to be to the front of the line to when others have been waiting to see the doctor. There's a PBS video named "Sick Around the World" that shows how different countries handle health insurance. The countries shown are United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland. It's aimed at an American audience, but I think Canadians interested in improving their health care system will benefit from seeing it. It's free to watch online (though it's not working as I write this) or a DVD can be ordered. It's here: My link (I do not work for or have any financial interest in PBS, btw.)
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