haileywebby Hailey Greke

One of the big debates across the country right now is that of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams seeking medical attention in the United States. He left at the beginning of February and recovered for a short time at his condominium in Florida.

Since returning to Newfoundland, Williams still stands by his decision of going to America for treatment. He said it was “my choice and my health," and that by going he didn’t mean he doesn’t respect his own province’s or Canada’s health care system.

One of the big debates across the country right now is that of Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Danny Williams seeking medical attention in the United States. He left at the beginning of February and recovered for a short time at his condominium in Florida.

Since returning to Newfoundland, Williams still stands by his decision of going to America for treatment. He said it was “my choice and my health," and that by going he didn’t mean he doesn’t respect his own province’s or Canada’s health care system.

From the brief things I have read about this issue a myriad of things have stood out to me, and probably to countless others, as unusual. Where do I begin though?

Let me start with all the secrecy, unclear information and badly handled announcements that came from the issue.

Deputy Premier Kathy Dunderdale, from what I read, made most of the statements regarding Williams for him. The U.S. location of the surgery was ‘unspecified,’ as well as the doctor performing the surgery and how exactly it was all being paid for.

Health care in the States isn’t cheap, we all know that, but for those who can afford it, it’s top notch. That’s where the question of money comes in. Williams paid for the surgery himself, but in a interview with Canadian Press said that he would be seeking any refunds he would be eligible for in Canada.

Refunds? Really? I guess if he is able to get them, then fair enough, but I can only imagine all the people who will raise a fuss about this new development.

Another thing is that Williams’ health has never been mentioned in the media before. Now all of a sudden it is of great importance because he is crossing the border for treatment.

What I can’t understand, is why didn’t he just hold a press conference in advance to announce himself what was going on?

I know that everyone believes his privacy was being invaded over his decision, but if he had just announced it everyone wouldn’t have been on his back like they are.

The whole ordeal has sparked serious debate over Canada’s health care system, too. Conservative lobbyists against health care reform in the U.S. had a field day.

Fox News in particular jumped all over the Williams’ story, using it to trash the Canadian system and show that America is better off without universal health care.

Sure, Fox is right when they say that Canada has bad wait times, but not every system is perfect. Even France, which has the top-ranked health care system in the world, probably has their problems.

If wait times are the biggest problem Canada has, things could be a lot worse. Look at Third World countries; they’ve never experienced anything even close to our level of health care.

I talked to a girl who had to receive medical attention while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Luckily she had travel insurance, but she said that after being in the hospital there that she will never again complain about Canada’s system.

She was so glad to have what we have here after going through medical treatment down in the Caribbean.

Williams’ decision to go south for treatment was made after lengthy talks with his physicians in Canada.

His choice to go to the U.S. was also based on that what he needed done wasn’t offered in Newfoundland.

Wait a minute, what about elsewhere in Canada? The treatment Williams received is available in Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.

Yes, America has some of the best surgeons in the world. Many of them specialize in procedures that most Canadian doctors will never see in their lifetime. But it was available in Canada.

It makes sense to do what Williams did, but only if you have the funds to do so. I’m not against going to America for medical attention, but I’m not necessarily for it either.