Jennifer Smith lived in Calgary, Alberta, Canada from 1978 until 1990. She's been in Paducah since 2004. She came to the Organizing for America Health Care meeting in Paducah on a beautiful Saturday afternoon to share her story, her frustrations and to help the fledgling group get off the ground.
During the meeting, she expressed anger at the television ads that feature former HCA CEO Rick Scott that denigrate the Canadian health care system. She and her ex-husband had plenty of occasions to avail themselves of the Canadian system. She had a high risk pregnancy. "All my preventative care was paid for." She had some "breast issues" - her mammogram was paid for. She chose her doctor - the "best gynocologist/obstetrician in Western Canada". Her children had the usual childhood diseases and accidents and trips to the emergency room. She says they never had to wait for treatment and their care was provided.
When asked if she ever had to come to the US for treatment. "No," she said. "As a matter of fact, if you were coming to the US, they strongly advised that we get a supplemental policy and we always did. The worst fear in your life was getting sick in the United States."
Jennifer and her husband divorced after they moved to the US. She attributes the breakup at least in part to the medical bills that followed her husband's illness here in America. It led the couple to bankruptcy and the end of the marriage. She's remarried now and her health insurance is provided by her husband's employer.
The best thing about Canadian health care according to Smith? "The peace of mind of not worrying about health care."