We’re all jealous of the Canadian health care system, unless we’re Canadian ourselves, in which case we spend our time eating poutine and watching hockey and politely marveling at the idiocy of Americans. But is the universal, public, accessible, single-payer health care that folks north of the border enjoy REALLY as great as it seems? Jacobin investigates:
The two largest holes in Canada’s health care system are the lack of universal coverage for dental care and the inadequate defraying of optical and prescription drug costs. As of 2012, an estimated one in five Canadians — disproportionately women, the unemployed, and freelancers — did not have the supplementary private health insurance that foots the bill for these services.
Uh. 20% of Canadians might have to pay for some dental and vision out of pocket, and these are your biggest problems? Here is the world’s tiniest violin, and here is me smashing it with a hammer made out of solidified resentment.
Universal health care is not just being eroded via underfunding. The federal government has been unwilling to enforce the Canada Health Act, which makes funding contingent on meeting certain standards. The lax regulatory environment has led to a proliferation of private clinics across Canada and inequitable access to some medical services.
OK now we’re getting somewhere. Maybe. It’s still hard for me to get worked up over the kinks in what seems like, overall, still a vastly preferable system to the one we’re stuck with down here, but pain is relative. And it does suck that abortions are hard to come by on Prince Edward Island.
I have temped on and off for about six years, utilizing the services of three different agencies. From two-day gigs moving office furniture to six-month trudges through thousands of digitized invoices, I have known intimately the feeling of temp-hood and have even emitted that sigh of resignation I now warn against: “A temp job is better than no job, right?” That’s how you know you’re hooked.
For cash-strapped millennials like myself, temp work is easy to fall into. You start off temping on summer breaks from college to earn some extra spending money, you work a part-time gig after graduation as a receptionist for a Japanese ad agency on the days when you’re not stuffing envelopes at your unpaid internship, and next thing you know you’re four years out of school calling your temp agency connect and pleading for whatever she’s got left: “It’s for a week? Ten dollars an hour? You bet I’m comfortable with Excel!” It’s a sordid business, temping.
In Jacobin, Rob Bryan discusses the problem with temp jobs, an industry that Bryan describes as being “fueled by desperation”—a “I’ll take what I can get” viewpoint that he says is the dominant ethos in the American labor market. Cobbling together temp jobs is increasingly becoming a way for people to earn a living in a tight job market, when it’s really meant for people to make some money to pay their bills while between jobs.
Photo: Sonny Abesamis