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Good for Justin Bieber (sentence fragment I never thought I'd be writing) for having an opinion and expressing it. (Of course when I was sixteen I was pretty sure I knew the moral value of everything too)

Sadly I'm expecting a conservative shitstorm and subsequent awkward apology from the Biebs in three, two, one...
Posted by JAT on July 26, 2012 at 7:57 AM · Report this
saxfanatic 2
Asked if he wanted to become an American citizen, Bieber made clear his love for Canada—and its health care system. "You guys are evil," he told the magazine.

Wow. It may be easy to dismiss it as the ramblings of a pop star but this is going to have an effect - probably more effect than any five Michael Moore documentaries. Good on Bieber.

... and yay Canada!
Posted by saxfanatic on July 26, 2012 at 8:09 AM · Report this
Glad to be a Canadian here too! I've been cured of cancer for 5 years now with no expense spared in my treatment and not a penny out of my pocket! The yearly follow ups don't cost a thing either!
Posted by silvertears on July 26, 2012 at 8:11 AM · Report this
gttim 4
Wow. Not a fan, but nailing Selena Gomez and saying this? Respect!
Posted by gttim on July 26, 2012 at 8:12 AM · Report this
@2 Lol. "Going to have an effect".

You know that quote is from February 2011, right? You've gone this whole time without reading it. Some effect.
Posted by Jason Petersen on July 26, 2012 at 8:13 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 6
@2: About as much affect as when he said that rape was just a gift from god right?

Posted by Theodore Gorath on July 26, 2012 at 8:16 AM · Report this
runswithnailclippers 7
Reading the article about the medical bills for this still amazes this Canadian. I shouldn't be amazed but all this ad hoc fundraising by friends, family members, the comedy community etc. -- what a disaster. I lived in both the US and Canada and yes, the Canadian health care system is better. Unless you are rich and want elective surgery then you can probably do better in the States. But that isn't what health care is about.

I"m also curious about costs--millions of dollars for one patient? What? I would like to translate that into Canadian costs for the same procedure (i..e what it would cost Canadian society/gov't)
Posted by runswithnailclippers on July 26, 2012 at 8:18 AM · Report this
Enigma 8
@5 Well, the Supremes upheld Obamacare, so it must have had an effect. Right?
Posted by Enigma on July 26, 2012 at 8:19 AM · Report this
His girlfriend Selena Gomez will need emergency depilatory care over her lifetime.
Posted by Cranston Debarge on July 26, 2012 at 8:27 AM · Report this
GhostDog 10
I'm waiting for a conservative counter proposal that can't be summed up as, "well, some people just need to die".

I think I'm going to be waiting a very long time.
Posted by GhostDog on July 26, 2012 at 8:30 AM · Report this
BEG 11
Damn you, Dan, for forcing me to be in agreement with Justin Beiber....
Posted by BEG!/browneyedgirl65 on July 26, 2012 at 8:44 AM · Report this
This is why I'll probably never forgive my best friend for moving her Canadian husband out here instead of doing it the smart way.
Posted by suddenlyorcas on July 26, 2012 at 8:49 AM · Report this
I would think you yanks would want to pass universal health care just to shut up your smug neighbours to the north. Your healthcare system is a complete joke to us, you're bankrupting your country to make sure that people you don't approve of don't get any health care until they are dying (at which point it becomes astronomically more expensive. If you don't want to help "freeloaders" (most of whom are working poor or children) then at least have the consistency to tell them to die in the street, and live with the moral consequences of that). When Canadians were asked in a survey what single thing makes us distinctly Canadian, the #1 response was universal health care. When you live north of a similar country and culture that has ten times as many people as you, you sort of have no choice but to define yourself in relation to them; the way we treat our sick is so obviously superior (morally, fiscally, and practically) that that is the biggest single thing we point to to define ourselves.
Posted by esperando on July 26, 2012 at 8:51 AM · Report this
As another Canadian, I'm a little amazed at those costs, too. I think part of it is that if you are well insured in the States and get good care, it's *really* good.

And the point that the insured still end up in financial trouble when something happens needs to be pounded out, over and over. The point of an insurance company is that they not pay out. If there is a way for them to wiggle out of their obligation, they will.

I have a specialized medical condition that is covered under Alberta Health Care, and that "should" be covered by any good insurance in the States. However, claims are challenged by the insurance companies, almost every time. Even when they know perfectly well the claim is legit (same company having approved, after a fight, an identical claim within the same year), they make the claimants jump through multiple hoops, I presume in the hope that some at least of them will give up and go away. Which they do - the people in our support group who track this kind of thing estimate that possibly as many as half of those who should be eligible for the treatment give up and go without. Not to mention all of those without insurance, who are out of luck goes without saying.
Posted by agony on July 26, 2012 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 15
As Obama has said, with Republicans it's every man, woman and child for themselves.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on July 26, 2012 at 9:03 AM · Report this
I think it needs to be added - yes, our system is not perfect, and yes, we pay higher taxes. But, y'know, while nobody wants to pay taxes that just get wasted on stupidity, higher taxes are not the most evil thing in the world.

A lot of our family income is in the form of job bonus, which tends to get taxed pretty steeply. And still, we're *fine*. Able to raise a family just fine on my husband's blue collar job and my part time paid next to nothing non profit one. As long as we live reasonably, the bills always get paid, and there is no crippling anxiety. No fear that leaving a hated job will mean loss of health coverage and disaster for the family. Just a little less disposable income, in return for a healthier society. It really is worth it.
Posted by agony on July 26, 2012 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Reverse Polarity 17
Sad that a teenaged Canadian pop star has a better grasp of healthcare than half the members of the US congress.
Posted by Reverse Polarity on July 26, 2012 at 9:39 AM · Report this
cancer survivor here. american. i almost hit that half million dollar limit, thankfully now premera can't impose that it the cancer comes back. i was right up against it when the treatment ended, on more trip to the hospital @ $30K (without an immune system, see? just going to pike market can cost you $30K) would have put me over the limit. and despite my gold plated insurance i personally paid about $90K in premiums in the 18 years before I got sick which was a lot, and I still pay about $15K a year in premiums and deductibles annually. so i am lucky. the unlucky are the rest of americans who don't get sick and find out their insurance doens't really insure them, or those who don't see the cost of medical related bankruptcy in their mortgage and credit card bills. but believe me, all of you are paying for these medical bankruptcies because the credit card companies include others' default costs, in your credit card rates or other loan rates. it's socialism in a hidden way through the faux market all intended to ensure massive profits for health insurance, health care providers, doctors, credit card and other finance companies. hidden socialized downsides, guaranteed non market upsides, this is why we spend 17% of gdp on health care. gee if we only spent 11% like france, we'd free pu 6% to pay down our debts.
Posted by smart, Canadian socialism better on July 26, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
Yep, the insured get killed. Major surgery a year ago and I JUST got ANOTHER bill for nearly $600. And they're threatening me with collections already. The health insurance industry is nothing but miserable bastards. We need to take the profits out of health care to keep it affordable, and the way to do that is to go to single payer. This system is expensive and only makes sense to insurance companies trying to make money.
Posted by kz1231 on July 26, 2012 at 10:20 AM · Report this
Ok, Justin Bieber is spouting words of wisdom. This day is just messing with my head...
Posted by JrzWrld on July 26, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
@Enigma - Obamacare hasn't come into full effect yet. It won't start having a major impact until 2014 when it is fully enacted. I don't understand why people keep glossing over that. There are preparations that have to be made for such an overhaul, so it is happening little by little and slowly but surely. Having said that, there are already millions of people being helped with what has been implemented so far from the health care reform act and tens of millions more will be added to that list of those being helped every year. Just because the victims of this horrible tragedy haven't been impacted yet by a partially enacted law is not a testimony to how effective said law is.
Posted by EducationIsNotEvil on July 26, 2012 at 10:30 AM · Report this
Enigma 22
@21 Kay.
Not sure how my joke about Bieber having an impact on the Supreme Court decision upholding the Affordable Care Act implied I was questioning the effectiveness of the future implementation of the law.
Posted by Enigma on July 26, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
venomlash 23
Posted by venomlash on July 26, 2012 at 11:19 AM · Report this
This article has an interesting point of view from an American woman who moved to Canada:…
Posted by Deebs on July 26, 2012 at 11:36 AM · Report this

Healthcare is not just another product in the marketplace. The problem with the Republican vision of healthcare reform, such as it is, is that their 'plans' all treat healthcare like just another product, and that the invisible hand of the marketplace will solve all.

Tell a seriously injured gunshot victim to clip coupons and do comparison shopping when deciding which ER or trauma center to "patronize".

Healthcare is a right in a civilized society. Conservatives despise this notion, but it is already partially handled that way, in that an ER cannot legally deny care to someone who is dying.

It is well past the time when more cost-effective preventative care, care for chronic conditions, and other care that is not immediately a matter of life-and-death should be also be universally available--and at something less than a financially ruinous cost.
Posted by Functional Atheist on July 26, 2012 at 12:14 PM · Report this
Deebs, that is an interesting article, and one that every die-hard conservative should read. Not that any of them would be reading the comments on Dan Savage's blog, but here it is for the folks who have the unregistered commenters blocked:….

It is the profit motivation that makes health care in the U.S. such a sick system. Profit and greed go hand in hand. I don't know where I heard this, but health care companies seem to have a motto of "delay, deny and hope they die".
Posted by Barbara on July 26, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
Insurance companies, not health care companies.
Posted by Barbara on July 26, 2012 at 12:22 PM · Report this
@Jason Peterson. In light and in the context of what has happened NOW. Yes I believe it can have an effect.
Posted by Mine on July 26, 2012 at 12:25 PM · Report this
Freetobegay 29
I would agree...I am alive today partiality due to the fact I had very expensive free medical insurance (because of where I worked) each of the instances when I needed it. If I had not had this coverage I seriously doubt I would have been given a quarter of a million dollar heart surgery...I would be fertilizer as we speak....K

My father was Canadian...I am U.S. Citizen, I am pursuing my dual citizenship for just this reason...and also I love Canadians...I am blood....with them.
Posted by Freetobegay on July 26, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
Yeah, health care is right up there with education (crazy unequal primary), taxation (crazy unequal), and guns (just crazy) with things that are fucked up with our country (fellow american, yo!). the for-profit insurance industry that consumes TONS of money; malpractice lawsuits/lawyers that drive costs way the fuck up (yes, of course some lawsuits are with merit, but as the #1 country of frivolous lawsuits, it drives all costs up- and dad's a lawyer); the pharma-complex that pays reps shitloads and wines and dines doctors spending sick sick money on them (brother's a neurologist)-- wow- if only you could take away all the lobbyists and PACs it really wouldn't be so challenging to get done what needs to get done- baseline health coverage for all; the wealthy or those who choose, can spend extra $$$ to get extra special medical care. ughhhhhhhhh!!!!
Posted by freshnycman on July 26, 2012 at 1:21 PM · Report this
I couldn't agree more. I have a chronic digestive problem. For the first three years, I was still employed and had insurance, but I was still paying a tremendous amount of money in co-pays and deductibles, so much that for the first time in my life I was able to use itemized deductions rather than the standard deduction on my taxes. All because of the cost of my health care.

Then I got too sick to work and had to leave my job. I did get COBRA for 18 months and thanks to Obama, the cost of that was partially subsidized so I only had to pay $175 a month, rather than over $300.

But now that I'm uninsured and still unable to work, I look at that time as the "good ol' days". In just 18 months of being uninsured, I've incurred well over $20,000 in medical costs, and that wasn't with a lot of medical care. I did have two procedures and two diagnostic tests, but no surgery or hospital stays. That was all from doctor and lab bills, and the costs of using the hospital for the procedures.

I've tried to get on SS Disability, but have been denied twice. I am appealing again, of course, but in the current political climate, unless you are literally dying in front of the judge, they consider you healthy enough to work. Never mind that about half the time I am dealing with symptoms that are mix of food poisoning and pancreatitis symptoms. I dare that judge to work while so nauseous he feels like he's swimming in it, or while in the amount of pain I consider to be "normal".

I am eligible for my state's high-risk pool, which is stopgap until AHA fully kicks in in 2014 and insurance companies can no longer deny for pre-existing conditions, but the premiums are insanely expensive ($1,100 a month for the same coverage I was getting through my COBRA at only $300 per month) and without a job, I just cannot afford them.

But here in America, profit is king, regardless of how you have to get it or who it hurts in the process. It makes me ever sicker than I already am.
Posted by SherBee on July 26, 2012 at 1:34 PM · Report this
In the same interview he condemns abortion so fuck him. Maybe 20 year old rich kids aren't as wise as you think
Posted by yumyum74 on July 26, 2012 at 1:53 PM · Report this
A good friend of mine is being treated for serious illness. S/he has really good private insurance.

S/he's selling furniture and borrowing money just to cover for the co-payments and uninsured parts.
Posted by Randomfactor on July 26, 2012 at 2:03 PM · Report this
Megaera 34
It's such a lottery. I mean, it's great that those 3 hospitals are waiving their fees, but I bet the people who ended up in the other 2 hospitals are cursing their luck and the police or medics who chose to take them to these hospitals, rather than those. The US health system is absolutely unbelievable for a developed country.

And no, I don't believe that you necessarily get better care when you pay for it privately: an investigation some years ago in the UK demonstrated that much better care was delivered in National Health Service teaching hospitals than in private hospitals. The reason seemed to be that the surgeons and doctors were simultaneously doing their medical work and also demonstrating to groups of student doctors and nurses, so their practices had to be absolutely by the book. This was not the case in private hospitals, where the same surgeons often took risky short-cuts.
Posted by Megaera on July 26, 2012 at 3:39 PM · Report this
I've never really had a problem with the Biebs. I'm not a pre-teen, and not his target audience. My generation can't exactly stand in judgement. I remember most of my 6th grade class dying over New Kids on the Block. But now I might have to admit to actually LIKING him a little bit.
Posted by MinnySota on July 26, 2012 at 4:10 PM · Report this
Not much I can add here that hasn't been said. I think the major problem is that the insurance and big pharma lobbies have insanely deep pockets. Add that kind of money to the fact that it's already far easier to convince gullible voters that, "Hey, you don't want the government taking your hard-earned money to give health care to these irresponsible uninsured poor people," than it is to explain all the hidden ways (such as #18 and #30 outlined) in which you're already being taken for a ride by the current system. For the life of me, I cannot understand why nobody in a position of power has had the sense to sell universal health care as "Medicare for all." Medicare may have its shortcomings, but if Grandma can have her medical bills paid by the government, why shouldn't the rest of us?
Posted by Snoopy The Cat on July 26, 2012 at 4:30 PM · Report this
our system needs fixing for sure....but....why doesnt Justin B offer his employees excellent insurance, like any good employer should ?? He's totally free to do that...does he choose not to? Does he pay his employees a living wage, or even better, how about a great salary for protecting the Beib?

or his he a limosuine liberal talking out his arse?
Posted by Cassette tape fan on July 26, 2012 at 4:41 PM · Report this
NRA should pay all medical bills for anyone injured by a gun, any time, any where, any reason (in the US of course). They want no controls? fine. They need to pay for the consequences/
Posted by abrock_ca on July 26, 2012 at 5:19 PM · Report this
I don't know that this comment will be read as it now comes so far down on the thread. I just thought it would be interesting to point out how the US Health Care system also sucks money from rich foreigners as well.

As a Canadian living in Norway (also with universal health care), I ran across a news article a few months ago about a Norwegian student who was studying in the US. He was bit by a rattle snake, was in the hospital overnight and released the next morning, and the Norwegian Government received a bill for over 300 000 USD.

Posted by NorwegianCanuck on July 26, 2012 at 11:18 PM · Report this
@32: yeah. So let's put that another way.

Just any dipshit Canadian can tell you what's wrong with the system. Even Justin Bieber.

Oh wait, didn't Dan say that already?
Posted by gromm on July 26, 2012 at 11:59 PM · Report this
@37: What I understand about health insurance down there, is that what looks good on paper when you buy it doesn't always turn out so great when it comes to cash it in.

If you want to know what's wrong with America, it's a long history of that sort of thing. And I'm not talking about health insurance, either.
Posted by gromm on July 27, 2012 at 12:10 AM · Report this
Umm, isn't Bieber the employer of his bodyguard? Doesn't he have the option to offer the poor guy medical insurance out of his bamillions of dollars?
The evil American is YOU, Beebs!!
Posted by Anya1anya on July 27, 2012 at 4:58 AM · Report this
Bieber is probably not the employer of his bodyguard. I'm sure he employs a firm who have the expertise to train bodyguards, which Beiber himself does not.
Posted by NorwegianCanuck on July 28, 2012 at 5:34 AM · Report this
Danny, you are so right.

But please help us understand how to pay for insurance for everyone....
Posted by oh Danny, you are so smart, please tell us..... on July 29, 2012 at 5:29 AM · Report this
HuffPo: "It's a surprisingly astute observation for a 16-year old superstar singer."

No, it only seems surprising or astute to those for whom universal health insurance is not the norm. Bieber has a perfectly typical political belief which practically every 16-year-old Canadian shares (and most other age groups too). As @13 said, pride in our health care system is a fundamental part of our national cultural identity.
Posted by zender on July 30, 2012 at 3:12 PM · Report this
@43 even if he does not directly employ the bodyguard, he could demand/reequire his subcontractors to offer the benefits and wages he deems right and just. especially now that he is at the top of his game. but, i'm betting he doesn't. i do cut him some slack (he's only 16) but let's not quote him on national health policy either. even if on this one issue he's right. even a blind pig finds an acorn once in a while.
Posted by Cassette tape fan on July 31, 2012 at 8:34 AM · Report this
*blink blink* Words of sense from Justin Beiber. Clearly, it's time to start drinking already. He's got a very good point. And when even a fluff headed teen idol can see it clearly, it reeeeaaalllyy does make you wonder about Washington. *blink*
Posted by ZT Goddess on July 31, 2012 at 11:44 AM · Report this

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