Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Health Care Debate and Tommy Douglas, Greatest Canadian of All Time

Few Americans may realize that a Baptist minister is recognized by Canadians as the "Greatest Canadian of All Time." Tommy Douglas, who died in 1986, is one of history's most influential Baptists that few outside of Canada know. And here in the summer of 2009, Douglas' legacy is extremely relevant to the biggest issue facing Americans: health care.

Tommy Douglas, you see, was the man who brought about Canada's universal public health care system, a health care system which Canadians for several generations now have chosen to pay extra taxes to operate and maintain, and a health care system which 91% of Canadians today view as superior to America's health care system. Furthermore, Douglas set Canada on the road to universal health care during the Great Depression, while here in America today President Obama is seeking to do the very same thing during the current Great Recession.

Douglas, a minister turned politician, first became personally aware of the moral imperative of health care when as a child he almost lost his leg to a disease because his family could not pay for treatment; only by the good graces of a doctor, who offered his medical services for free, was Douglas' leg saved. Influenced by the Christian principles of the Social Gospel while in college, Douglas pastored for several years before entering politics during the Depression in 1935, becoming the Premier of Saskatchewan in 1944. He remained a leading politician in Canada for many years, consistently advocating for universal health care and basic human rights. Under his leadership, the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights was enacted. And while securing public health care for all citizens, Douglas paid off government debt and created a surplus.

Although today most Americans want a public health care option, we as a nation are slow to the table in responding to the moral imperative of basic universal public health care (although a number of presidents, beginning with Teddy Roosevelt, have personally supported public health care). If Americans in 2009 do manage to place human life above the greed-driven free market health insurance industry by enacting a public health care option, we have Tommy Douglas to thank, one of the greatest Baptists of the past century.

11 comments:

Logan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Logan said...

As a young, baptist Canadian from Saskatchewan, I am extremely refreshed to hear this perspective from a concerned Baptist American. I don't know how so many Christians seem to equate freedom with capitalism and any social justice as being some sort of communist plot. Thank you for making this piece of our nations, and our denomination's history known in a time that it needs to be known!

james said...

Sadly, most Americans have never heard of Tommy Douglas. All they know is the propaganda fueled by the far right that Canadians are put on waiting lists just to see the family doctor. Very sad to think that folks don't want to help their neighbors out by giving everyone a chance to see a doctor without going broke. Selfish and greedy, and frankly unpatriotic.

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A good health insurance plan should cover hospitalization and doctor visits, emergency services, diagnostic tests, and prescription drugs.

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Today, insurance agents can help you informed about the latest health insurance plans available in the market. Always remember that the decision is yours to make so it's better that you choose the best insurance policies based on their suggestions.

Chris said...

Quality health care is one thing that the government should provide its people. All should also have equal opportunity in getting health services regardless of financial situation.

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Karl said...

He's really great at what he does. There are things to consider in health care. That's why it's a good idea to have that debate.

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Sam said...

Such a debate is important so they can exchange ideas and opinions for them to know the best thing to do.

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amanda sparks said...

He remained a leading politician in Canada for many years, consistently advocating for universal health care and basic human rights. Under his leadership, the Saskatchewan Bill of Rights was enacted.
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