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American Healthcare or Lack Thereof

Our United States of America is accustomed to being number one, however now the only thing we are number one at is the number of times we say it. Shoot, that is not quite true! We are number one in what we pay for healthcare.

Americans constantly tout being number one and say, look at how much better we have it than Canada. In 2917, Canadian’s life expectancy was age 82 compared to the United States of age 79. In talking to hundreds of Canadians, I have never found one Canadian that would change their healthcare for that of Americans.

I did meet one American giving tours of the parliament building in Edmonton, Alberta. She and her husband had dual citizenship between Canada and the United States. I asked her, “What do you do if you get sick and are in the States and it is not an emergency?” She replied that they high-tailed it back to Canada as fast as they could. She also explained that she and her husband found the healthcare in Canada was far better than the care they receive in the United States.

One of the reasons Canada has better health care than the United States is that they have a universal single-payer system. Everyone is cared for regardless of their social status. That is not the case in our country. In America, the elderly are having much more difficult times in their search for healthcare. Indeed, we have Medicare; however, we no longer have many doctors who will accept Medicare.

I met a woman with Medicare a short while ago while waiting for a plane at DFW. She was on her way to Rhode Island to see her doctor. Her husband had recently received a job transfer to the DFW area. After calling for several days, she could not find a physician who would see her. This is not an unusual story. It is becoming more common by the day.

A short while ago I needed a minor biopsy done. My partner was trying to make an appointment for me. She called me rather exasperated saying she had contacted 49 offices and not one would see me. I then told her to say to the next office that I was a cash patient. I had my biopsy two days later. Such is healthcare in the United States of America. It is given to those with means and withheld from those without.

Physicians who were once the altruistic, humanitarians of our country are now employed by corporate bean counters who insist, they either produce or they are dismissed. The philanthropic benevolent physicians of the past are simply that. They are in the past. I do not even recall the last time I saw a physician sitting on a patient’s bed alongside his or her patient and having a heart to heart talk with them.

A short while ago a resident in the family practice told me, “We’ll never be able to practice medicine the way you old guys did doctor. We do not know how. We are taught how to order tests. We are not taught how to practice medicine.” What a sad commentary on a once noble profession.

American healthcare must change. It is responsible for over 60% of all bankruptcies in our country. We are on a downhill slide and more and more people are leaving our country to receive healthcare. No wonder! Healthcare is the third leading cause of death in the United States, only behind heart disease and cancer.

God bless America. Rick R Redalen, MD, Maverick Doctor.

Pick up a copy of my book “God’s Tiniest Angel and the Last Unicorn,” available on Amazon.

Dr. Rick is a retired American physician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist who has done mission work around the country and the world. He is now on a mission to improve healthcare in America. Visit or email him at

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