In the debate that is heating up in the United States over universal health care - a proposal that has many Americans searching for extreme Canadian examples to use against the idea - it's important to consider two things. One, that there are good and bad situations with the current Canadian system. Two, that there are good and bad situations with the current American system.
Ask any Canadian and they will tell you that that they wouldn't trade Canadian-style universal health care for anything. But that doesn't mean there aren't issues. As with any aspect of public life, whether government funded or not, there will always be aspects that people don't like or that don't work out as well as we would hope and, in light of those issues, sometimes change is difficult to initiate.
For example, the main issue Canadians have with American-style health care is that the whole system is based on whether or not you can pay for the health care. Just as Americans have heard some horror stories about the Canadian system, the main thing that makes Canadians cringe at our way are the stories we hear about someone being turned away from treatment by an American hospital because they don't have insurance.
Many Canadians feel that is simply unacceptable. Everyone deserves to be treated, and that treatment should be the same whether you're a multi-millionaire or a single mother struggling to make it in the Bronx. Your financial status should not determine whether or not you receive health care, and if you do receive health care, should not determine the quality of that health care.
Another issue Canadians see is the monstrous medical bills that come from just going to see a family doctor, which in many cases prevent people from seeking timely medical attention. Treating certain conditions early means that they won't turn into potentially more serious - and more expensive -situations down the road. Just the cost of having a baby can be over $10,000 and that's just for a normal delivery. Never mind if your baby is born prematurely and requires hospital care for months. Those Americans with good health care plans are fine, but what about those who don't.