Tied to the mast
…but orange now and black

Lies make bad law

From K-OS (spotted via Reddit):

The current star of the Insurance Industry cabal is Shona Holmes, a whisky-voiced Toronto woman of ample aggregate and dubious honesty. See TV Spot HereAccording to Ms Holmes, she was diagnosed with a “brain tumor” sometime in 2005. In scores of interviews, she consistently claimed she could not receive timely treatment in Toronto and was forced to seek medical care at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Shona is a wannabe-be poster child for the Worldwide failings of government run Healthcare. She spins a shocking yarn, one that would make Socialists everywhere bow their Public Option heads in shame – if only her story was true.

…Quoting the [Mayo] Clinic:

“Dr. Naresh Patel, neurosurgeon, diagnosed Holmes as having a Rathke’s cleft cyst (RCC). The rare, fluid-filled sac grows near the pituitary gland at the base of the brain and eventually can cause hormone and vision problems. Dr. Patel joined forces with Drs. David W. Dodick, neurologist, and Michael D. Whitaker, endocrinologist, to work on Holmes’ case.”

Yes it’s upsetting to have something growing at the base of one’s brain, but there’s  no mention of it being in any way life threatening.

the direness in the retelling of Ms Holmes’ story grew progressively more horrifying after the Presidential election and as the Healthcare battle began to percolate.

…Here is a modest sampling of the plethora of Right Wing reportage on our Ms Holmes:

Sept 7, 2007

“In spite of these symptoms – and an MRI scan revealing the tumour causing them – Ontario’s health system told Shona that she would have to wait four months to see a neurologist and six months to see an endocrinologist.”

July 15, 2008

“Shona found out that the free health care she was promised came with life threatening strings. She was told that she could not see a specialist for at least six months…six months which, according to the Mayo Doctors, she didn’t have the luxury of waiting for.”

The tumor claim was no misquote, for on every occasion, Holmes didn’t hesitate to confirm this bogus diagnosis.

A tumor and a cyst aren’t quite the same thing. Not to belittle something happening in one’s brain… but either it’s immediately threatening or it’s not. So you can call the cyst a tumor, but that doesn’t make it any less of a lie when you say it’s life threatening.

July 19, 2008

“No one should be forced to travel thousands of miles to obtain accessible good care. Yet that is exactly what I was forced to do after being diagnosed with a brain tumor three years ago.”

By May of this year, Shona’s tall story was to take another turn for the worse – this time, courtesy of Fox News, and just in time for the shank of the Healthcare debate now raging on the Hill.

… Now, Shona was to get her 15 minutes of fame on Fox News, dutifully and dramatically retelling her story for the umpteenth time – but this time with a twist that only Fox News could conjure. As Shona is introduced to Fox viewers, the Chyron reads:

“Cancer Patient Says Canadian Health Care Nearly Killed Her.”

I would never claim that Canadian healthcare doesn’t have it’s problems. In a lot of areas it’s hard to find general practitioner (doable with skill at navigating bureaucracy, but that’s a rare skill); if you have a non-life threatening illness you can find yourself waiting for months (denials that there are serious wait times for lower priority cases are just as false as the claims absurdly exaggerated claims about the wait times made on the right); I have waited once for 8 hours in a Montreal emergency room, again with a non-super urgent ailment (my friend sprained her ankle fairly badly and thought she might have fractured it), etc. And a lot of the inefficiencies are exasperating from being visibly fixable with better management.

BUT, you really do have to make things up for the Canadian system (public universal + private option, with cheap prescription drugs) to look more horrifying than the American one (public for old and very poor people + private option with weird ass’d insurance provisions, and with expensive as hell prescription drugs across the board).

The best detail in the K-OS piece:

“Her (Holmes) treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona cost $100,000, and she and her husband put a second mortgage on their home and borrowed from family and friends to pay for it.”

This is speculation, but who wants to bet that shilling for the insurance lobby might help her pay off that bill.

Incidentally, Shona claims in the video that you can’t get a second opinion in Canada. That’s nonsense. I’ve requested second opinions several times, and was always able to get one.

But fine America, pay twice as much per capita in taxes for your shit system if you want to. It’s a /free/ country.

UPDATE: I realized that this post was written pretty harshly. I stand by it, but to offer some context, hormone and vision problems suck (especially if they effect someone’s day to day functioning), but Shona had the option of (a)  tolerating those symptoms while she waited the 6 months to have them addressed for free, or (b) shelling out $100,000 for an immediate surgery. She went with the latter, but I’m not sure that I would. IN the current, American system, your options are to fork out that $100k, or get nothing. That’s not a choice.


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