Congratulations America — The Affordable Care Act is the Law of the Land

An Open Letter to My Neighbo(u)rs

Dear America,

Congratulations that “the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land.” Improve and modify rather than repeal and replace should be the way forward.

My twins were born pre-mature. They spent 7 months in the hospital before we brought them home. Guess what our hospital bill was? Zero. Nada. Zippo. Zilch. Meanwhile, I took the 9 months parental leave. That’s right 9 months parental leave so I could help care for our babies. Did I mention I’m Canadian?

When I studied in the US, when my son who is a US citizen and is also severely disabled was first denied coverage (but pressured by my school to accept him), then in our first semester with insurance we racked up a $10,000 bill just getting him set up with the various specialists that he needed. It was sometime before he received Medicaid.

For More about My Son See: Where the Sidewalks End

Everyone agrees that the insurance system in the US is broken but other countries like my own have working (though of course not perfect models) to imitate and improve upon. Despite the insurance problems, the healthcare my son received while living in the USA was phenomenal and some very expensive procedures were covered by charitable organizations like the Shriners.

Nevertheless, don’t believe the lies that many Republicans tell you about Canadian healthcare. I know of no one who has travelled to the US out of necessity. Of course there are wait times as there are in the US. Before our twins were born, we were told that my wife might have to be flown to Seattle due to the lack of beds in the NICU at the time. Yet, guess who wasn’t going to pay for it — our single income family. I know of another man who petitioned to be treated with an experimental procedure in the Netherlands. He made his case and was granted permission — guess who paid for it — hint: not him.

In Canada, I choose my doctors and they are never “out of network”. If someone needs something that is only available in another country, then guess who pays for it — the government. Yes, I know that means that we the taxpayers are ultimately paying for it but that’s because we care about one another. Nevertheless, I have never paid as much in taxes as families in the US pay for the most basic health insurance.

If you want to unite Americans, then unite by caring for one another by paying for one another’s healthcare.
That’s my two Canadian cents. They may be worth less but they are not worthless.

Further Reading: Washington Post

Bug Day at the Children’s Museum

Drawn by the promise of BUGS, my family and I enjoyed our first trip to London’s Children Museum. It was not my first trip. I was a child when they transformed the school on Wharncliffe into the Children’s Museum. Living in the neighbourhood, I recall a few field trips with Empress Public School to the Museum. We may even have walked to it from the school. On one of these field trips, we went to listen to Dennis Lee who read from his book of poem’s for children Alligator Pie.img_0397

Alligator Pie, Alligator Pie,

If I don’t get some,

I think I’m gonna die. . .

When I saw that the museum was having a “Bug Day” and the admission was free, we just had to go. Continue reading “Bug Day at the Children’s Museum”

Returning Home

In late August 1995, I got on a plane and left my hometown of London, ON aka The Forest City. I set out to complete a three year MDiv at Regent College in Vancouver and then return home. That three years stretched into 21 years. My years at Regent College both as a student and as a staff member were transformative. In a very real sense, that little theological graduate school became my home.

I got on the airplane a naive but inquisitive young man with a fresh BA from UWO in hand. I return to London a little more knowledgeable from lessons during the completion of my two Masters degrees in Biblical Studies and Theology from Regent College and Baylor University (Waco, TX), respectively. I hope I am a little wiser from those degrees and from my relationships with faculty, staff, and friends from both institutions and both cities.

Yet, the most important development and the real crucible of change has been my growing family. I met Vanessa in 2003. We married in 2004 and before our first anniversary we were the proud parents of premature identical twins boys, Christopher and Corban (see my blog Where the Sidewalks End). Less than two year later, Caleb joined us — on his due date.

Our family does not entirely consist of human members. Vanessa brought with her Boci (Hungarian for cow and a brand of chocolate) an English Spring Spaniel who passed away peacefully in our home last November. In anticipation of his death, we rescued Toffee who is a German Shepherd mix. Then a few months later we found Rolo — who knows what he is. He had been abandoned in a park and he found us on Caleb’s seventh birthday while we were playing Frisbee Golf. We also have two bunnies Ginger and Bluebell (the icecream brand).

As I sit on my new front porch and think of the conservation area that our house backs onto, I am eager to reacquaint myself with the Forest City and to discover aspects of London that I missed when I was a child and as a young adult.

I look forward to renewing old friendships and developing new ones.