In general, Americans are a self-satisfied lot when they compare the strengths, institutions and accomplishments of their native land to those of other countries -- except when it comes to our healthcare system, and then Canada gets a higher rating, according to a recent poll by Harris Interactive.
When the surveyors asked 2,242 adults online to "please indicate which countries you feel very positive about the healthcare system," our neighbor to the north, which has universal coverage and drug prices that have drawn busloads of Americans on prescription-shopping trips across the border, received a "very positive" response from 49% of those U.S. residents surveyed.
In comparison, the U.S. healthcare system generated a very positive response from just 34% of those surveyed, while the number for Great Britain was 28% and Germany 16%.
The poll was taken between July 12 and July 16.
Respondents indicated they felt much more positive about other aspects of American life -- the Constitution and our system of government drew a 77% very positive rating, our quality of life in general 77%, the present government 54%, the economy 54%, and the environment 51% -- all higher numbers than those given for nine other nations, with Canada placing second in all other categories.
On a related issue, the Associated Press reported today that California lawmakers have approved bills that would create government-sponsored Web sites encouraging consumers to buy cheaper prescription drugs from Canada. The measures, which face almost certain vetoes by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, would make California one of just a few states to provide residents similar online information. Others include Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and Maine.