- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Canadian warning

Canadian Shona Holmes is up to her eyeballs in debt after having to flee her country’s supposedly “free” public health system to seek life-saving medical treatment in the United States.

After being diagnosed with a brain tumor, the Ontario woman was told she would have to wait five months or more to see a specialist in order to schedule surgery, which would come months after seeing the specialist. Her condition quickly began to deteriorate, causing her to lose her vision and forcing her to consider treatment outside Canada’s health care program despite being told “nightmare stories about American health care.”

She got the treatment she needed in the U.S., but racked up more than $100,000 in out-of-pocket health care expenses. One of the reasons, she says, is because provincial law bars their citizens from purchasing health insurance.

“I owe money to everyone I know,” she lamented, citing the second mortgage she had to take out on her house and her husband who is now working two jobs to repay debts to their family and friends.

She has filed a constitutional challenge to her province because it prohibits the sale of private health care or insurance, yet put her life in danger by being unable to provide care in a timely manner. “I’m not the type to be unprepared,” she said. “I would have bought insurance if I could have.”

“Most people say I must have had the financial resources to get this treatment, but I just had no other options, I had to get it,” she told Hot Button over coffee in downtown Washington.

She was in town to testify to Congress about her struggle with public health care. Mrs. Holmes said she had an obligation to warn Americans about the perils of a public health care system, in light of the push from President Obama to implement such a program. She’s agreed to appear in advertisements for Patients United Now, a campaign that opposes Mr. Obama’s plan.

“My agenda, if I have one, is to tell them be careful what you wish for,” she said.

Today, Mrs. Holmes is still waiting to have follow-up surgery on one of her eyes in Canada and doesn’t know how long it will be. She would like to go back to the U.S. for treatment, but she’s out of money.

“If I had the finances, I’d have it done in a second,” she said.

Saberi to tell all

Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi is writing a tell-all book about what it was like to be accused, convicted in a closed-door 15-minute sham trial and jailed for four months in Iran on trumped-up espionage charges.

Ms. Saberi was given an eight-year sentence, but international outcry over her jailing convinced an Iranian appeals court to release her in May. The journalist had been working in Iran since 2003 and her publisher, HarperCollins, says it will reveal a “penetrating look at Iranian society and culture.”

The book announcement comes amid large, violent protests in Iran over the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

HarperCollins Vice President Jonathan Burnham said: “Her narrative is both a deeply moving human document, and the fascinating account of an innocent civilian caught up in a Kafkaesque world of shadows, threats and lies. At a time when Iran dominates the news, her book could not be more timely and significant.”

PETA’s puppy killer

After hearing that 24-year-old Lydia Guevara would appear in ads for an animal rights group as an homage to her grandfather, Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara, author Humberto Fontova recalled that the murderous communist was not only willing to execute humans, but puppies as well.

Mr. Fontava reprinted a section of Guevara’s diary for his latest Human Events column, mocking the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals for memorializing Guevara. PETA recently blasted President Obama for swatting a fly during a television interview, an action that hardly compares to Guevara’s actions.

In the diary Mr. Fontava highlighted, Guevara discussed the proper way to end a dog’s life.

“Kill the dog, Felix, but don’t shoot him — strangle him,” Guevara wrote. What follows is a graphic account of a puppy whose tail “had been wagging happily” and “turned convulsive” as it died.

Mr. Fontava is the author of “Fidel: Hollywood’s Favorite Tyrant.”

Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washington times.com

• Amanda Carpenter can be reached at acarpenter@washingtontimes.com.

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