My work at EnvCan and some remarks about healthcare reform

So its been a good 2 months since I started at EnvCan doing software development but things have been slow to pick up. The reason why that link on my portfolio page probably won’t link to anything soon is because I still have not been doing all that much.
My role is a Core developer, and to understand what that means, you have to know that Environment Canada has several different teams:

  • Core team – the team I’m on. This team is responsible for developing the interfaces that all the components will use and as the closest layer to the database.
  • Component team – the team that is in charge of developing all the applications that communicate with the core interface. At EnvCan we have several components such as Decoder, Standardizer, SYNOP, QC, etc (but you won’t care for what those are).
  • NinJo team – My friend Stefan is on this team. They are in charge of the software that predicts the weather. =)
  • Architecture team – I am a secretary for this team. It is as the name implies, in charge of the architecture for everything.
  • Business team – They are not coders but rather they write out the rules and specs we are to follow.

There you have it. Each team has their own meetings, and I have been rather swamped with those lately (I had two just today). However it’s a nice and relaxed environment to work in. Everyone is friendly and helpful, and alot of the time I find myself getting distracted.

Here is one of our ‘productive’ meetings:

Our meetings about porings
Our meetings about porings

Here is what my ‘work’ consists of:

Sketches, drawings, etc
Sketches, drawings, etc

As you can see, very productive.

On the other subject of this post, I want to make a few remarks about Obama’s healthcare overhaul:

47 years ago, JFK made the same sort of proposal which later got passed as Medicare and Medicaid after his death. It was the biggest piece of healthcare legislation since FDR implemented Social Security in the 1930s. Obama seeks to have universal coverage, something that I find quite ambitious yet unlikely. The problem is the United states, unlike Europe or Canada, has had private insurers for healthcare for its existence.

It’s analogous to why they are still using the Imperial system for measurement – it’s simply too entrenched to get rid of. The reason why Canada switched is because we did it a while back. It’s a bit too late to do it now, though there is little choice – US federal budget projects huge increases of deficit due to Medicare/Medicaid either way. So I would say that because this issue was never passed in the 1930s, they dug themselves in a very big hole.

I have taken courses on Canada’s healthcare system – and while it is not perfect by any means, it is sufficient. I don’t have to have an employer sponser me as I would in the US to get coverage. Americans would recoil from the mention of ‘socialized’ medicine but if it didn’t work, then wouldn’t we have switched back? Not to mention our federal budgets are not nearly in deficit as the USA is. So before criticizing socialized healthcare, ask yourself ‘is it really much worse than having the least efficient healthcare system in the world?’.

Edit: I see why the argument against universal healthcare persists. It is a RIGHT to pursue and receive healthcare but it is not a RIGHT to pay for someone else’s healthcare (except when they’re poor and old apparently). The argument for auto insurance is different. Everyone has to have auto insurance because there’s a chance that you could cause damage to someone else or their vehicle and be liable for it. A chance that is not statistically insignificant. However, the chances of you causing damage to someone else or their property due to your health is rather insignificant. That’s why auto insurance is mandatory and the same argument cannot be extended to healthcare. They’re different playing fields.