Writer, Church leader, Eccentric Nut, Marketer

I'm Church Leader, Writer, Speaker, Marketer, Kindness Project Founder, Broadcaster and Superhero. But most important I'm a Husband, Father and a worshiper of Jesus.

22 March 2010

Why are Americhristians so angry at public healthcare?

So I was chatting with my American friend about Barack Obama's health care reforms:

Dave: OK... I'm a hoser... I get it... but what in the world are people so afraid of with the health care thing. I find it stunning that it's a Christian (or anyone) uprising.

American: Communism bro!!! They think it's communism...

Dave: It's a stunning mindset to me. Of course I've never been in it.

American: I know man. It's all fear.

Dave: I had to pay my first ever bill for 45$ for an ambulance ride up north this past summer. That's the extent of my out of pocket bills in my life.

American: Wow. Amazing.

In 2004... in a very widespread national campaign, the father of public health care in Canada Tommy Douglas was voted as the Greatest Ever Canadian. Tommy was from the far left of the political spectrum. But what happened during the summer of 1962 in Saskatchewan via the visionary forging of this former Baptist Minister changed our nation's destiny.

By 1966... men from 3 extremely diverse political schools of thought and interest (including 2 Prime Ministers... Diefenbaker and Pearson) worked hard to make it national; because it would help people.

Even today, 50 years later, there is NOT an argument in Canada whether or not there SHOULD be public health care for all. There is a minor debate whether there should be SOME private clinics... but the God card is not played by Christians. I'd say, "good for us" but I can't for the life of me think of a reason why it ever would be!

The Canadian system is not perfect and too many complain. But that's just a human thing. We whine at the slightest bit of discomfort. But when a Canadian catches another Canadian whining about wait times... you'll often hear the Canadian compadre say something like, "Hey, at least we have public heath care. We should be thankful. At least we're not in America". Knowing nods are exchanged, we see our doctor... and we get to stay in our homes. Hopefully the "at least we're not in America" changes now.

I'm truly thankful for what we have in Canada. And personally... I'm happy for The United States of America today. Good work Mr. Obama. Hopefully more people with be allowed to be healthy because of it.


Anonymous said...

Good to point out the father of healthcare was a Baptist Preacher. Would like to hear the reaction of the religious right to that fact

Sarah@EmergingMummy said...

I read this earlier tonight and had a smile. (First of all, Tommy Douglas. What's NOT to love about Tommy Douglas? Brilliant.) And secondly, I hear ya. I spent 8 years in the States and I"m married to a Yank and we still can't figure out it out. My bigger problem is the lack of civility in the debate. I am absolutely astounded by the tone - anger, fear, ridicule. It's incredible. I could never imagine Canadians acting like that/this. I'm glad you wrote this and glad that MPT picked it up. More people need to hear our perspective.

Sarah@EmergingMummy said...

And P.S. You're a big ol' commie. Clearly.

Dave Carrol said...

I guess my thought are... that we just really just don't understand the fuss at all.

Right or wrong aside... it's absolutely striking the difference in mindset. I'm a Conservative here, but I'm American Commie... ha.

I DO think it's a healthy perspective for Americans to hear that our hospitals and health care is not oppressive... does not leave people bleeding to death in the waiting rooms... nor do we hate in and envy the American system. There are some... but it's few.

I've been called a liar about that tonight but that's OK. I love that we're ALL settled on it as a good. And if even one day there were some private clinics to open up... it wouldn't be at the expense of health care for all.

And yes we're taxed for it... and we're good with it. Even the right of the right are. Looks good on us i think.

www.kathypride.com said...

Thanks for writing this, and yes, thanks to MPT for picking it up, where I read it.

My husband and I are both health care professionals and applaud this bill. Many of his fellow physicians are not happy. Of course anytime anyone is asked to make a personal sacrifice it gets neck hairs on edge.

The hostility in the "debate" grieves me. Jesus must be in tears. He went to heal the sick, and look at the early church in Acts...they sold everything and helped those who had not...does that mean the early Christians were communists?

I also read a post by jeff goins that I really liked, his focus being on the care provided to the sick and infirm by the early church.

I venture to say the same people that are complaining about paying higher taxes so 32 additional million people can have access to care is the same person who wouldn't contribute to a collection to pay for emergent care for someone who wasn't cut out of the same mold as they were. Just a hunch.

I have lots more opinions, and was also so, so happy to read the father of Canadian health care was a Baptist Minister. I think he got it right.

Bill said...

This is an oh-so-smug and incredibly narrow-minded post. Talk about ego-centric! Wow. You people take the prize for being some of the most haughty I've ever encountered.

The reason why you don't get the issues in America is because you're not American. Your argument is based on the incredibly faulty premise that your way must be the best way because, well, it's your way. It's what you know. It's what you grew up with. It certainly has to be the best way.

America's Constitution does not allow for the kind of universal health care that passed the House Sunday, which is why so many states (and private individuals) have already filed lawsuits against its constitutionality.

Here in America we have something called freedom. Perhaps you Canadians have heard of it. No? Well, let me explain it to you.

Let's start with our Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Now, our Constitution: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America."

We in America fought for our freedom and liberty from a tyrannical government -- from the very kind of government we now have entrenched in Washington, the kind of government that spits on the Constitution, squashes individual liberty, and laughs at freedom.

I'm so glad Canadians have it all together, are content with their socialistic lives, and can obviously sit back and laugh at those in other countries. I applaud your cojones.

If you want to understand why the vast majority of Americans oppose Obama's healthcare, and why we will fight to our last breath its imposition in our lives, I strongly encourage you to study our country's founding documents, read The Federalist Papers, spend time around T.E.A. Party people, Independents, and Conservatives, and listen. Actually listen. Not laugh at. Not make fun of. Not look down your haughty noses at.

America is not Canada. You folks are free to live as you see fit. It's your life. You can have taxes as high as you want, as much government control as you wish.

But we in America do not share your politics. And I, for one, resent the heck out of your smugness and condescension.

So, if you truly want to understand the "fuss," I suggest you step outside of yourselves and look at bigger issues. What we in American believe is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty -- two concepts we have fought and died for since the inception of our nation.

Adam Shields said...

I am sorry. I am an American and Bill does not represent my views. Good post.

Anonymous said...

Dave great post! As another "smug" Canadian I applaud your courage to write this post, knowing the comments that would come from it - like Bill's. BTW Bill, we are very aware of your historic fight for Freedom, but perhaps if you looked around outside of your country presently, you would notice that Canadians can travel and are embraced almost everywhere in the world, while Americans internationally are considered the proud (or "smug") ones. Ironic? I think so!

Justin said...

Sorry, Bill, I am a proud American and I heartily disagree with you. I did not think any of the posts were smug except yours where you somehow think you know what a majority of America is thinking.

My views are mostly conservative, and not this false Republican or Tea Party conservative but real style conservative. The kind of conservative where you do not go to war unless you have to or increase government size. But I do believe America's Health Care system has become a joke. I have dropped the health care insurance that my employer carries about a year ago because it basically covered nothing. My daughter broke her clavicle in an accident while dog walking. I had to pay 100% of the cost of the doctor visit despite the fact they really did nothing for her but X-ray, tell her it was broken, and charge and outrageous amount of money for a sling. I am sorry to say the health care providers are taking advantage of the lack of regulation on them like so many business have been doing here in America. The medical industry has exploded into profit over helping people and we suffer. Our federal government's soul purpose is to protect us, not just from without but from within as well and they have failed. Time to try something else.

And by no means do I think this bill will be a cure all. But at least we can say we are trying.

Kat said...

Yes, we are Americans, and we demand the right to die sick and impoverished!

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

I am a Christian American...and we just don't need or want any more Govt control.
If they had opened up state lines to create competition between the insurance companies...things would be better. But instead of trying that...they overhaul our whole system. The govt doesn't care about the people...they just want more power. They shoved a whole lot of extra stuff in that bill that has nothing to do with healthcare!
No one should have the ability to force us to take care of anyone else. As Christians, my husband and I give to those in need....we choose to do that. Medicare and Medicaid are programs run by the govt and are NOT working.
We are a country based on freedom. If you are happy with your system in Canada...that's good...but we are used to being FREE.
yes....something needs to get better with our healthcare/insurance companies...but not this ridiculous overhaul from our over-spending/debt ridden govt.

Chad said...

Justin, I have to take exception with your assertion that, "I am sorry to say the health care providers are taking advantage of the lack of regulation on them like so many business have been doing here in America."

My wife is a doctor. She walked out of medschool with nearly $100,000 in debt. Then she went to residency. Then she went into residency where they work their butts off and barely get paid.

Also included in that expensive sling is malpractice insurance, paying for the hospital visits or people who didn't pay, etc.

We certainly need reform, my wife would be the first to tell you that but I think to cast all health care providers as people just looking to take advantage of the system is mistaken.

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

....And I didn't write my comment in meanness or rudely. I am just sharing my opinion. Bill, who commented above, is just frustrated like many of us who feel as though our Govt isn't listening to us. The majority of Americans (according to polls) do NOT want this bill to go through and yet...the govt pushed it through anyway...by offering (bribing) those congressmen that were going to vote "no".

Dave Carrol said...

I suppose I don't equate this with Freedom. Honestly... do you put more "faith" in the sanctity of the Insurance Company?

Canada's system isn't perfect... but the opposite of freedom is oppression... and the last thing it is is oppressive.

Their are principles for the collective (See Acts 2) and the individual (Luke 10 Good Samaritan) helping people who are sick. AND laying hand on them and healing them while you're at it.

The Good Samaritan one is wild too. Because it was someone who SHOULD NOT have be helped by the one who helped him.

36"What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?" 37"The one who treated him kindly," the religion scholar responded. Jesus said, "Go and do the same."

The answer is... sick? Yep... help. Believe it or not... I'm a Conservative. I'm not pro-big government either and I'm actually OK with some private clinics opening up in Canada for those who want to spend the extra for expedience. But it's a valuable thing that is to the credit of the administrators of the national purse to make the decision to take care of those who are sick and even at the expense of those who may not know that individual.

My motive for the writing of this wasn't being critical... it's just some perspective that seems to be missing in this area.

Erin said...

Sadly enough, Bill is the sort of American that makes me hesitant to identify myself as one. Lovely post, thanks!

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

No, I understand your thoughts...however, you forget that the Good Samaritan *chose* to help. We choose to help others all the time..and just as people have helped us when we need it. But the bigger the govt gets...the more power it has....the more it takes away.
It's not that I am a fan of the insurance companies....but I think we could have done some things to make it easier for people to obtain good insurance...such as opening state lines to create competition, as I stated before.
It's not that we have a lack of compassion....if you knew me...you would know my level of love and compassion for others....it is just that as the govt gains power....it becomes a dictatorship. I am not sure if you have followed exactly what some of the leaders of our country are trying to turn our country into.

Also....if the harder people work...the more they are taxed to give to those who don't work...where is the incentive to work? I believe in giving people a hand UP not a hand OUT. :)

this is a really great site that shares conservative views on what is going on and why we aren't liking this healthcare overhaul: http://www.americanthinker.com/


Julia said...

Found my way here from MPT, and I must say...thanks so much for putting your opinion out there. I'm an American from an ultra-conservative southern state...so citizens like Bill are what I'm used to; (read: what i've been raised to believe).

While I certainly have my problems with the bill (show me one that's perfect in it's entirety), I'm quite pleased with it generally. I really do like hearing from people from other countries that find it's working for them...Americans so often get trapped in our little bubble of being "the greatest nation in the world."

That's actually what stuck out of Bill's comment to me...his accusation that "Your argument is based on the incredibly faulty premise that your way must be the best way because, well, it's your way. It's what you know. It's what you grew up with. It certainly has to be the best way." ---Because really...that's "The American Way" in a nutshell. We think we're better than everyone else because of our Capitalism and monetary successes (ignoring the recent financial crapstorm we've been suffering under due to our irresponsibility, of course. Let's not factor that into any of this.) We don't like change, especially when it involves giving of ourselves to others. We like to ignore the parts of the Gospel that make us uncomfortable, and instead focus on the rewards stored up for us in Heaven.

All that said...I love America (just have problems with some Americans). And the sooner people realize that The Constitution was crafted to be a living, breathing document open to change, the better.

Dave Carrol said...

It's just very interesting to me as it's not even a discussion in Canada.

Even those who cross boarder shop for health care still want public health care for all.

If a politician even HINTED at taking it away (Far left to right on the spectrum) they'd be out.

johndknox said...

Bill is seriously un-pumped about public health care. However, I will share in his concern, but not his reasoning for his concern.
First off, I am a 6th generation Canadian. My family came from Ireland in 1837 and I grew up on the same plot of land that my great great great Grandfather settled on 173 years ago and i LOVE Canada and socialized health care. So this being said, when I went to Bible school in the US for 3 years (2006-2009)i was steeped in the right-wing political ideal. Many of my friends were die-hard Republicans and it frustrated me. Especially when this talk of socialized health care came up. As a Canadian my view was like many who have commented here, "What's the big freakin' deal? I pay lots of taxes and I am no worse off than you! I actually think I am better off than you!" and no one could convince me otherwise.
Then I came home for a weekend and started to discuss this with my father who doesn't affiliate himself with any particular political ideal. He is very good at looking from the outside in and he gave me this insight and changed my mind about this whole issue. This is essentially what he said...
America can't afford socialized health care. Literally. The money isn't there. Obama printed himself a bunch of fake money to help out the banks, putting the country into a massive deficit and their budget is mostly focused on military spending and we, as Canadians, reap the benefits of that military spending. We don't need a massive military budget because the US is doing all of our fighting for us. This is not to say that our contributions in Afghanistan and other military campaigns haven't been significant, but the whole operation would not be possible without the military strength of the US.
So why doesn't the US just pull out of all of this military activity and start spending some money on health care? Because then there is no one defending the west! Whether that is a good thing or a bad thing... I don't know. But we need to step back and see how much the American military has done for us. Bill is right in a way when he says that America is not Canada or any other country with socialized health care it is America.
Maybe someday America will be ready for Social health care, but in this economic climate and with how active they are from a defense standpoint... I don't see this being beneficial.

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

This article details how many of us tea partiers, feel.


We live in the U.S. by this:
"A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned." - Thomas Jefferson, 1801

Marxxists believe this:
"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." - Karl Marx, 1875

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

johndknox...well written and stated! :)

no said...

I am British. Public healthcare in the UK is funded by National Insurance contributions, taken from salaries.

All are eligible for free emergency treatment and access to a GP and Dentist. However Dental appointments cost about £20 for a check up and more for treatments.

Medications are only free to a limited section of the population i.e. children, pensioners, unemployed and some other groups.

An NHS prescription costs about £7 per medication.

I am thankful for the NHS. It has its faults but it means basic healthcare is accessible by all, for all. It means it belongs to 'us'.

IMO no law or constitution boasting freedom should deny its people this simple privilege.

Dave Carrol said...

Great point johndknox/Dave.

And that's an internal political/budget thing that each country deals with.

It's the mindset/principle that so baffles me. As much as I laugh (and many others do too) about the Bill rant, I suspect most American citizens have heard it too.

The other reality is that Obama SAID he was going to do this. A HUGE majority of the nation democratically supported it... but seem to have a "well... we never figured you'd actually do it" attitude at this point.

But really... we will pay for what we value. And if it's a value, and it's been CHOSEN to be paid for now... over time it will become the norm.

Like Christian who gets saved at 30 and now has to figure out how to "budget" tithing. It's a pinch but you have to get your finances in line with your values.

Just a thought

I like these discussions

Justin said...

To reply to Chad...

I was referring to health care insurance providers not health care professionals. Believe me I understand educational debt and know a lot of individuals in the medical industry. At this time it has become quite common for individuals from across many professionals to relocate to the US after receiving education from their native land at a fraction of the cost our professionals pay state side. But the exorbitant cost of our education in this country is a separate issue and is no excuse for the exorbitant cost of health care for the common person.

Different battle, Chad, and one I encourage you to participate in rectifying.

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

It's not freedom to require someone to provide care for another. Whether it is requiring the dr or requiring other Americans to pay for it.

And....if someone goes to the Emergency Room in this country...they *do* get cared for.

This country isn't about being uncompassionate. We are the most giving country in the world.

It's the *force* we have a problem with as well as the *way* they are shoving this bill through that the majority of Americans do not like.

And yes...many of us are NOT happy that Obama got voted in. I didn't vote for him...however those that did thought he was going to be true to his word about being "transparent" and not making any "backroom deals" etc....but they did ALOT of shady things...that has a lot of people upset as well.

Anonymous said...

You know, people are right. If that single mother with two kids whose husband left her would get a third job, instead of being lazy and only working two, she'd be making enough money to get taxed enough that she'd EARN her healthcare that's too expensive in the first place. Of course, then she'd need more money for additional child care because she's working three jobs, but we don't want to give money for child care because that just degrades the good old ideal of the American family. So, she really needs to spend more time at home with her kids.

Or, she could not get a 3rd job, but instead go back to school so she could get a better job, because clearly, if you have a college degree you'll never have any problems finding a job that has great health care benefits, right?. If only there were some massively tax-funded federal program that gives people tax breaks and money for education... too bad we don't live in a socialist country that has something like that.

Then when she gets her great job that allows her to spend more time with kids and have great benefits, she can put a lot of money into her States' Rights Security fund so she can reap what she has earned? (What? It's called Social Security... like Socialism? Let's just ignore that and move on, shall we?)

Let's just tell everyone to work a little harder... because everyone who is going to be affected by this health care legislation clearly just isn't trying hard enough.

Katy~The Country Blossom said...

Hopefully that mother has a support system around her that can help her. Church, friends, family. If she doesn't...we already have the medicaid programs in place in order to care for her and her children.

You know...We are a one income family. I am a stay at home mama who homeschools. We don't have a lot of money...but my husband and I pay for our own insurance out of pocket. If we can afford a TV and the internet...I'm sure we can afford some type of insurance.

And again, I say, I don't believe the insurance companies to be right in the costs etc. However, opening up state lines, like I have said before, is a much better answer to this healthcare problem.

Bill said...

I see a lot of people doing exactly what my post asked them not to -- issuing opinions without studying the facts.

It doesn't really matter what my opinion is. It doesn't matter if you agree with me or not. What matters is our Constitution. Our governing document -- and our form of government -- simply don't allow what took place Sunday (and what has been taking place in Washington). What's happening is lawless. It is a flagrant disregard for law, for individual rights, for liberty.

I am not opposed to making our health care system better. I am opposed to the dishonest, illegal, unconstitutional, deceptive, corrupt manner in which this particular "reform" was obtained.

Universal health care is not constitutional as it's written in this health care bill. That's why 30 states are considering lawsuits to stop it, and why two state attorneys general already have filed suit.

What anyone thinks of universal health care is irrelevant here. America is not a socialist nation. It is a Republic. We have a Constitution. We have laws.

The major problem with Obama's health care bill is that (a) the vast majority of Americans do not want it, (b) it was rammed through in one of the most corrupt displays of legislation in generations, (c) it's unconstitutional, and (d) it will result in health care that is WORSE than what we now have -- at a much higher cost to everyone.

America teeters on the brink of financial ruin. We are more in debt than ever before. Much of our debt is owned by Communist China. We cannot afford what the House just passed. It has the potential to destroy America.

That's what I object to. I'm sick and friggin' tired of people mis-casting the argument to make it look like Americans are ignorant, selfish, greedy, and unconcerned about health care, the poor, or the needy. This argument is not about health care. This is far bigger. It speaks to our entire system of government and if we are a nation of laws, or a nation of men, if we are to live under the banner of Lex Rex, or Rex Lex.

Anonymous said...

There's a huge difference between something being UN-constitutional and it simply not being in the constitution. You're right in that health care is not explicitly in the constitution, but then again, neither is Social Security, Federal education loans, the interstate highway system, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the Air Force, or the way that each branch of the Federal Legislature regulates itself and makes its own rules.

Are all of these things outside the scope of what the framers had intended when writing the Constitution? Probably... but then again, so was a black man walking around DC freely - much less being the President.

David said...

Not really sure what being "Christian" or not has to do with why so many "Christians" are against what is taking place. I endeavor to follow Christ. My issues with the bill that has been wrangled out by those "in power":

1) The cost. This thing is just an albatross. I just can't even comprehend how it will ever be paid for. It will be increasingly burdensome on the American public.

2) The electorate voice was marginalized at best. Reports vary but the consensus is that over half of Americans DO NOT LIKE the form of "reform" that this bill represents.

3) 2400 Pages. And they're not even finished yet.

4) This is indicative of a bigger problem I have with our current form of government as a whole: Back room deals and additional tax-payer funded projects promised.

Shawn Wilson said...

Bill said this:

"America teeters on the brink of financial ruin. We are more in debt than ever before."

While this is true, lets look at why it's true......MOST of the Federal budget goes to EMPIRE BUILDING!!! America has gotten to the point where it thinks that we need U.S. Troops in every country in the world!! For what reason?

Bill if you really want to follow the Constitution and the ideals of the Founders then PROTEST our nations EMPIRE BUILDING!! Bring our Troops home!! If we did this we could easily pay for this bill (not that I want this one or agree with how it was passed or even what's in it) and we would cut the deficit tremendously!!

People who cry "This is unconstitutional" easily support empire building, medicare, medicaid, illegal and unconstitutional wars......I could go on and on.

The deal is we should have healthcare reform. As a "Christian" nation maybe is should be supported by the government. Maybe if we as Americans put the Bible above the constitution instead of the other way around we would have a better understanding of how we should act as a nation.

Just my 2 cents.

Shawn Wilson
A Christian, living in America.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I'm also interested in your main question, which has to do with why Americans have reacted the way they have. Specifically, why do Americans and Canadians hold such vastly different views of the issue?

I am an American, but grew up in various regions around the world, including the United States, Western Europe, and several parts of Asia. I see the current American reaction against this health care bill as reflective of the country's history and also of the relationship of us citizens with the government.

From our inception, Americans have been steeped in a "healthy mistrust" (this may be up for debate) of government. We did not mimic the constitutional monarchy from which we came and purposefully set up a republican system of government (and by republican I, of course, am referring to a representational democracy) as a means of giving as much accountability and ownership to citizens as possible.

In theory, this is spectacular. But the practical implementation of this is impossible, which only further fosters a sense of governmental mistrust. If I compare the US with a country like the Netherlands (which requires healthcare coverage), I find that one member of the legislative branch represents roughly 74k people. By comparison, one member of the US legislative branch represents a whopping 574k people. Conclusion? We have a massive system of government with an even larger population to govern, and I think this incites the mindset of fear and panic that you're seeing in Americans' reactions.

Sorry for such a long comment. =]

Anonymous said...

British people (who live in a democracy/constitutional monarchy) pay a certain amount to provide healthcare for EACH other, not ANother.

Britain doesn't view the NHS as compassionate, it is just a service that everyone contributes towards.

Britain is also NOT a socialist nation. Please can those of you who view nations that have universal healthcare as socialist please reconsider your view.

Stephen said...

I am another Canadian who never understood how my American friends could be SOOOO against universal health care.

I understand I am biased; but I'm not ignorant. I heard what they were saying; but can't understand their zeal for different levels of health care.

My prediction: In 25 years most Americans will not be able to imagine reverting to the old way.
However, during the 25 years of growing into it and the expense involved, it will be really hard.

Stephen Kiers
Socialist, Commie & Pastor ;)

Kass said...

I thought the reason American Christians were up in arms about the issue was over federal funding being used for abortion.

Btw, I'm an American Christian. I'll get used to it. I betcha Canadians aren't individually going bankrupt over healthcare costs.

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