What is your least favorite industry to deal with?
I also have first-hand knowledge of both Canadian and US systems, and I am much, much happier with the US system. Of all my relatives living in Canada, the only ones who haven't been screwed or put on a long waiting list are the ones who haven't been really sick.
Ever since moving to the US, I've had great health care. I have great health insurance, and aside from the occasional hassle with having to re-submit a claim, I've had no problems with the system. I get treatment quickly, and I get to choose my own doctor. My primary care facility has electronic medical records, and is very organized and efficient.
The US system isn't perfect: it's expensive, and it's tough if you don't have good coverage through your job. There's always the worry of what to do if you lose your job. That said, I still prefer it strongly.
Health care reform is actually really two largely separate issues:
1) How do we keep the per-person cost of healthcare under control (e.g., improved efficiency, rationing...)?
2) What do we do about the large number of uninsured people?
Current health care reform efforts in Congress have largely failed to solve (1) through efficiency gains, and are focusing more (2) by expanding coverage. What this means (as the CBO has said) is that total health care costs will rise even faster, as the number of covered people goes up.
We need to make healthcare more efficient before we expand it. If we don't, we'll either end up with massive rationing, or with healthcare consuming an even larger (and faster-growing) chunk of our GDP.
Acorns Disappear Across the Country
The AC is right. In grad school, my wife studied population genetics of coast live oak (quercus agrifolia), and she saw the same boom-and-bust cycles of acorn production. The boom years are known as "mast" years--not sure what the bust years are called.
This is just a normal cycle, and, as usual, the media's reporting of science is atrocious.