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Canadian Healthcare questions

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posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 11:43 AM
Hey fellow Canadian neighbors. I have a few questions about your healthcare system. My wife and I are split on the election coming up. Shes a republican and I am a Democrate. Anyway, John Kerry's health plan is the closest thing we here in the USA might ever see to a state run healthcare system such as your own. My wife and I were discussing the implications of it last night, and she was saying that the Canadian healthcare, while good, has some serious flaws in it. Namely, that since it was State run, there were numerous accounts of people not being treated for things because the money wasnt there.

I would appreciate any info my fellow ATSr's from Canada could give me on this. I have read some things on the net, and it sounds like a good and stable system. But I would like to hear some personal views from you guys. What do you think about you healthcare system? Thanks

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 11:57 AM

Since my husband's friends are all surgeon's in the USA, they told us that if he was here, he would be operated on within a week from finding out.

In Canada, my dad may have to wait 8 months because of waiting lists...

So now he has applied to his doc to come over here and get surgery on his back before it's too late. See, the nerve's may not come back and he may have drop foot the rest of his life if it keep rubbing against his spine.

Because he's waited too long already as it is (3 months) they are getting bigger.

Socialized medicine is good for quick fixes like a stab wound, flu, fever, fractures ect...

But when it comes things like this, it's really bad...

Another story:

We were talking to some guy up north who had heart problems... He was a 5 min boat ride from having a severe heart attack... They had him on a waiting list for a year, and kept sending him home with nitro glycerin pills to keep his heart going...

He felt everytime he left the hospital they were just sending him home to die.

And alot of times thats what happens...

He finally got it done, but the point is it should of been taken care of ASAP.

ps: The Canadian Government has a big problem with allowing docs buying their own equipement... If that happens, then people will go to them, not the government, the government will lose money and the doc will gain more...

Politics and Medicine should never be mixed... People's lives are at stake, and the government just doesn't care.

[edit on 14-10-2004 by TrueLies]

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 01:41 PM

Thank you for the insight. It does sound like a conflivt of intrest is at work there. One question though. What about the millions of people who are covered there, but couldnt afford health care if they wernt? Is free crappy health care for all better than good health care for those who can afford it?

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 01:50 PM

Originally posted by TrueLies
ps: The Canadian Government has a big problem with allowing docs buying their own equipement... If that happens, then people will go to them, not the government, the government will lose money and the doc will gain more...
[edit on 14-10-2004 by TrueLies]

TL, I just don't understand the distain you have for the country of your birth. That statement you made there is not inaccurate, it's false.

The fact is that our health care system is not what it used to be, but it's still damn good. I haven't had any problems getting ANY treatment needed for myself and my family. My Grandmother sees specialists on a regular basis for many ailment. This in one of the poorest provinces in the country.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 02:42 PM

Could you tell me about some of your personal experiences?

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:06 PM
Well, I have two points of view.

First off - for the past five years I've had two insurances. I have my basic government health insurance (Qubec, then Ontario) for which I pay on my income tax. It enables me to get care when I need it. Guidelines have been set up to keep people from exaggerating - for example, in Ontario you have a limit of one physical per year - but when you need follow-up exams (like I do for my recurring myalgia and my depression medication) you can get them without a problem, and without paying.

Above that, the place where I worked (until very recently, actually - lost my job two weeks ago, after five years) bought into a group insurance, which got me covered for my medication, my dentistry care and my psychologist care. It even covers new glasses every two years. So that's a system I like - I have basic health insurance for my family doctor and any emergency care I need, and I have the option to buy into a group insurance at my office for the rest.

However, it doesn't go to say that the system is perfect. It does need to be fixed. For example, my dad (who is 74 years old) needed to have an operation to repair the mitral valve in his heart. He was put on a waiting list in November, since his case was considered non-urgent. However, in February he had serious health problems, spent two nights having trouble breathing, and when he was hospitalized they decided they couldn't delay the operation anymore, so 48 hours later, it was done and he was on his way to recovery. I just don't like the fact that he had to wait that long while his health deteriorated...

Other example of what needs to be fixed - a friend of mine's wife is pregnant. In July, she had a suspicious bleeding episode, so they decided to go to the hospital. They waited for 9 hours...

As I said, the system has its strong points - free care, no hospital bills. But it also has its shortcomings - much longer waiting times.

But in the end, if I were asked to choose between the Canadian and the American system, I'd still choose the Canadian one. I'd say "fix it, don't ditch it."

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:09 PM
Kidfinger, TL is exaggerating a bit.

For one, while we do have waiting lists, the quality of the healthcare isn't 'subpar'. The issue is that we don't have enough doctors, because they head south to make more money in private practice.

Two, our healthcare is free. While there are wait times for surgery, it won't cost you an arm and a leg. Seems kind of important, that.

Here's my story: I went down to the doctor's office because I have a problem. I sat for an hour and watched three family practicioners clear out a waitning room of twenty people in an hour and a half. He then saw and diagnosed me (my rotator cup is FUBARed in my left shoulder, apparently. I can't even lift the damn thing without a partial dislocation. Not painful, but irritating.) in about fifteen minutes, told em to come back for my X-rays. All free. I just walked in, talked to him, showed him my shoulder, and walked out with an X-ray requisition form and a refferal to a specialist. IN the states, that probably would have cost me 150-200$


posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:16 PM
So, correct me if I am wrong with this statement. The good parts of your healthcare system more than outway any negative aspects of it. This is what Im gathering from your responses. I like how you guys have the state run health care, but also have the option of a private provider to cover the rest as well.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:25 PM
Do not confuse this as "free" health care. Factor the taxes in and, trust me, it isn't free. You have to weigh that into the equation.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:31 PM
Re what intrepid said, we do have higher taxes. Living in Ontario, I pay approximately 17 percent at the federal level, about about 12 percent at the provincial level.

But yes, I would say that my attitude would be "it's not perfect, so fix it, but don't ditch it - it has its benefits"

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:34 PM
We pay about 30-35% of our total pay to taxes here, so something veeds to be done here about that before we can fund health care. Repealing the wealthy tax breaks could be a starter.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 03:43 PM
my opinion is similar to Otts'

I've got my government health insurance, which has already been explained.

On top of that, I'm native so my dental, prescriptions and eye care are covered, again by the government.

Also, my School has a Health Insurance program, but I opt out of it because I'm covered on all bases.

There are increased waiting times, depending on where you are, and the time of year (in the winter during flu season, wait time can be extremely long). In an emergency, though, it's excellent.

I had Peritonitis due to accute appendicitis a year and a half ago... I went to the ER, had my blood pressure, temperature, etc., taken within 5 minutes, saw a doctor within 30 minutes, had an ultrasound within a few hours. A few hours later I had a CT scan and was in the OR within an hour after that.
I can't complain about that!

For vaccinations I can just go to the Doctors office when the nurse is there and get a shot (allergies, flu shot, blood tests, booster shots, etc.) within 10 minutes.

I really can't complain.

As DeusEx said, though, due to a shortage of doctors, doctor's offices can be really crowded and can again result in increased wait times.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 05:36 PM
Two personal experiences?? not really, just two stories that happen to have been told to me.

Also let's not factor out the 3 old ladies sitting in the waiting room at the hospital complaining about the waiting times, and sharing stories of how they know people who have died on the operating tables.

Again, no exaggeration, although many of you would probably wish it were...

The canadian government isn't your blood relative, I don't know why you guys defend it tooth and nail... There are many imperfections and health care is one.

You can't socialize medicine and expect it to be better then American Health care.

The only reaosn why American health care is getting worse is because of the red tape, insurance companies, doctor's fees, ect this is all because of regulations...

The less regulation the more successful health care would be.

It's that simple.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 05:37 PM
Prominent liberal columnist Paul Krugman recently wrote that "considering its scope, [John] Kerry's health plan has received remarkably little attention." Krugman may not enjoy watching it get the attention it deserves: The Kerry health plan would undermine health coverage and reform more than any proposal since President Clinton's Health Security Act, and deserves as much scrutiny.

First off, Kerry would greatly expand eligibility for Medicaid, the government health program originally devised to provide coverage for the poor. This move would:

* Spend hundreds of billions of dollars to provide coverage to millions who already have it.

* Increase the cost of private insurance.

* And cause many to lose their current coverage involuntarily, leaving them with worse coverage or none at all.

According to Rand Health (the health-care division of Rand Corporation, the nonpartisan think tank), up to half of those who enroll in Medicaid under eligibility expansions already have private insurance but drop it -- or are dropped by their employer -- when they become eligible. Combined with estimates from former Clinton health official Ken Thorpe, this suggests that under the Kerry plan, taxpayers would spend $300 billion over 10 years to provide Medicaid coverage to as many as 18 million people who already have private coverage today.

Those who end up on Medicaid may find it a poor substitute: The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that women on Medicaid have twice as much difficulty finding a doctor who will see them as women with private insurance.

And draining 18 million paying, risk-spreading customers from private pools would make the coverage even more expensive -- which in turn would cause more workers to lose the coverage they now have.

Second, Kerry proposes a "health alliance" where all employers and individuals could purchase taxpayer-subsidized coverage from a menu of options, much like federal employees do. This move:

* Is unlikely to expand coverage.

* Could eliminate federal workers' choices.

* And would serve as a platform for a government takeover of private health insurance.

Rand Health found that when states tried similar reforms, "alliances did not have their intended effects. They did not increase the percentage of small businesses that offered health insurance, nor did they reduce small-group market health insurance premiums."

Under the Kerry proposal, insurers would have to offer the same plans to both federal workers and those in the Kerry health alliance. Any plan that proves unprofitable in one would be taken away from the other -- which could take away from federal workers the coverage they now enjoy.

Finally, the proposal's lavish subsidies seem designed to draw all insurers and insured into the Kerry health alliance, where they would meet Kerry's third and final proposal.

For health plans in the alliance, Kerry proposes having the federal government pay three-fourths of all claims over $50,000 -- that is, he'd nationalize a large share of the health-insurance industry. Over time, this would lead to nationalization of the entire industry.

With the deficit growing and health-care costs climbing, the federal government would need to limit its exposure (for claims below $50,000 as well, to ensure patients do not "unnecessarily" reach that threshold). The most likely tools would be those used in Medicare: coverage standards, price controls, administrative bureaucracy and fraud prosecutions. As a preview of things to come, Kerry already proposes allowing the federal government to approve premiums within the health alliance.

By starting small, over time Kerry could achieve what Clinton could not: an effective government takeover of the health-care sector.

Thorpe's widely cited cost estimate of what the Kerry plan would cost -- $653 billion over 10 years -- also doesn't withstand scrutiny. First, Thorpe's projections cover nine years, not 10. Second, they implausibly erase much of the cost by assuming the Kerry plan would so increase efficiency that taxpayers would get back 30 cents of every dollar spent.

Without those projected savings and with a 10th year added in, Thorpe's projections suggest the Kerry plan would cost $1.1 trillion over 10 years -- which most agree would require a broad-based tax increase.

Despite all this, Kerry's most alarming policy is his long-standing opposition to health savings accounts, a new coverage option made available this year. Since January, tens of thousands of uninsured Americans have gained coverage with health savings accounts, and millions more could do so soon.

Kerry has voted against health savings accounts in the past and today likens them to the tax relief he seeks to eliminate. His allies in the Senate have introduced legislation to repeal them, even though that would cut off the surest way to make health insurance affordable.

America is not without her health-care problems, and serious changes are needed. Certainly no presidential candidate has perfect answers. But a status quo that includes health savings accounts is far better than the vision put forth by Sen. Kerry.


posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 05:44 PM
True Lies,

Thanks for the informative article. I was aware of most of what I read, but there were a few things that caught me off guard. Im just concerned for people like myself who have no healthcare coverage. If I break my arm, it comes out of my pocket. My family makes to much to qualify for medicade, and the insurance offered at work is almost $300 a month. Excellent coverage, but way to expensive. I cant pay that and have my cable too!

[edit on 10/14/04 by Kidfinger]

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 05:51 PM

Originally posted by TrueLies

The canadian government isn't your blood relative, I don't know why you guys defend it tooth and nail... There are many imperfections and health care is one.

Where'd that come from? This is about healthcare. We're defending it because we think its better.

You can't socialize medicine and expect it to be better then American Health care.

Sure you can, particularly since you won't have to sell a lung to afford to be able to fix the other one.

The only reaosn why American health care is getting worse is because of the red tape, insurance companies, doctor's fees, ect this is all because of regulations...

I agree, regulations are killing both healthcare systems. However, doctor's fees aren't part of the regulations, they're docotrs lining their pockets.

The less regulation the more successful health care would be.

It's that simple.

I totally agree. I want to start a franchise south of the border, where privitization thrives... "DeusEx's Organs for Trade". Everyone needs one or the other, it's a win win situation!

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 05:59 PM
I didnt realize so much patriotism could be brought forth on the subject of health care.
Seriously though, I appreciate both sides of the story.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 06:11 PM
And i've got a few bills... But guess what, I got taken care of promptly, I thought I had breast cancer, I got in for an ultrasound asap. I went for a obgyn check up and everything was fine, I get billed but guess what, i'd rather pay then wait along time, worry, and start thinking it's cancerous ect....

I will say that when I needed surgery personally in Canada, I got in in about two weeks, but then again, it was an abortion and you can't go over a certain month.

I want blue cross... Will get it in the not to distant future...

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 06:22 PM
Well TL then do so and leave Canada behind you. If you were an American and this was the opposite, you would have been castigated by American members as a traitor. We don't go that far but stop bull#ting about our country.

posted on Oct, 14 2004 @ 06:24 PM
Any social program that has been created in the last 50 years has been set up for good intentions. But these people in our government exploit the money needed for these programs. The best thing any American can do, Is support local welfare/medical efforts. Deni federal programs. The feds are there for roads, security, and currancy only

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