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#192048 - 01/13/08 10:00 PM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: NDinUSA]
jakeman Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
 Originally Posted By: NDinUSA

1. Would any of you give up your health care system for one like we have in the states? And why?


Can't say I would, either. In fact most Americans I know would love to have access to the Canadian Health Care system. Case in point we were recently hiring a couple of people in our Company's Boston office and the fact that we offer a "Canadian Health Care" equivalence benefit was a big attraction. Lifespans of the typical American was 77.7 years in 2005 compared to 80.1 for the average Canadian. Despite the many similarities between the two groups, the main reasons attributing to this difference are access to universal health care and cheap medication as well as lower crime rates in Canada.

 Quote:
2. Is there really an 18 month waiting or ever has been an 18 month waiting list to get any surgery? Or is that some number he pulled out of his "expert" @$$?


I've never heard of anyone waiting that long. Though priority is given to people with more serious problems. On the other hand the one advantage of the US system is that if you can afford it there are no wait times. Having said that the care given to elderly Canadians is first rate. Both of my parents for example needed intensive care related to heart problems which were dealt with immediately and with no extra cost. Similar treatment would have run to over $150,000 at a US hospital, a cost they would not have been able to afford at their age.

 Quote:
3. How much paperwork do you need to go thru to get your health care bills paid?


What paperwork? You flash your healthcard at the hospital and that's it.

 Quote:
4. What percent (generally) of your income do you spend on health insurance?


Very little but the real cost is in the higher taxes we pay. Universal health care for all means people in higher tax brackets pay more so less affluent people can get the same standard of care. That's good and bad. Good if you are in a low income tax bracket and bad if you make more money. Also except for progressive places like Alberta and Quebec most places in Canada do not allow you to pay extra for other services you may want. That's why some wealthy Canadians with serious problems prefer to go to the top US clinics.

 Quote:
5. Any other advantages of your system I may not be aware of that you care to share?


Anyone with an emergency or serious illness is treated right away. Medication is much cheaper here as sadly indicated by the busloads of elderly Americans from around the Great Lakes that visit Toronto frequently for the sole purpose of stocking up on their necessary prescriptions. Physicians fees are regulated here which is why universality is so strongly opposed by all US physician associations.

Many Canadians are critical of the inefficiencies associated with universal health care but what price do you put on improving the quality of life of a country's citizens and extending their lifespan. It seems to me that should be the top priority of any responsible society. Our system does need to get more efficient and evolve. Alberta and Quebec are leading the way toward providing additional services for for those who want to pay for them themselves.


_________________________
John

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#192052 - 01/13/08 10:25 PM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: jakeman]
NDinUSA Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 119
Loc: Fargo, ND USA
Thanks John for the response. I wish there could be some kind of survey that the USA could do of the Canadian citizens that could show our doctors here just exactly how the Canadian people feel. The doctors here are continually spreading scare tactics of the bad Canadian Health Care system with 18 month waiting lists, etc, etc. And calling people like me morons for not believing them.
_________________________
Don't die with a clean shop!

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#192056 - 01/13/08 10:44 PM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: NDinUSA]
jakeman Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
Some American doctors I know are supportive, but generally speaking the US medical associations have a common view to oppose universal health care and do lobby extensively against it (along with HMOs, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies). There are just too many powerful vested interests with big economic stakes standing in the way, so I doubt you will get it anytime soon.

Based on my many discussion over the years on this topic starting from my college days in Boston and now with my many friends in Florida and California, just about all Americans I know want some form of universal health care.

What's ironic is that if just a small fraction of that huge military budget was redirected toward health care (the cost of the Iraq Occupation for example), the quality of life for tens of millions of Americans would be vastly improved and lifespans would start to reach Canadian levels. Elderly Americans should not have to travel on organized bus junkets to Canada because they can't afford to pay for prescriptions where they live. It's sad to see and its not right. \:\(


_________________________
John

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#192060 - 01/13/08 11:00 PM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: jakeman]
NDinUSA Offline
veteran

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 119
Loc: Fargo, ND USA
I brought up the waste of money we spent in Iraq also. Once again, I'm a moron. Maybe I should do what they suggest and move to Canada. It's not that far away and you have great beer too.
_________________________
Don't die with a clean shop!

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#192070 - 01/13/08 11:51 PM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: NDinUSA]
medic8r Offline
axiomite

Registered: 02/05/06
Posts: 6390
Loc: Fredericksburg, Virginia
If it wouldn't cut into my audio habit (i.e. cut my wages) too much, then I'm all for universal health care. As a psychiatrist, so much of my day (and even more of my nurse's day) is spent haggling with pain-in-the-ass insurance companies that one payer (the gub-ment) with one set of rules sounds really good to me. Every insurance company does things its own way, and each one has an endless variety of policies that vary in their details.

With managed care/HMOs, I have to write off about 35% of my charges because they will only pay me what they want to. Makes me want to only pay them a like percentage of my health insurance premium every month.

The U.S. already has some small systems of universal health care, such as the Indian Health Service and the VA (Veterans Affairs) health system. When I trained at the VA, they already had electronic medical records, ahead of the curve, and the hospitals were just as efficient as the others in town.

However, I just don't see how we are ever going to get any real reform on health care. I foresee more of the same old Band Aids being applied, when the "patient" really needs a transplant. Or, in another depressing analogy, effecting any kind of system overhaul would be like trying to change a flat tire while you are still doing 55 mph.

To get real change, we're going to have to have a heck of a plan as well as leaders that can get it into law despite the outcry of various providers, clinics, insurance companies, and Big Pharma. I'm not holding my breath.
_________________________
"The Universe is the game of the self, which plays hide and seek forever and ever" - Alan Watts

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#192071 - 01/13/08 11:57 PM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: medic8r]
CV Online   confused
Founder, Axiom Upgrade Club
shareholder in the making

Registered: 07/20/06
Posts: 11202
Loc: Richland, WA, USA
That's it, then. Here I come, Canada.

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#192096 - 01/14/08 08:40 AM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: CV]
nickbuol Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/16/04
Posts: 4456
Loc: Marion, IA
I remember a conversation about 8 years ago at COMDEX and he was talking about how much (as in quite a bit) of his salary went towards the Canadian health care system. I have no idea where he lived in Canada, but using his numbers, it would cost me a few more percentages more from my salary (about another 7% if I remember correctly) to be under the plan he was. He hated it.

Of course, I have no idea of his living situation, general health, etc. He WAS just a stranger at a tech conference.

I have heard talk from people against a government run health care, which seems to match up with some comments above this, that it drives costs down, which sounds good to the consumer, but also means that doctors get paid a lot less and thus they go elsewhere to make more money, so then you could end up with sub-par physicians, or a doctor "shortage" sometimes. Not saying that all doctors in the USofA are great, but I've heard horror stories about some in other countries. Of course, you never hear of the good ones, just the ones that make for good stories, right?

The only other issue I see with some of the "plans" being pushed by certain presidential candidates is that a couple of them also plan on including the government paid health care to people who are here illegally. So those of us "good" citizens who would be paying our taxes to get government run health care, would also have to pay taxes to cover those people who aren't paying any taxes at all. I am not talking about the poor, or unfortuntate people, but the people who are working, but since they are illegally here, they don't pay taxes. That is something like 15Million people, so it would have to have an impact on what we pay.

Oh, one other question for our Canadian friends since they have more experience with all of this.

How do you deal with some of the people in Canada who are of the "free-loader" type where they have tons of kids, don't work, and let the government pay them money so that they can live (which gets spend on smokes and booze a lot of the time) with no incentive to ever get out from government assisted programs? They don't pay hardly anything, IF anything in taxes, yet have a whole slew of kids that all need medical care.

Or is that just a problem in the USofA with our generally lazy society?
_________________________
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M60s, VP180, VP150, QS8s, SVS 20-39PCi, HTPC, JVC RS45, Onkyo TX-NR709, Shakers

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#192103 - 01/14/08 09:56 AM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: nickbuol]
Worfzara Offline
aficionado

Registered: 07/25/05
Posts: 709
Loc: London area, Ont, Canada
I live in Ontario and pay no insurance premium (other than that of my income tax and my employer has a benefit program the helps with drugs, dental, etc.). It depends on your personal status if you are in favor of the Canadian system or the US system.

If you are a young single healthy person making a large salary, you would prefer the American system. However if you are a middle aged with a family with multiple kids and are starting to feel the aging process, your view changes rather quickly. What’s interesting about this scenario is that most young single healthy people become middle aged family people with kids.

About 4 weeks ago my 4 year old son woke up at midnight with a very swollen neck, high fever, stuffy nose, the works. We rushed to the hospital where a very pleasant nurse attended to him immediately, taking his vitals, administering Tylenol for his fever, blood pressure, etc. We waited another 30 min. and he was attended to by a doctor who told us he had strep throat and the infection had spread to his gland in his neck. She administered antibiotics and gave us a prescription. We were back home by 2:30 am. The total cost and was an $8.00 dispensing fee at Wal-Mart the next day for filling the prescription. With in a week he was cured. BTW my wife and I never even had to sign anything yet alone fill out paper work.

Last spring my wife waited 12 weeks for a non life threatening, mildly annoying gal bladder surgery. Sure it would have been nice if the 12 weeks was 6 or 4. But it’s a far cry from the 18 months posted here.

I do know that Ontario’s MRI machines are running 24 hours a day due to the demand and depending on your situation you could wait up to 6 months, again sig less than the 18 months reported here.

Yes, my taxes are higher but knowing that I will never get a phone call saying that anyone in my family will be denied healthcare based on something as trivial as money, is a great comfort (when peoples lives are at stake, money should never be an issue)!

Doctors in the US may make more than in Canada, (I have not data to confirm this) but that doesn’t mean that they are standing in the soup lines here either. Doctors in Canada do quit well (I don’t have any stats) but I assure you none of them are going hungry.
_________________________
paul

Axiom M80, VP180, Qs8, EP500
Panasonic PT-AU900
AudioTrak AT-6100
Denon AVR-990

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#192104 - 01/14/08 10:05 AM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: nickbuol]
jakeman Offline
aficionado

Registered: 10/03/05
Posts: 852
Loc: Toronto
Great points Nick. \:\) I don't think we should read that the Canadian health style system is perfect by any means. I have my gripes as well, some of what you heard. Taxes. Tell me about it. In our country the high "progressive"?? income tax means more of the cost of these welfare programs are disproportionately borne by people in higher income brackets. On the flip side people with lesser financial means pay relatively little for the same quality of care. Like I said earlier whether that is fair or not, good or bad really depends on ones financial status and your view about what it means to be a responsible society. Universal health care has to get paid by somebody.

Like most places there are no doctor shortages in big urban centres, but I do hear about them occasionally in smaller communities. I don't know what to make of it. I haven't detected any difference in quality of physicians but I do know that the top docs are aggressively recruited by the well known American clinics and many do go south. That's the problem with a regulated market where top people's incomes get too regulated and points to a negative outcome of universal medicine. Interestingly I know a few Canadian doctors who returned to Canada after a few years at US clinics, citing concerns about crime, lifesyle issues, a changing government attitude to being able to bill for other services, are just plain homesickness. Maybe it is the beer.

Plenty of freeloaders in this country as well and with our bigger social safety net many have less of an incentive to find meaningful jobs. More needs to be done to curtail welfare abuse which isn't just limited to health care. With the tighter US immigration policies, we seem to be getting a larger influx of people entering Canada who are immediately given access to our health care and other welfare programs. I suppose they have been screened but it would be nice to have them make some sort of a contribution before given social security.

Anyway no system is perfect and all are subject to some abuse. Still, I get back to viewing these issues in terms of what are the primary goals and priorities of an advanced society. I have to say that being something of a numbers guy, I get some comfort knowing the lifespan data. What price do you put on the lower anxiety of Canadians knowing they have free access to high quality medical care and subsidized drugs? Higher taxes and inefficiencies are the costs for sure but I doubt the vast majority of Canadians would ever forego it now. That's why our politicians fall over themselves making speeches about their commitment to universal health care.
_________________________
John

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#192111 - 01/14/08 10:43 AM Re: Canadian Health Care System [Re: nickbuol]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6820
Loc: PEI, Canada
 Originally Posted By: nickbuol

How do you deal with some of the people in Canada who are of the "free-loader" type where they have tons of kids, don't work, and let the government pay them money so that they can live (which gets spend on smokes and booze a lot of the time) with no incentive to ever get out from government assisted programs? They don't pay hardly anything, IF anything in taxes, yet have a whole slew of kids that all need medical care.


I know where you are coming from. However, if it means the difference between the kids not suffering because of the parents laziness, then I am glad that we have a system that allows everyone health care regardless of their income. It's not the kids fault that their parents are not contributing to society.

We see it here more on the side of employment insurance verses health care. In my province, PEI, we have so much seasonal work (farming, fishing, tourism) that many old school folks feel that getting employment insurance for the winter months is a God given right as opposed to a service that should assist your income if absolutely no other work is available. The sad part is that the government still promotes this mentality by providing for jobs that start and end suspiciously in just the right amount of time to make sure you are eligible for EI.

However, I certainly would not trade our health system for the American system. If I lived in the states, I'd probably have false teath right now as I needed 'non-cosmetic' help with my teeth that my family would never have been able to afford. They were hard working but didn't make enough that they would likely have had good health insurance if we lived in the states.

Also, my Mom would probably be crippled as she has had just about every medical issue known to Man. Bad back, bad knee, inner ear dizziness causing a fall rupturing her spleen, her stomach is a veritable road map of scar tissue from miscellaneous internal issues. I'm not even sure if she would be alive today if we had grown up without our health care system.

I don't know what % I pay in my taxes but it's one tax I'm actually proud to pay.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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