Skip to comments.Vanity thread regarding the Canadian health care system
Posted on 02/23/2013 8:57:19 PM PST by Bryan
I'm vacationing with the wife and baby in Arizona. A small group of Chicago area conservatives has been coming down here to see the Cubs in spring training since before there was a Tea Party. It's an annual pilgrimage.
We meet out here at a reasonably priced resort in the middle of the desert, while the snow flies and the wind howls in Chicago. While waiting for the first game of spring training -- most of us do show up a few days early -- and during the warm evenings after the games, we hang around in the heated swimming pool and the jacuzzi, under the swaying palm trees and a clear blue sky, and we talk about all kinds of stuff.
Today we were joined by a Canadian conservative. Not the usual kind of Canadian conservative; no, this guy was a conservative even by Tea Party standards. He hates the Canadian health care system enough to speak candidly about it, and explain what's wrong with it, in a way that a left-wing Obamabot never would.
Health care is allegedly free in Canada, paid for with their high taxes. As it so often happens with left-wing propaganda, to a very limited extent it's true, but there's a lot that they're not telling you. Only the actual work done by doctors and nurses is free.
If you stay in a hospital, you have to pay for the room; if you have surgery, you also have to pay rent for the surgical suite and it's priced like a not-so-reasonably-priced resort. If you need medications or medical supplies, you have to pay for those too. The low price of medicine in Canada is well-known, but it isn't free. Our Canadian guest had a broken ankle a couple of months ago, and he had to pay $300 for the cast and the crutches.
That isn't free medical care. Not by a long shot.
It was revealed to us that Canadian health insurance is not an oxymoron. They do have health insurance, covering the cost of the hospital room, the medications and the medical supplies. And just like America, poor people get it paid by the government, working people generally get it as part of the fringe benefits from their employers, and retirees also get it from the government. And if you don't have it, paying for the hospital room and medical supplies and medications can get very, very expensive.
Food for thought ... as the hidden costs of Obamacare, the fees, the taxes and the increases in the deficit, are finally coming to light. Nancy said that we had to pass the bill to find out what's in it. Well, here we are, and we're finding out.
And as we all know, they have a certain degree of rationing in their health care system. In Canada, if your doctor says you need knee replacement surgery, getting an MRI to confirm his diagnosis will take no less than six weeks. Here in the United States, the doctor orders the MRI today and you’re getting the MRI tomorrow.
Once you get the MRI, in Canada the knee replacement surgery gets approved, but then you land on another waiting list and this one’s a year long, or even longer. America, this is your future.
Two questions: Can you “keep your own doctor” and are there death panels?
In Canada, there really isn’t any such thing as “your own doctor.” There’s the doctor that the government sent out to practice medicine in a slightly larger town 40 miles away. Since the next closest one is 220 miles away, that one will have to do.
Death panels? When you’re seriously ill and you’re on a waiting list two years long, doesn’t that resemble a death panel?
I saw an interesting movie a while back called “The Barbarian Invasions” about a guy whose father has terminal cancer in Canada, and how he deals with it.
I have heard in the last five years (IIRC) Canada has been loosening the restrictions on opening private imaging centers because they simply couldn’t function because medical imaging had been cut so deeply.
Ok..so I have a question...
Retiree’s get health insurance.
Working people get health insurance.
Poor get insurance.
So who has no insurance? people under retirement age who have no job but enough assets? That is only a small percentage of population?
So if all these people have health insurance, they won’t have to pay all those resort price hospital rooms, right?
I am confused.
Unemployed who have assets don’t qualify for public aid, so no health insurance. People with crappy jobs also have no health insurance because their employers won’t provide it.
Bryan, my point is from your post it gave me the impression MOST people are covered by health insurance from somewhere.
So why is the hospital rooms cost an issue?
Your Canadian friend is misleading you. There is no fee for hospital rooms unless you opt for private or semi-private, there is no charge for a cast, and a pair of crutches is $30. I was injured in a motorcycle spill outside the city and my only out-of-pocket expenses were $30 for crutches and $45 for a 40-mile ambulance ride.
Not true. There is a shortage of doctors in smaller towns but in any decent-sized city there are plenty of options.
Reading all posts in this thread, I have to conclude that MOST people in Canada have health insurance. Unless you want a semi-private room or better, hospitals costs little to most people. Ambulance charges are very low. My daughter was billed $800 for a ambulance ride 2 months ago in Seattle area. Medicines are much cheaper in Canada.
The main problem I see is long waits for non-life-threatening issues such as hip joint or knee replacements, and long waits for expensive diagnostic procedures such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).
Not sure why but Government seems to focus on insurance. Does that really get you better care or just spread the cost among others?
All of this discussion about health care and insurance is a bit mute. Health care has nothing to doe (directly) with actual health care. That will be abundantly clear shortly.
When the government gets involved, the prices go up, the Doctors demand more, and so do he Hospitals.
Not really sure why our government is so focused on insurance instead of health care - they are not the same! I assume that it is because the insurance industry supports the government so there you go... It has little to do with reducing costs - actually it will always increase costs when government is involved.
So why the exodus of Governors and States to support the current laws - Money! The States get 100% backing of the Federal Government for 3 years (Medicaid) - the following years are questionable but what the heck, they will probably not be in office or running. That is just another of our problems - Politicians always advance ideas until their next political election.
See any problem with this?
Health Insurance has little to do with good health care! When you finally realize that, you will be making great strides.
Barbra Streisand, more people go bankrupt due to lack of good health insurance than any other reason. Especially true for people with serious health problems and seniors.
Heh... Love the Streisand quote. 95% or probably more have never had a problem with bankruptcy! It is just the 5% or so that are suffering major sicknesses that overshoot their insurance.
Reality, if most folks had insurance but limited it to catastrophic only - would the costs go down? Does the Government intruding on what is required for insurance affecting the rates? Do any of you care?
Really, if you keep increasing the costs but limiting the charges that actual Doctors can charge (ie, Insurance companies and Government) you will get degraded services.
Note to self - stay away from Medicare or Medicaid!
You silly Insurance folks are missing the result of your efforts - by a very long shot!
We can agree on the whole insurance structure is cock eyed.
Obamacare has made it even worse because there is nothing, Zip, Zero Nada in it to reduce healthcare costs.
>> Why can’t we buy insurance out of state?
>> Why can’t we import drugs?
>> Why is there no policy covering catastrophic only?
>> Why there are no restrictions on increasing health insurance premiums such as rates on utilities?
Obamacare is simply wealth distribution from the have’s to have not’s, with no incentives for the have not’s to improve their situation.
I would have no problem with the Canadian health system. It has cost limits on everyday healthcare at least. One can always fly to Thailand or India or Costa Rica for catastrophic to avoid the delays if one has the means.
and are there death panels?
Access to doctors in rural areas is problematic sometimes. Many doctors do not want to practice in rural areas. You absolutely can choose your own doctor. I have had the same GP (my choice) for 40 years.
I'm not sure where you are getting your information.
Everyone in Canada has health insurance. Every citizen and landed immigrant gets a health card and benefits regardless of employment status.
Unfortunately, the tests in Canada she needed to determine her treatment would be months away. She might have died during this wait for tests.
Wisely, she saw a doctor in the US, who scheduled immediate tests, & prescribed her treatment within 2 weeks. The “free” health care in Canada would have let her die.
When you are really sick, you need help NOW! Any gov’t run health care system will require rationing, meaning, at best, delays in your health care. With gov’t health care, it is in the national interest for retirees & the disabled to die as quickly & cheaply as possible. Rationing guarantees that outcome.
So there is no charge if you are put in a ward. Since most American standard care is semi-private or private room, that isn't really misleading. Maybe ward based care is another thing Americans will have to look forward to.
You've confirmed what a lot of us thought all along.
Enjoy that sunshine... it ain't a whole lot better in regards to weather here in the Midwest. (Wish I were in AZ, but duty calls!)
“So there is no charge if you are put in a ward. “
If your doctor says you need to be in a semi or private, that’s where you go and there is no extra cost charged to you.
From the original post, “ you also have to pay rent for the surgical suite “
I’ve never heard of that one before , not in Ontario.
Actually , if you’re content to stay in a ward with 3 other beds beside your own , a hospital stay will cost you nothing . They don’t send out bills . If you have private insurance that usually covers a semi or private room.
Medicare in Canada is administered by the provinces.
Most of them ban private health insurance. In Ontario, as a resident, you get a health card. It entitles you to medically necessary services, including emergency treatment at no charge.
Single payer has its drawbacks but no one in Canada has to worry about being bankrupted by medical costs. You never see a bill when you leave the hospital.
There are waiting times for non-emergency procedures but efforts are being made to reduce them. It works in no small part because Canada has around 30 million people and 4 million of them live in Ontario’s “Golden Horseshoe” metro region.
Manitoban here. I have no extra health insurance as I am self-employed and to buy if from Blue Cross is too expensive for me.
My drugs are covered under Pharmacare which has a deductible based on income. I pay the first $300. If you go to the hospital and want semi-private rooms, you will have to pay if you do not have private insurance. However, as most hospital rooms are semi-private (forget private rooms) there is no cost. You might though be put in a ward room even if you have insurance as the beds are full.
Crutches etc are extra. My last ambulance ride was $473 dollars (thought I was having a heart attack and lots of stuff was used on me). Am paying off the bill slowly as I can with no pressure.
I am a retired nurse and have found that if you are extremely ill or in a severe accident or something like that, you get prompt attention. Hip replacement, knee surgery etc you wait in line.
I’ve had the same family doctor for over 20 years, my choice. We live in a small village with a medical center which has two doctors. There is a hospital in a small city about 20 minutes from us that provides excellent care. I’ve had a couple of operations that have required hospital stays and have always been in semi-private or private. No, there isn’t any “free” medical care, we pay for it through our taxes, which has worked fine for me. Yes, you may have to wait for some elective surgeries, but they are “elective” surgeries. I’m sure you can find horror stories about any program, but personnaly, I’m very happy with ours.
My point is that even with MOST people covered by health insurance, SOME people are not. Generally it's the people who are in the worst position to afford out-of-pocket expenses: people with crappy jobs, and the unemployed who have just enough assets to not qualify for public aid.
The gentleman I spoke with is a bartender in a sports bar, in a small town in the mountains of British Columbia. His salary is $13,000 with no health insurance. He barely pays any taxes on income (you don't even have to pay income taxes if you make $12,000 or less). And he makes a lot of money in tips, which he doesn't report (like nearly everyone else who gets tips). But he's getting older, so he's thinking about buying health insurance out of his tip money.
The comments on this thread demonstrate another flaw: the service is very spotty, and focused on communities that are very large and very left-wing. In the nation's capital and in other large, socialist cities, you have a lot of doctors to choose from and you can have "your own doctor" for 40 years until he retires, as one FReeper reported. And the waiting list for an MRI might be only three weeks.
But if you're out there in a small town in Alberta or Saskatchewan, where nearly everyone votes Conservative, you get the M.D. who has been sent out to reluctantly practice medicine in your county. And the waiting list for an MRI might be three months, and require a two-day round trip to a hospital 500 miles away.
You have a point, but ward care here is not like the old days. For as long as I can remember a ward here has been four beds.
Depends on what you mean by “private health insurance”. Most employers have health insurance plans that cover dental, drugs , eye glasses and hearing aids etc and include short and long term disability and term life insurance .
Reference has been made here that some people are not covered. I’m not sure who those some people are, they may not have any extended coverage but all Canadians are covered under the Canada Health Act.
Doctors in Canada are not government employees ,they operate their own businesses. They can practice where ever they choose. However , there are provincial programs in place that do offered incentives to doctors to locate in areas where doctors are needed, but they are not sent or ordered to do so.
No, they’re not government employees. But if they have a lot of debt, those incentives will appear to be the only way out. And so they reluctantly hang out a shingle in Moose Crossing, Manitoba.
Bryan, thanks for bring this up. I wanted to make a few corrections.
False: Only the actual work done by doctors and nurses is free.
Fact: None of it is free, we pay for it through our taxes.
False: If you stay in a hospital, you have to pay for the room; if you have surgery, you also have to pay rent for the surgical suite and it's priced like a not-so-reasonably-priced resort.
Fact: Only if you go to a private clinic such as pro. athletes might use.
True: If you need medications or medical supplies, you have to pay for those too.
False: .... Our Canadian guest had a broken ankle a couple of months ago, and he had to pay $300 for the cast and the crutches.
Fact: The cast is put on in the hospital at no additional charge, and crutches don't cost $300, even in BC, unless he got the top of the line titanium ones.
True: That isn't free medical care. Not by a long shot.
No offense Bryan. It's just that it's best to be using the correct facts.
There are plenty of problems with the Canadian health care system.
For instance, too many parts of our body are exempt from it. In Ontario, teeth, eyes, ears, and feet aren't covered, and because most people do have employer insurance, those specialists can get away with charging more.
And you were correct Bryan, “medical supplies and medications can get very, very expensive.”
And getting an MRI for a knee, for instance, can actually take months, unless you can fork up $1000 cash. Then if you need surgery, it will take 3 to 9 months to have that scheduled.
The Unions have taken over our HC system in Ontario, and most of our tax dollars seem to go to them.
This is why you see different policies and costs, even on this thread...different provinces have different mandates.
But it was the central Gov't which dictates that the provinces must provide socialized medicine. Yet none of the programs as far as I know offer dental, optical so even though taxes are high because of the socialized programs people still pay out of pocket for other insurances.
Well, either our conservative Canadian guest was telling me a story, or he broke his ankle in some other province besides BC, where the charges he described were accurate.
He seemed pretty credible.
Manitoba? Saskatchewan? Alberta?
If he broke his ankle while in another province, he would still be covered. A big complaint in Ottawa (Ontario) is all the people from Quebec using our health services with their Quebec health cards, because the Quebec government doesn’t pay our doctors and hospitals as much as Ontario does to preform the same procedures.
You got lucky, I paid $75 for a 4 block ambulance ride 30 years ago!
Thirty - two years ago , on a dark November Saturday night I chased an ambulance carrying my 5 year old son 60 miles to Victoria Hospital in London Ont . My son had epiglottitis. An emergency operation to allow him to breathe, 2 days in ICU, 6 days in children’s hospital in a private room, with TV .
I was never sent a bill .
At that time the OHIP premium for family coverage was was something like 30 bucks a month .