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Canadians, what's up with the healthcare thing?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by nonsqtr, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Please, try not to get too political in this thread (otherwise it'll get moved).

    I'm just curious, how do you perceive the recent Canadian Supreme Court ruling on private healthcare insurance?

    Why was it ever "prohibited" in the first place?

    Was there some "competition" in regards to the public healthcare system, or how do you view this?
  2. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I think it's a great idea. It's long overdue. Canadians will finally have access to quicker medical care. The current health care system, as in many countries, is crumbling. I would gladly pay for additional health insurance to give me better access to care.
  3. simpy1


    Mar 31, 2005
    New Zealand
    NZ has a public healthcare system (or socialist as my american friend calls it), but we also have the option of private health insurance if we want it. I have private insurance and it is a good thing. But the idea of a public health system is very good - I hate the idea that if someone gets seriously hurt somehow, and they have no money, that they will not get treated! I mean it is just basic human rights!
  4. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada
    I'm not sure it's a good thing. Rich people will have a better access to ealthcare. Not everybody will be able to afford insurance.
    The best Dr. will go where there is money of course.

    Maybe it will work, I have no idea yet. I hope so.
  5. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Yvon...rich people currently do have access to private health care. They simply cross the border for treatment. The helath care system in Canada has been declining for years. At some point, I'll be back in Canada and hope the situation is better.

    Over the years, I have been hospitalized in Montreal, Calgary, Tokyo, Bangkok, Bahrain and Geneva. I feel just about ready to write a Michelin guide to rate hospitals. Sad to say, but my experiences in Canada have been at the bottom, in terms of waiting time, time spent with doctors, access to private rooms, thoroughness of the examination. I'm not a doctor, but after a couple of stays in hospitals, you get a sense of what's better than the last place.

    Health care in Canada is already very expensive and getting more expensive with time. Although I haven't lived there in a while, I haven't heard that it's getting any better, if fact, just the opposite.

    So, by all means. As long as a new system isn't imposed, and those that can afford it are willing to pay for it, what's the big deal? If anything, it may relieve the burden on the universal health care system and allow for some improvements.
  6. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    I'll add one more thing. Anytime we return to Canada and need to go to a hospital, out comes the credit card. Five years ago, it costs CAD$350 just to get in the door of the Lyons Gate Hospital in Vancouver. Treatment was on top of that.
    Here in Switzerland, the hopsital sends me the bill and my health insurance pays for it. My knee surgery three years ago cost CAD15,000. Now...how much would that have cost in Canada? Probably the same thing. We (Canadians) seem to think it's free and drop in to a hospital for the slightest of reasons. If hopital bills were sent to you for evey visit, I think the drop in rate would fall. Just my opinion.
  7. I think part of the problem is many Canadians go to the emergency room when it's not necessary. 2 of my aunts are nurses, and they say that all the time. A runny nose or cough could wait for a day or two so you can see your Doctor. Health Care surely has become part of our identity though, so it's not looked upon as bad practice. I think some people also want to "get their money's worth" so to speak. They want to stick it to the man for the taxes they pay, although that may not be an entirely conscious decision.

    I'm not sure where I stand on two tier health care - ie: private/public. If you can't afford it, you'll have to wait. Then again, maybe the public wait lines will get shorter if the wealthier citizens can pay for it elsewhere. And like it was said above, rich folks can still go to the states to pay for it themselves. It's basically already 2 tier in Quebec. Alberta is leaning towards that too. This is not new news though as there's been various reports done over the last few years telling us the same thing. Politicians in every election since before Mulroney have been touting health care as their prime platform ticket, but nobody's done anything but cut the funding. It's amazing how very few of them are willing to do anything about large issues like these until the courts have had their say. So spineless.

    Look at the same sex marriage debate - all it took was a ruling in Ontario, and then 7 or so other provinces followed suit. Then the supreme court made it's decision, and the Liberals jumped on the bandwagon. I doubt that will pass in the house though as not all Liberals agree with it, and the Bloc and Conservatives will basically vote against the minority government no matter what the issue.
  8. I agree with bmc that we need the choice. Here is an example.

    My mother-in-law was diagnosed six months ago with potential early Alzheimers, but needed to see a specialist (neurologist) for an assesment. Wait time - 6 months!!

    When she finally gets the appointment, she has declined rapidly and the neurologist says no, not early Alzheimers. She is in such bad shape mentally he is convinced it is due to either a form of encephalytis which is treatable, but cannot reverse the damage; OR a non - treatable TSE type. The latter has a 6-12 month life expectancy associated with it, the former would allow her live longer with treatment. But to confirm, he needs to do a lumbar puncture (no spinal tap jokes please, guys) and an EEG. Wait time - another 6 weeks!

    She is not rich at all, but would have gladly paid thousands out of her retirement fund in order to know what to plan for six months ago. Now she cannot even make her own decisions, my wife and her sibings need to decide on things like where she lives, what treatment to get, etc.

    And we still do not have a diagnosis yet.

    Helath care is a huge part of our income taxes, so it is not free. If the government got out of the business of health care
    and merely funded private insurance premiums for citizens out of the same income taxes, I believe that would be some improvement as well. However, in the case of wait times, etc, it makes more sense for private options to be available for those who choose.
  9. bmc


    Nov 15, 2003
    Hey Bob...the world gets smaller. My 15 year old drummer daughter has been babysitting your neices.

    Small world.

  10. Your drummer is only 15? And has a daughter???
  11. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    There are those who want the US to have a gem of a system like that.
  12. Phil Mastro

    Phil Mastro

    Nov 18, 2004
    I think a two way system is a very good thing. I just got back from the hospital to have my cast removed (sprained my ankle a month ago). There's a serious shortage of medical staff in Quebec, so the hospitals and clinics are ALWAYS packed. Again, I'll try to not get into politics...

    But when I went to get my cast after spraining my ankle, I got to the hospital at 8 PM, and got home at 4 AM. Still with not cast. I had to go the next morning at 8 AM, and only got out of there at noon. Now, it's not like my family's loaded or anything, but to spare my family and myself the aggravation, we would have paid to get served faster.

    Now I know some people are thinking that if doctors from public hospitals go private, that won't reduce work loads, right? Actually, if they go private, they won't have a maximum limited number of work hours, as doctors in the public sector do. So I personnaly think it's a good thing.
  13. I agree that a two tiered system is not the best idea, especially for low income families. I am thankful for being able to get a free doctors visit, or in serious cases free hospital stays, and some operations.

    On the other hand I also see a deteriorating health care system, starting right as you walk into the emergency room. Long waits, and no beds, small numbers of specialists with months to years waiting, decline in doctors and nurses, no money for better equipment. My friend recently had an operation and they had to put her in a room full of sick babies with no one to really talk to. Her nurse worked on the main adult floor and came to see her twice a day, plus since it was an infant floor visitors were very restricted.

    Last year in college the course I was in had a class that talked about all of this in long detail. Its not a pretty picture to see people not being able to get treatment, but also if a person is really ill right now, its horrible to see them not get proper care. I'm on the fence, I like the health care we have right now, but I would like it better if it was funded to meet the needs of the people who need it.

    In my provincially organized class we were told it's only a matter of years until our health care mimics the Unitied States, if not sooner but I didn't need a class to tell me that.
  14. +1 I have an aunt in New York who is considering moving back to Canada because of the health care.
  15. Tash


    Feb 13, 2005
    Bel Air Maryland
    This might address one of the biggest problems looming in Canada: the issue of surgeon competence. Here in the US there is already a crunch on surgeons because large numbers of them are begining to retire and it's one of the less popular specialties in medicine. The real isue is that surgery is a specialty that takes years and years of practice to become good at. Its like bass: you can get a degree and do a residency, but if you don't cut often and frequently you will not be up to the task.

    The problem in Canada is worse because Canadian surgeons average less than 1/3 the number of cases per year as US doctors. That means its takes roughly 3 times as long to "grow" a competent surgeon in Canada. If a private healthcare system grows up alongside, or even eventually replaces the government run one it will at least give a shot in the arm to the number of procedures surgeons perform yearly.

    Its still and issue though, and in the US as well. My father recently presented a paper on this issue at a medical conference, and has testified before an state and federal government comitees trying to address the problem. Its not one with an easy solution unfortuneatly.
  16. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    Really? That doesn't seem consistent with my what I've heard about surgeons in the US. When my wife was about to graduate from med school and she was looking at residencies it was pretty sweet because all the family practice residencies pay for your travel, lodging and nice meals when you go to interview. They're the only one though because there aren't enough people going into family practice so the residencies have a hard time filling their programs. Surgery on the other hand was a whole different ballgame from what I was hearing from the wife's classmates. They had to pay for all their own lodging and travel because it was so competetive to get into the residency programs. Maybe it's a specific kind of surgeon?

    brad cook
  17. I think that if rich people use private health care, their absence will free up doctors' time when treating people who have to use the public care. I think that's the intent, hopefully it will work out.
  18. burk48237

    burk48237 Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Oak Park, MI
    Where do they not get treated? In the U.S. Doctors are required by law to treat all patients, and the public ends up paying for the uninsured thru taxes and high insurance cost. In Canada the rich are already in a two tier system, they just go to the US to get care. I know a surgeon in Royal Oak MI. (Eye, Ears, Nose and Throat) who does 40% of his surgery's for cash with Canadians. Neither system works well because neither is market driven, In nationalized systems there is no incentive to Doctors to work harder or better, they'll still get paid the same amount, so they get lazy or they go somewhere else where doctor's make money. So the government is forced to ration care.

    In the US system the high cost of lawsuits and the small insurance pools both drive up the cost of care. Doctors are practicing Defensive medicine (ordering unnecessary test) to avoid lawsuits and passing on the cost of ridiculous insurance premiums (some pay over 150K per year). And patients who are insured never question any cost or shop for value because "there insurance pays for it". There is no incentive for anyone to charge a competitive price for service.

    P.J. O'Rourke had a a great quote during the Hillary care debate, "If you think health care is expensive now, just wait till it's free!"
  19. Yvon

    Yvon Supporting Member

    Nov 2, 2000
    Montreal, Canada

    Probably not because some (lots) of those Drs will be in the private and wont be in public hospital anymore.
  20. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I'm very much on the fence on this one for a couple of reasons. My parent have been through a rough couple of years since Dad retired. Hip replacement and gall bladder surgery for mom and prostate cancer and open heart surgery for dad. Needless to say my genetic code ain't looking all that great. While there was some wait time involved my impression from the heart surgery is that you have to take ownership and demand that the system work. Dad asked who the best heart surgeon in Canada was and demanded that he be booked with the person. And he was. More surgery for the heart is scheduled for next week.

    I wonder what happens to the health care system if we end up with a two tier system. I suppose we'll all be taxed the same as we always have. I doubt the gov't will give out tax credits for those that chose to shop privately so the funding level will remain the same. Does that mean that service will improve for those that can't afford to go private because the folks with the $ are going to the private clinic? Gotta love cpatalism.

    The other side of the coin is to ask the question: If you are willing to spend you hard earned $ to get private care in Canada or the US it would seem to me that you wouldn't mind being taxed more in the first place to improve the system over all. Then again Canadians are generally suspicious of the gov't ability to spend wisely in the first place. But I hope you get my point. Nobody would want to pay the gov't more money. But happy to pay private enterprise? No fancy up and down beds. Just good old fashioned metal frames. Great care though including cups of tea for the family.

    All in all I can't complain about the health care system. I cerntainly hope it is available to me i the future.

    What does coverage actually cost in the States?

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