Friday, June 10, 2005

    Canadian vs USA Healthcare

    There is a misconception that Canada has free healthcare and the USA does not. By law, if you are taken to the emergency room a hospital in the USA must at least check you out, and if you are a trauma or life-threatening case they must treat you (within reason). The same is true in Canada as well. In either country if an ambulance takes you to the hospital you will receive attention.
    In the USA, for non-life threatening medical care, you both have insurance and get treatment or you pay out of your own pocket, or you are an illegal alien (that's another story). In Canada, even for Canadian citizens, you might have to wait - not just a few days, not a week or two, not even a month or two - it can be over a year before you get the necessary treatment unless it is life-threatening. I know a nurse in Canada that had a tumor that was growing in her brain, a Canadian citizen, and it took months before she was able to have it removed - all the time it was growing and squeezing on her optic nerve. Things are not as rosy as many Americans think "free" medical is in Canada.
    The Supreme Court of Canada agrees as well. Citing patients' long waits for treatment and a shortage of doctors, Canada's Supreme Court struck down a Quebec law banning private health insurance Thursday, a landmark decision that could jeopardize the nation's universal healthcare system, once regarded by some advocates as a model for the United States. This decision "could substantially change the very foundations of medicare as we know it," the president of the Canadian Medical Association said.
    As with all government programs in no matter what country, Canada will find that lower costs, better efficiency, and greater service will result as they move toward privatization. Government should not be in the business of running healthcare or any other business as far as that goes. Now if they can only get rid of those extortionist unions!
    And yet another Canadian media article how Canadians are fed-up with their own system (contrary to those in the USA that try to make you think Canadians love their "free" health system). Not good news for socialist Democrats that were planning to offer Americans a Canadian-like healthcare system!


    The Rambling Taoist said...

    OK, Great Carnac,
    How do you account for the fact that, when surveyed, Canadians overwhelmingly say that they want to keep their form of health care rather than shifting to an American-like fee-for service style?

    I find it interesting that the main opponents of Canadian-style universal health care aren't Canadians, but people like you who don't live in Canada nor use the very service you criticize.

    Why is it that health care costs are higher in the US than almost any other country and we're the only western industrialized nation NOT to have some form of universal care?

    Heck, people who live in Cuba have better coverage than the average American! (Last year over 45 million Americans were not covered by health insurance at all and a larger number was not covered for portions of the year.)

    : JustaDog said...

    You still have a problem with my name I see - poor trey.

    when surveyed - you make the claim but what is your source? Please provide the source you reference to make such a bold claim. You might go to simoncat1010's Xanga Site (a link on the right of my blog) and get enlightened - she is Canadian.

    main opponents of Canadian-style universal health care aren't Canadians - DUH - think you better read the articles. It is the Canadian Court system that made the ruling - now if they loved their system so much (as you claim) why are they changing it? It really is simple trey - doesn't require much logic.

    Why is it that health care costs are higher in the US than almost any other country - because we are the best - which is why people from other countries will go out of their way to have healthcare here.

    people who live in Cuba have better coverage than the average American - well perhaps you'd be happier in Cuba trey. I see you are still in Oregon.

    Last year over 45 million Americans were not covered by health insurance - you mis-quoted the fact. It is "people in American" - Democrats love to quote numbers like this when they include the millions of illegal aliens in American without health insurance. There are various reasons people don't have insurance - a common one is unemployment (did you find a job yet trey? I recall on your site you said you were looking for one). Besides, no person, not even an illegal alien, is denied life-saving services in the USA.

    The Rambling Taoist said...

    First Nation Centre
    First Nations respondents in the NAHO poll were asked to rate whether they perceived their personal health as excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor. The majority of First Nations respondents (73 per cent) provided a positive rating (good to excellent) in respect of their perceived health status with 13 per cent rating their health status as excellent, 27 per cent as very good, and 33 per cent as good. Twenty-seven per cent (27 per cent) of respondents reported their health status as being fair or poor. Male respondents reported a slightly higher positive rating for their perceived health status (at 76 per cent) than female respondents (at 70 per cent).

    Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada
    A pivotal study that captures just over a decade of public opinion research about health care concludes that the overwhelming majority of Canadians are definitive about their strong attachment to the current health care model and its principles. While they see the need for significant improvements, Canadians are not prepared to accept ‘radical change’ says the paper released today by the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada.

    Government of Saskatchewan
    Eighty per cent of respondents indicated they agreed or strongly agreed that they were treated fairly by the health care system. An equal proportion said they were treated with respect when they received care.
    Public opinion polls have shown strong support for single-tier health care, with service based on need rather than ability to pay. Pro-medicare groups such as the Canadian Health Coalition say pressure to strike down the rules of medicare came from health-care companies looking for new market opportunities.

    The Rambling Taoist said...

    And here's a great commentary from the Wikipedia

    Opinions on medicare

    Most Canadians highly value their medicare program. Polling data in the last few years have consistently cited it as the most important political issue in the minds of Canadian voters. Along with peacekeeping and the CBC a poll found medicare to be one the most defining characteristics of Canada. It has increasingly become a source of controversy in Canadian politics, mostly due to the common perception that the quality of care provided has been decreasing, particularly throughout the past two decades. Canadians are also concerned that the nation isn't living up to our own self image as world leaders in health care.

    Commonly referenced problems include: limited access to diagnostic equipment (such as MRIs and CT Scanners), lengthy wait times for surgeries and serious physician shortages, which are particularly prevalent for General Practitioners(GP)/Family Doctors. In some parts of the country waiting times to acquire a GP have been quoted at several years. Some Canadians are also sent to the United States for treatment. As a result some right-wing pundits and think tanks have proposed introducing a two-tier healthcare system. Two-tier healthcare would have trouble being accepted by the Canadian public because Canada is an egalitarian socially democratic country, and generally citizens "skipping the line" is frowned on.

    While complaints of a steadily worsening system are common, statistical justification for this is hard to locate, but becoming increasingly common. (see links below) Despite reports of growing wait lists and some funding cuts there has been no sign of any decrease in the overall health and well being of Canadians, and Canadians who experience the healthcare system still rate the experience as highly as anywhere else in the world. Canada has been maintaining its high level of health care relative to other developed nations. When Canadians are polled, they consistently rate health care as a high concern and medicare as something they are proud of, even if it doesn't live up to the world class standard that they expect. Looking at other polls it becomes obvious they are willing to pay to keep health care public (in aggregate of course, not everyone). The main concern is often that the money used actually go to health care. Also people would like to see solid, visible, results from these funding changes such as reduced waiting periods. This tracks the usual story arc of socialism where invisible infrastructure and maintenance accounts are robbed to continually provide "visible proof" that government domination of a sector provides superior results. For example there is a tax that is specific to health care in Alberta but which actually ends up going into general funds. Canadians are generally wary that they will come across similar problems at the moment in various reforms that are suggested.

    While Canadians may not get the same very high standard of care that a wealthy US citizen will get, most Canadians are aware that Canadian citizens are by far better covered than an American without any private health insurance. The system is much more affordable for certain items such as on patented drugs and this difference in price has created a large prescription drug exporting industry in Canada. Older medicines that are off patent tend to be somewhat more expensive due to less competition as entry into the Canadian market suffers from government barriers. The Canadian governments spend the same amount per capita on health care as the United States governments, but almost every Canadian citizen is fully covered. In the United States there are large percentages of the population who are uncovered or only marginally covered, despite equally proportional spending along with large private investment. Even more are just a job loss away from not having coverage (although in most cases the employer must maintain health care with copayment of the patient for a period of time after employment in the United States.) though recent reforms have introduced individual health accounts in 2004 which are job independent. In Canada on the other hand, the waiting lists for some procedures and treatments can be very long. Tests such as MRI can have waiting lists that are months long, and procedures such as hip replacement can have waits that can be up to two years. Unlike other industrialized countries, in Canada citizens with money cannot by law pay for quicker service in a private clinic or hospital and must wait with everyone else. In Canada unlike every other industrialized country a two-tier system is considered practically immoral. Though some, who can afford the cost, elect to have tests and occasionally procedures performed at private health care facilities in other countries, usually in the United States.

    : JustaDog said...

    While even I visit Wikipedia sometimes it's not really authoritative since anyone can contribute anything to it. Polls are basically worthless - just like the polls of last year that predicted Kerry would win, right? We have no idea who was polled, the demographics polled, etc.

    I think you still are missing the reality of it all - Canadians hate having to wait in long lines to even see a doctor, hate having to suffer months before they can get non-life threatening treatment, etc. The Canadian court ruling is totally based on these realities - no polls, no AOL surveys, no UN poll - the simple outcry of the very people you think love it.

    Thanks for your effort in an attempt to provide your background for previous comments, but it really is simple trey - accept it!

    simoncat said...

    Oh Trey you are really out to lunch on this one!!!! Plug in waiting lists for health care in Canada and see what you get. There are hundreds of thousands of people in Ontario alone who do not have a family doctor...I personally went without one for seven years when my GP retired, and had to go to walk in clinics and wait for hours and hours for 5 mintues of a doc's time for that entire time. Liberals have poured billions of tax dollars into Medicare, and things just keep getting worse. Because no one has the wisdom or courage to tackle the problem. And by the Jaysus, the Libs don't like giving up their control over our health! Just another leverage point...
    Oh yes, you are right about many Canadians viewing their Medicare as a sacred cow...that is because we have become a bunch of scared propagandized little ninnies who would prefer to see our health in the hands of a group of lying cheating criminals, than discuss viable alternatives. But if you research, you will see that a vast majority of Canadians are now coming to the realization that they want the system changed. Because IT IS NOT WORKING.

    Oh BTW, PM and Quebecois Paul Martin, while dismissing the recent Supreme Court Ruling, goes to a private clinic...banned and illegal for all the rest of us...except in Quebec.
    This is what happens when you have a government big enough to give you everything, and big enough to take it all away...
    Be careful for what you wish for, my dear....stats and polls and media shite are just that...


    The Rambling Taoist said...

    The Canadian court ruling is totally based on these realities - no polls, no AOL surveys, no UN poll - the simple outcry of the very people you think love it.

    Gee Dog-a-rama,
    I didn't realize that if a nation's high court makes a ruling, then this means it represents the will of that nation's citizens. Based on your weird logic, this means that most Americans are pro-abortion (Roe v Wade), that most Americans approved of the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube (Supreme Court allowed a lower federal ruling to stand), and that almost every American cherishes the Miranda warning.

    I guess this means that, in the future, if the US Supreme Court renders a decision you don't happen to agree with that you will accept this decision because it represents the simple outcry of your fellow citizens.

    Thanks for setting me straight.

    : JustaDog said...

    You need to pay attention to what is said trey. Nowhere did I say it represents the will of that nation's citizens - those are your words.

    It is obvious to me but not to you. I think you need to find a working Canadian (as opposed to one of their illegal aliens or bumbs) and debate this with them. But I have a feeling you won't believe their report either. Keep trying - somewhere in Canada there is probably 1 person that you can find that will agree with you.

    The Rambling Taoist said...

    Oh, I'm sooo sorry. This is mere quibbling over semantics. I write "the will of that nation's citizens" and you wrote "the simple outcry of the (very) people". So explain to me how the outcry of the people differs from the will of the people.

    Also, in Comment #2, you wrote, "you make the claim but what is your source? Please provide the source you reference to make such a bold claim". In Comments 3 & 4, I provide the substance to my assertion. Yet, in Comment 5 you wrote "Polls are basically worthless".

    What does this tell us. It shows that initially you had no problem with polling data. You didn't think I could present such data to undergird my point. When I was able to, then you found yourself in a bind. You had asked for documentation and you received such that disputed your contention. So, to get out of your self-imposed corner, you stated that polls and surveys don't matter.

    It's very difficult to have an informed discussion with someone who changes the rules of engagement each step along the way.

    Corona said...

    i'm a Canadian who is quite proud of our healthcare system and has never had a problem finding a GP anywhere i've lived...i have lived in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. i may be moving to the US within a year, and i am quite daunted by the idea of losing my Canadian healthcare. finding a GP is as simple as searching through the College of Physicians & Surgeons website: Many doctors are accepting new i really don't know what simoncat is complaining about.

    : JustaDog said...

    I sounds like you are a frequent user of the "free" healthcare system. However, the facts that there are fewer doctors, greater administrative costs, and a high number of complaints from other users can not be dismissed. If you think they are not for real then perhaps you better consult your own government.