Canadian healthcare

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Jake
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Canadian healthcare

Postby Jake » Fri Oct 03, 2008 4:28 pm

So I read on some dumb forum somebody arguing against Obama by saying they don't want universal healthcare, because look how long it takes to get an MRI in Canada.

So I ask my Canadian friends here, how's the healthcare up there in Canadia?

Dreamin
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Postby Dreamin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:39 pm

Last edited by Dreamin on Sun Oct 05, 2008 4:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dreamin
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Postby Dreamin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 6:46 pm

Also, it's worth pointing out that we spend much less on health care (per capita) than the US does.

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Postby Sven Killer Robot Spacema » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:29 pm

Dreamin wrote:Also, it's worth pointing out that we spend much less on health care (per capita) than the US does.


Are Canadian doctors less likely to be pill pushers and whores for the pharmaceutical industry like American doctors? Are Canucks not as quick to just pop a pill for a quick fix regardless of the side effects like Americans? Despite high profile incidents like Heath Ledger's death and even the crazed mugshot of Heather Locklear (allegedly due to prescription drugs), you rarely hear this issue discussed in America. A lot of what we're spending on healthcare in America could be due to the excessive medications that yanks are eating like candy.

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Postby Dreamin » Fri Oct 03, 2008 9:40 pm

I don't know about that, but a single payer system is a lot less expensive. Also, I think we're a bit more focused on prevention b/c our system is publicly funded. We even have harm reduction stuff like Insite*.

*Living in Vancouver, I fully support this progressive approach to providing care for IV drug users... I just wish we were doing more.
Last edited by Dreamin on Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:28 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Greenwood The Sock Monkey
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Re: Canadian healthcare

Postby Greenwood The Sock Monkey » Sat Oct 04, 2008 1:58 am

Jake wrote:So I ask my Canadian friends here, how's the healthcare up there in Canadia?


Huge & complicated issue, but here's some thoughts.

Canadians are by and large satisfied with the quality of the health care system, but have concerns about the wait times to access the services. We are still recovering from a period in the 1990s where substantial federal budget cuts resulted in the provinces having to slash their health care budgets to the bare essentials. Now that the feds are in a better financial position (aided and abetted by our roaring export economy), some funding has been plowed back into health care. The wait time issue is still there, but doesn't seem to be such a hot-button issue anymore.

There are problems with the system. Hospitals are becoming more and more regionalized in many areas, so people in small towns often have to travel to larger centres for special services. We are also way short on general practitioners etc so finding a family doctor you like that's taking new patients is no picnic. This overloads the walk-in clinics and emergency rooms that end up providing front-line health care for people with colds and flus and minor ailments. There are also horror stories of people that get shafted by the system, or aren't covered for very expensive prototype treatments for rare diseases etc and have to go to the US for help.

But, and I say this as a relatively young and healthy person, I have no real qualms with our health care system. There are those that want to privatize the system, and in principle I would support limited pay-for-service care for specialized services (MRIs are a good example) IF by paying to cut the line, I freed up a public system space for someone else.

But there is widespread concern about the "slippery slope" phenomenon, the danger being if we set up a parallel private/public system will the provincial governments just cut back the public system by a proportional amount? Will we end up with a system where the wealthy get one standard of service, and the rank-and-file another? And some with no health care at all? One of the other big fears we have is that we could end up with a system that costs way more but doesn't deliver. Like Dreamin points out, the US spends way more per capita on health care than Canada but don't seem to have much to show for it. But Canadians are a value-conscious people (i.e. cheap) and we want good service for our tax dollar. We're not sure that spending way more would make the system way better.

Another huge generalization, and remember my knowledge of the US health care system is informed by a few friends living Stateside and about 400 channels of American TV. You guys are kind of nutso with the pharmaceutical ads on TV. I'm not surprised that people think there's a pill for everything, with that onslaught of info running 24/7. I have no figures to back this up, but I would have to think that pharma company advertising expenses per capita up in these parts is a fraction of what you see in the US. I guess it doesn't surprise me that your doctors are relentlessly pushing this stuff too, if they get a cut of the profits somewhere.

Our day to day lifestyles are much more closely aligned with the typical American than, say, the typical Swede. Western European countries tend to focus much more on preventative health care (keeping people active, healthier lifestyles, etc.) than Canada. Here, there's lots of people that go to the gym or play amateur sports, but it's still by and large a car culture and a consumption culture that tends to lead to other health problems. We could do a lot better.

In the meantime, I guess we'll have to be patient while waiting for our health care. But at least the price of prescriptions are usually pretty reasonable, particularly on the generic stuff. Helps explain why the bus loads of old people keep showing up from Seattle or Grand Forks to reload with a six-month supply...

As a country with an envy complex a mile (er, kilometre) wide, I should also point out that one source of Canadian pride is that we have "universal health care". It's not really "universal" of course - we still have to carry some kind of health care coverage, and perks like private rooms in hospitals usually cost extra beyond a standard employer-offered health care plan. "Universal" implies that everyone with a pulse is eligible for exactly the same level of service regardless of situation and that's certainly not reality. But warts and all, we clutch to our health care system as tightly as we clutch to multicultural tolerance and hockey as one of the things that defines us.

Again, these are huge generalizations and I'm sorry if I've offended anyone. Just my perspective - your mileage may vary.

(There, since I just apologized for no apparent reason, you'll know I'm a genuine Canuck).

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Re: Canadian healthcare

Postby LionIndex » Sat Oct 04, 2008 2:20 am

Jake wrote:So I read on some dumb forum somebody arguing against Obama by saying they don't want universal healthcare, because look how long it takes to get an MRI in Canada.

So I ask my Canadian friends here, how's the healthcare up there in Canadia?

Dude, I'm in California, and it takes me over a week just to get a plain old doctor's appointment. So, if I'm really sick and going to be out of work long enough that I have to have a doctor's note or something, I have to go to urgent care, because trying to schedule an appointment is useless.

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Postby miss carol » Sat Oct 04, 2008 3:44 pm

Well put, Greenwood.

I think Canadians are getting more anxious about health care because of the aging population who are going to be using it more. This past year, I had a couple of cancer scares and the tests were covered by my tax-funded Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP), thank goodness. However, my bad knees are acting up (braces, physio, massage) and none of it was covered by OHIP, just private work-based insurance, which is now used up for the year. (Fingers crossed I can made it tax deductible.) So, like GSM said, it ain't utopia, but my elderly parents and I are reasonably happy. Just bring a book...

As for MRIs, it took about six months to get one for my knee; however, I think the wait would have been much shorter if it were for something life threatening. Bear in mind, too, some patients (here and in the US) insist on tests that aren't necessary. I think they watch too much House .

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Postby Dreamin » Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:55 pm

I'm very suspicious when politicians talk about so-called private-public partnerships b/c this scenario scares the crap outta me:

While proponents of two-tier health care say they do not want the American system but rather the “kinder, gentler” system of Germany or Sweden, the fact is that Canada has not signed a free trade agreement with those countries. It has, however, signed the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), whose rules are clear. The exemption for health care, which has largely kept the big U.S. for-profit health corporations out of Canada, applies only to a fully publicly funded system delivered on a non-commercial basis. Once privatized, the system must give “national treatment” rights to American private hospital chains and HMOs, which must not be treated differently than Canadian for-profit companies.

Not only would U.S. health corporations have the right to set up shop in Canada, they would have the same right to public funding as Canadian companies. In no time, the public system would be bankrupt and we would have an Americanized corporate health care system. If any level of government tries to resist, the next Canada Health Act case would likely be held before a secret NAFTA tribunal at World Bank headquarters in Washington.

Even without the Supreme Court ruling, it is arguable that these companies have a right under NAFTA to compete in Canada because the health system is being privatized so quickly. Fully one-third of all Canadian health care spending is now private, as services are de-listed and doctors opt out of medicare. There are now at least 240 health care corporations, many of them American, operating in Canada. There are also 140 private health insurance companies operating here; the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association says that at least 37 of them are American. There are also 663 private home care agencies, and private companies now control at least 10 per cent of the MRI market.

Inlight of the rapid privatization of Canada’s health care system, the Supreme Court ruling in the Chaoulli case is a dangerous development. It opens the door to the Americanization of Canada’s cherished health care system.

- Maude Barlow, National Chairperson of The Council of Canadians.

Chris G
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Postby Chris G » Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:33 pm

Arggg!!!!!!!!

Someone has posted a link that is wider than the column width
and it makes all the text on any post wider than the viewable
area and therefore unreadable.

try:
http://tinyurl.com

/rant


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