As America rushes headfirst into Government Run Healthcare, here are a few realities Americans should not ignore.
As a Canadian, I was raised since the mid 1960’s on a diet of Government Paid Healthcare. In a single statement: IT WAS TERRIFIC.
But, I have to emphasize the word WAS.
What Canadian Government Healthcare Was Then And Now:
1 - You were able to choose any doctor you wanted to see. You still can if you can find one who will see you, since the vast majority of them are already overloaded with patients.
2 – You were able to see as many other doctors of your choice for second, third, fourth and more opinions. Refer to point 1.
3 – All testing was FREE. So were X-Rays. They still are, if you don’t mind waiting months for the appointment and then hours in line to get the tests.
4 – All Specialists were covered. So were operations and rehabilitation. They still are if you can get hold of a Specialist and get a non-emergency operation within a year.
To sum it up best – Healthcare in Canada was, and to a great extent is still FROM CRADLE TO GRAVE. And when it works it’s fabulous.
Until recently, it was AGAINST THE LAW in most Canadian provinces for Doctors to charge for any kind of diagnosis and/or procedure. It was also against the law to have any form of private clinics including Radiology.
In effect, Canada’s Healthcare policies leveled the playing field between the haves and the have-nots by making everyone equal.
So here’s how it has worked-out:
1 – Because Doctors cannot set their own rates for services rendered, many of our best Doctors have left Canada. Many of our graduating Doctors are choosing to Intern outside of Canada, or do their Internship in Canada and then leave.
2 – It is becoming more and more difficult to even recruit Doctors, let alone Specialists, Surgeons and Radiologists.
3 – Because of our so-called FREE Healthcare, Canadians are taxed to the hilt - NOTHING IS FREE, at least not to the people who actually earn money and pay taxes.
4 – Because it is perceived to be FREE, people, especially people who pay little to nothing into the system, with nothing better to do, swamp the offices of Doctors, Clinics, Healthcare Centers and Emergency Rooms.
5 – Because it’s supposedly FREE, it often takes weeks to see a family doctor. And too often, it takes months to a year or MORE to see a Specialist or Surgeon unless your condition is critical.
And that’s when you generally wind-up at an ER.
6 – Because its FREE, or so people think, people with time on their hands run to doctors with everything from loneliness to a headache to a hangnail.
The Canadian system is so popular, that it has become unavailable, so much so, that I see an ENT Specialist in Potsdam NY to whom I pay cash for a procedure I can get for FREE in Canada.
So what’s the good in having something for FREE, when you have to wait between 3 to 6 months for a procedure you need NOW?
I like the idea that healthcare in Canada is accessible to everyone. But it’s no longer working the way it was supposed to.
Because of the overload of demand with diminishing people-resources in Canada, people such as myself travel to the USA for procedures that are not timely in Canada. And there are quite a few of us.
Until recently, Anne and I made donations to our Montreal Hospital of choice. But, when I try to make an appointment, and am sent to the back of the line with everyone else, or show up for treatment and wait in the halls for hours, also at the back of the line, I have to wonder:
What am I donating money for if it buys me nothing? I’m already been taxed through the nose for Public Healthcare, so why should I voluntarily pay more for other people to receive that, which is denied to me?
I know for a FACT that I am amongst the very few in those lines who donate anything. So why bother?
The answer is that we’ve STOPPED bothering.
We now donate money to the small rural Ontario Hospital where we live. And set whatever money we would otherwise have donated in abeyance for services that we will use South of our border.
We are certain that we are not the only people to have come to this conclusion.
As a result of supposedly FREE Healthcare in Canada, private facilities are now popping-up everywhere with either the governments’ blessings or a blind-eye.
Some doctors have totally opted-out of the Public System in Quebec, meaning that once they’re out, THEY’RE OUT, since there’s no going back and forth.
And for Anne and myself: Our family Doctor of almost 30 years who is located in a small rural Quebec community near the Ontario border will soon introduce a new policy.
If we want to be GUARANTEED an appointment with him, or one of his partners on the same day we call, all we have to do is pay an annual fee to be moved to the front of the line. WE WILL PAY THE FEE.
That’s where our FREE Canadian Healthcare system is going, which is in the opposite direction to where America is headed,
There’s also a great big difference between what we have in Canada to what the US LEFTISTS are pushing for in Congress and the White House.
Our Government Paid Healthcare is a Provincial responsibility that has very little to no Federal Government Involvement. There are no quotas; there are no government procedure panels. And there is no government to doctor to patient intervention.
There is no question that the American system needs to be reworked. But, why kill something that is really good, only because it’s not perfect?
As far as the Canadian system is concerned, it does not cover Medications, Dental or Ophthalmology, which are generally covered in American Insurance Plans.
If you take into consideration the taxes we pay in Canada, and our much higher Canadian cost of living in comparison to America’s, and that we have to pay for prescription drugs, dental and ophthalmology, our system probably costs as much if not MORE than the current US system that provides care and service for 85% of the American population.
That said: Canada’s Public System can be made GREAT with nothing more than a little more PRIVATE and a lot less PUBLICLY FREE.
And America’s system can be made MUCH BETTER simply by changing it as the Republicans have suggested. Open State-border competition. Tort reform. Policy transportability. Tax deductions on insurance policy costs. And removal of caps, and pre-existing conditions that can be filtered through a government subsidy to the Insurers.
There is a 24-minute audio associated with this editorial that gives more information about Canada’s Healthcare System that all Americans REALLY should know.
To hear the audio - Just click on the Radio Icon at the top of this page.
Best Regards . . . Howard Galganov