Monday, March 13, 2006

It'll Make You Sick

Did you know that in Canada you are prohibited by law from paying for medical services privately or purchasing any private medical insurance?

I did not know that.

If you find yourself with 25 minutes to spare, you may want to check out On the Fence Films and their short piece called "Dead Meat." Probably the most gut-wrenching aspect of the film is when they document the superior care for animals that is provided by Canada's veterinarian clinics juxtaposed to the people interviewed who wait and wait and wait for surgeries and specialized care.

I cannot believe that Canadians are not allowed even to purchase their own medical care. I mean, I knew that they have socialized medicine, but most countries with socialized medicine also allow private alternatives to co-exist.

It's amazing.


Andrea said...

I did know that about Canadian healthcare. Like you said, it's a disgrace.
My sister lives in England, which also has socialized medicine. She has "female difficulties" that she struggles with, and from what she's described to me about her clinic visits, I get the feeling that the system there is on the uncaring side. Not that American medicine is perfect, but the less governmental interference, the better.

Thanks for the video link. I'll go check it out right now.

Andrea said...

Ok, I just watched it. Pretty amazing. The folks on the street sure do love their publicly-funded system, but it seems to me that one would be luckier to be a dog than a person (especially an elderly one) in Canada.

Mind-boggling that they would be so insulted at the thought of paying a doctor directly for a valuable service. I'd rather do that than die from lack of treatment, especially the relatively simple procedures! That's a crying shame.

Carole said...

When I told my parents that I was going to marry an American, they assumed that we would live in Canada, primarily because medical "costs so much in the US." Their fear was that we would never be able to afford medical coverage (especially with a hundred kids, you know)!

It struck me that there are a few million people here and they seem to be doing just fine!

I have enjoyed federal healthcare my whole life, without ever being concerned about whether or not I could afford it. (Canadians pay on a sliding scale, up to a fairly low maximum amount. The most I ever paid monthly for medical was $75 for a family of 3). During the poverty-stricken single parenting days, there were times I was extremely grateful for it. I have never required a procedure that was not performed quite promptly. The waits that people now experience are a relatively new thing - new in the last decade, that is.

Now that I have lived here in the US for a few years, I find that I trust God in this area more. We have had no coverage at all for the past 4 months, and won't have any for another 2 months. I simply pray that nothing requires a trip to the doctor, or that it will be covered if we do. Even when we do have coverage, I avoid the doctor unless we are dying.

Parts of Canada now have a co-pay, and a few other 'American' type issues are creeping into the system. It bodes ill for a national system. I think it's crumbling. I will miss the reasonable prices on prescriptions and some procedures. I will miss the lack of legal activity around the medical field. Otherwise, the system is now failing the people of Canada, and it needs to be replaced. It is one of the most costly social programs, and it no longer works.

Carole said...

BTW - my oldest daughter was born in Vancouver General - which is on the video. Wild. People sometimes have to birth in the hallways there. I never had to. I did, however, look over to see about 30 people watching the birth. Didn't know what a teaching hospital was before that. Ugh.

Justine said...

Carole, why do you think that the waiting times have increased so drastically over recent years? Has the population increased dramatically, or is it a phenomenon similar to the U.S. where the life expectancy has placed unforeseen burdens on social programs and medical care?

Carole said...

The latter - that and the fact that the population is not large, and has not dramatically taken off, but the expectations are high. We have a tiny population, a huge country and American standards, derived from watching American television and increased travel abroad. I think there are some of the same struggles in the European and Middle Eastern countries as well. We get American television and think that everyone should be able to live like that. To some extent, the problem is also here. Not everyone can have wonderful houses and lavish foods, or to expect cars at certain ages, and so on.

Canadians don't have the money to support the infastructure of medical, educational nor political entities. They have grown larger than the foundation can support and in a smaller population this will collapse faster than in a larger, wealthier one.

Watch closely though. Don't let institutionalized anything into your lives without a fight. Even our telephone company was provincial-controlled when I was young. Within my lifetime, all of this has become a VERY large and costly problem. My own childhood was very simple. Expectations were much lower. Maybe I'll do a bit of a blog about "the stories I could tell, huh?"

An American, a Mexican, and a Canadian get to Heaven. St. Peter tells each of them that it'll cost them $200 to get in. The American pays and up he goes. When he gets there God asks him where the others are. "Well," said the American, "The Mexican is trying to get the price reduced, and the Canadian is waiting for the government to cut a check!"

Billy D said...

I think they outlawed buying your own, as it would then provide the rich, or at least better off, with a better private system than the public death lottery they now run. Gotta be fair. It sucks, but at least it sucks for everyone, right?

Justine said...

Wait a second, here ... there are rich people in Canada?

Ha! Ha! I kid because I love. I do love Canada.

But, truly, that was the part that surprised me the most. I can sort of understand having a national basic healthcare system. I do not agree with it in principle, and I hope that that never comes to pass here in the U.S., but I can understand it. What I cannot understand is not allowing private medicine to function alongside government medicine. It would take a huge burden off the system, and probably get care more quickly to the vulnerable poor.

But, like you said, Billy, spreading misery is good, so long as it is equally spread.

CrazyJo said...

I haven't had healthcare since my son was born, and that was the first time I'd used it in years. I'm with you Carole, I generally have to be dying. The only reason I used it that time was because our midwife actually took insurance. Woo hoo!
People get so reliant upon government. It's good to have to rely upon the Lord, even when it's hard.

Carole said...

Billy D - that is really the thinking - and it has been stated as such. The rich get proper medical and the average on down get garbage. For a very long time everyone was treated well. Once it started downhill, it has gone rather

Pablo said...

Luckily, the healthcare system is about to undergo a major change here in Canada. It can't be run as it has been for the last 30 years, despite what the Liberals have been saying since the 80's. Doctors and nurses are abused in order to prop up the sacred cow of healthcare, and you can just imagine what happens to patients as a result.