Health Care

It seems like healthcare has always been a popular subject of conversation. I’ve often been asked about the Canadian system since moving here. Last week a fellow Twitter, Patrick, linked to this excellent blog post about the Canadian health care system. His conclusions really emphasizes the difference between the capitalist and socialist approaches.

So next time someone goes off on Canadians-in-line to you, remember: the question they’re facing is whether to allow the rich to pole vault over the poor. America looked at that calculus and chose the rich; our poor don’t have mere waiting times to face, many of them simply can’t get any non-emergency medical care. That doesn’t happen in Canada, and it doesn’t happen because their system is aimed at never letting it happen.

The post also has links to his reviews of the French and British systems. Plus there is this post with a brief overview and comparision of the Canadian, French, British, German, and Veterans Health Administration systems.

From my personal experience and from what I’ve heard, the system in Canada can be hard to get into, but once you’re in you are treated very well. The wait times at the clinic or the emergency room can be ridiculous. Plus they can be very unfriendly and put-off on that first visit. But I’ve found that follow-up visits are very pleasant. Hint: to avoid waiting times at the clinic, get there a half hour to an hour before they open. Yes, you have to wait that time before they open, but you won’t spend the rest of your day in the waiting room among the coughing, sneezing, and oozing masses. Plus, during the summer it’s better to go on days with bad weather. You avoid the crowd trying to play sick and get a nice sunny day off work.

Although I have been here now for five years, I do not have my own doctor. Though that is primarily because I really haven’t tried to hunt one down. Part of that is due to the impression that you’d be hard pressed to find one and also because I’ve been poked and prodded through various visits to the clinic and for immigration purposes that I figured they’d find something if there were something wrong. For instance, I was going to the clinic almost weekly to treat a wart on my foot and the doctor gladly gave me a physical with a blood work-up when I asked during one of my visits. That said, I should likely try to find one.

If I had to choose a system, I would choose the one in Canada. I believe everyone should be covered in the same way that everyone should be able to get a good education. Measure of wealth should not determine who gets better coverage. Luxury should be reserved for the more elective parts of life.


~ by Frank on November 3, 2008.

3 Responses to “Health Care”

  1. I’ll never understand the hostility in the U.S. toward any form of public health care, nor am I against supplementary private health care in Canada. Most countries have a mix of both, just as we have public/private education, public/private legal representation, why not have the choice of both?

    On principle, I prefer to go with public system, even if we did use a private clinic for some of Kerry’s pre-natal tests during her pregnancy. But the idea that publically funded health care is somehow un-American just baffles me.

  2. The devil in health care in Canada.

    As a graduate from the School of Business, Lakehead University, (made famous by the slogan, Yale Shmale in reference to President Bush), I was taught in part by the current chair of the Thunder Bay Regional Hospital Board, a Mr. Ron Nelson, who taught me systems theory.

    The key to Canada’s Health Care Crisis, in particular the doctor shortage, and the long line ups for treatments hinges on a combination of factors that create and promote ineffeicies and ineffective treatments.

    First the health system is not a true public system. It serves the public, it is funded by the public, yet most all services are provided by private entities that profit from disease. The devil lies in this often ignored detail.

    Let us look at the countries in the world who have better health systems. They pay their doctors annual fee per patient or are on a salary system. This allows doctors and the system to focus on quickly and efficiently treating, not only symptoms, but core causal factors and promoting prevention.

    There is a secondary problem caused by the ‘payment system – fee per service” is that doctors are not guaranteed an income. If a doctor cures a patient or if the patient remains healthy, or there is an excess of doctors, each doctor loses part of his or her income. A paradoxical effect that complicates problems as is evident in the USA health care system which while not publically funded has most all its services provided by the private entities as in Canada. The World Health Organization ranked the USA health system 36th in the world, Canada 30th, while Italy a more socialized health care system ranked in the top two. When was the last time ‘the experts’ mentioned a comparision to Italy ?

    The current payment system in fact penalizes good doctors, and good results.

    So as a start let us, the public and politicians understand that Canada’s Health Care system can learn from other countries in the world, most notably Cuba and Italy. By having a more efficient and effective health system would not only provide us with better health, but would provide more financial resources for the people of this country to spend on other ‘goods and services’.

    Caesar J. B. Squitti H. B. Commerce

  3. How can the US system be 36th when over 20% have no health insurance of any kind? At least here, everyone has access to medical care.

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