What seems to be a big deal to many users of the communist european healthcare models (i.e. pretty much free for all, to various extents) is waiting lines and patient choice (2nd opinion etc.) - whilst it seems to me that the usian debate is much more focused on cost.
I was sped through triage once when I had the stomach flu. They had an absolute shit when they took my bp, and got me on an IV almost immediately (and later told me I had been a few hours away from death).
When my ex had a terrible abcess one weekend (read: regular doctor offices not open), we sat for 6 hours before he got a bed. It wasn't an immediate danger, etc.
It's all complicated by the fact that most people in the ER don't have anywhere else to go (either due to no insurance or it's after hours), so there's a long line. It's less an "emergency room" and more of a catch-all.
I've said injury, but the same is true of general illness, mental or otherwise.
It's astounding that people have to make a choice about whether an issue is serious enough to warrant a visit. A year ago I was involved in a road accident on my bike, and I chose to walk five minutes to the hospital rather than wait for an ambulance because that'd be taking an ambulance that someone in dire straights might need. I fully admit the commie thinking behind it, but is that so bad?
If my right hand and various fingers are cut to ribbons and bleeding heavily, I'll go to hospital all the same, thanks.
i have never seen or heard of anyone in canada not getting medical services they needed, other than weird situations where the police let someone die in a cell overnight or relatives not being willing to drive granny to the doctors and not beleiving when she says to call the ambulance.
i've had to wait in emerge for hours sometimes, if i am merely sick and others with more pressing concerns came in ahead of me.
there were complaints about the user pay insurance fees for alberta i heard when i was out there, but that wasn't about the actual medical service, more about the way they decided how much you should pay monthly.
That's not to say it's perfect, or anything near it. MRI waiting lists are infamous in Canada (although I've wondered if the people complaining of them really need them urgently -- I have no idea), and if you're in the ER with something that isn't a genuine emergency you're going to be in for a long wait. From "the inside", too, while volunteering at hospitals, I've seen "the system" fail people in really terrible ways. Offhand, it's never been something that different funding could fix, although it's quite possible I'm forgetting an incident.
I think I'm a lot more sympathetic to the American healthcare system than most Canadians are, and I can understand many of the objections to government run (in one way or another) healthcare. That it "doesn't work", though -- in any real sense -- just doesn't match my experience."These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
"the only reason we PMS is because our uterus is screaming at our brain to go out, get fucked, and have a baby ... and it makes us angry."
But it is all done with a please and thank you and a hug.
I've got a friend who says that all [fill in ethnic group or race of people etc etc] are [fill in something controversial - pro abortion, jew haters, etc etc] and I was just wondering what you think about this?
That said - it is interesting to hear what other people from other countries think about their healthcare systems - perhaps she needs to rephrase the question and maybe learn to disregard friends who make broad-sweeping statements that are patently false.
Warmest regards, --Your best pal Bob
How's my blogging: Call me at 209.867.5309 to complain.
Now, if I assume most of them are as well off as he is, money is not an issue for those people, so their view point would probably differ from many other Canadians.
When I said that most of the people I know from Canada (a much smaller subset, a few from college, and the opinions I have read here) seem to be happy with the system and feel that the Canadian system is better, his rebutal was how old are most of them, and what types of procedures are of concern to them? And stated that while the health care in the US tends to be more expensive, it's much, much better, and more timely than that in Canada.
And in his opinion, if he's going to have to pay for any advanced treatment regardless of where he lives, he'd rather it not go through the government.
So for younger people, a lot of the issue is who and how it gets paid for, and not necessarily the actual quality of the treatment (since young people rarely have to actually deal with health care).
For my self, I really don't have a well informed opinion of how things actually are. Just how I think they could be.
I am not totally sold on that. When you read some of the loony anti-vax/chelation type message boards, you'll often see "I had to try 12 doctors before I found one that would agree that the CIA are controlling my brain".
To a lesser extent, what about someone who shops around for a doctor who wont tell them "your knees hurt because you're overweight".
(I seem to remember making this post before somewhere)christ, we're all old now - StackyMcRacky
A few years ago I was in a bad car accident (2 broken bones, one of them a compound fracture, assorted soft tissue damage) and got looked after quickly and efficiently. The guy on the other side of the hospital room was in the orthopedics ward with a badly broken ankle (incurred falling off the deck while drunk) and he complained about having to wait around for hours before surgery. The difference was that he wasn't in any danger, they examined him pretty quickly but just gave him a low priority.
Is the system overloaded? Yes, but I think they do a good job of triage.
I am entitled to a family doctor, in practice I'm entitled to search for a family doctor who's got room for more patients. This can be quite hard in rural areas, new doctors don't want to set up shop in the back woods.
Getting a family doctor, on the other hand, unless you happen to be pregnant, can be pretty difficult. When I moved to Quebec and told A2 that I kind of wanted to find a family doctor, she said that when she told her mom (who works in the health care industry), she laughed at me. On the other hand, once you have one, the service tends to be similar to the above mentioned dentistry service.
Anecdotally, when I was hit by a car and broke my arm, the service at the fracture clinic for regular checkups was horrible. If I had an appointment at, say, 10am, and got there at 9:30 or so, I wouldn't expect to see the doctor until at least 2-3pm, in most cases. It was frustrating and annoying, but given a choice between that and an american style system, I'd take the waiting any day.
Another thing worth noting is that health care in Canada is a provincial responsibility. There is no "Canadian Health Care System", there's one in Alberta, another one in Ontario, another one in BC, one in Quebec, one in New Brunswick, etc. They're all pretty similar in what they cost/cover, but they also have different priorities and your experience is largely going to vary depending on where you are (in addition to the province, whether you're in an urban, suburban, or rural area is going to have a huge impact.)
Unrelatedly, but as long as we're on the topic of Canadian health care: This is one of my favourite movies. You should totally watch it.--Vive le Montréal libre.
However, for all of the complaining that Canadians might do, there is a near-universal fear and abhorrence of the US model, where one of the most common causes of bankruptcy is health care costs, and people who cannot afford treatment are not cared for. I don't know a single person who wants to deal with private health care.
Apart from a few of the wealthy (some folks in the upper 5th-10th percentile of incomes), then there is little desire to change to a US model. While some governments talk about setting up a two-tier model, it already exists in a sense - the wealthy are free to skip Canadian queues and fly to the Mayo Clinic or wherever, and pay for their treatment in the US.
Even the centrist and right-wing parties in Canada are smart enough to leave the current health care model alone. Messing with the Canada Health Act is a sure-fire way to find yourself sitting on the opposition benches after the next election, and it would trigger an immediate election for any minority government.
The US is different. Not only is each party required to work a specific way on abortion (I think the Republicans are rightfully terrified of being forced to choose between keeping the base or the moderates), but the last I heard, Sarah Palin was against all forms of effective birth control (both the Pill and IUD can allow conception, but prevent implantation).
The Left seems to be going through the motions of working for a canadian-like system. I wonder why nobody seems to be asking what would W. Bush have done with a public health care system if he had inherited one?
Anyway, at the time of the court decision several provinces refused to fund abortion. Those provinces were eventually pwned in court, and forced to fund abortions.
But that was years ago, these days it's a dead issue. Our right-wing politicians absolutely won't talk about abortion, for fear of being identified with American right-wing politicians.
re: Catholic, Quebec is mostly French-speaking, and they all identify themselves as Catholic, but it's what I call cultural Catholicism, part of their history and their identity, not everyday life and decision-making. In practice, Quebec is post-religious.
Canada as a whole isn't as religious as the US, and the religious lobby is weaker and less organized.
i have a bunch of anecdotes i could share. i've been in and out of my share of canadian emergency rooms and operating rooms.
i would have complained about a hundred inconsequential things if you had posted this diary two years ago. but now that i've lived in the usa for two years...
---I don't think anyone's ever really died from smoking. --ni