Canadians: How do you like your health care system?

alex_ant

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Feb 5, 2002
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It's obvious to anyone with a brain that the health care system is in the US is horribly broken, with something like 40 million people uninsured, massive costs, people trying to import prescription drugs from other countries, HMOs that compromise quality of care, etc. I think the Left in the US would ideally like to institute a Canada-style single-payer system, but do not pursue this because they view it as impossible to get done given that the Republicans are in control. Everything I've heard Canadians say about their own system has been a rave, and apparently even conservative Canadians like their system. Everything negative I've heard about it has come from the Cato Institute or other U.S. right-wing source which describes it as "socialized medicine" (which it isn't) under which people "often die waiting months for treatment" (is this true?) So what's the story, Canadians? And to Americans: what do you think about health-care reform, either to a Canadian-style system or some other kind of system? I'm already aware of the benefits and alleged drawbacks of a single-payer system but if you don't support one, why not?

I will disclose beforehand that I am inclined to view Canada's health care system rather favorably, although all I know about it is what I've read.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
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Republic of Ukistan
I know you're only kidding, but what is it with this identification of "commie" with "liberal" over there? The two philosophies have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
 

mactastic

macrumors 68040
Apr 24, 2003
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skunk said:
I know you're only kidding, but what is it with this identification of "commie" with "liberal" over there? The two philosophies have absolutely nothing to do with each other.
They are synonomous here. As is 'socialist' 'environmentalist' and 'elitist'. You may also substitute 'Volvo driver' 'latte drinker' 'card-carrying-member-of-the-ACLU' or 'sushi eater'. Such is the branding power of the right wing media machine.
 

skunk

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Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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Republic of Ukistan
mactastic said:
They are synonomous here. As is 'socialist' 'environmentalist' and 'elitist'. You may also substitute 'Volvo driver' 'latte drinker' 'card-carrying-member-of-the-ACLU' or 'sushi eater'. Such is the branding power of the right wing media machine.
No wonder your politicians don't make any sense.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
OK, I'll weigh in.
If I am injured or take sick, any hospital in Canada will treat me, I don't have to prove I have a private insurance plan or a platinum card. My government medical premiums were $108 a month for a family of 4. People on reduced income pay less, under $20,000 income pay nothing.
http://www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoben/premium.html

We do have waiting lists -- not very often for anything critical. Some diagnostics and medical imaging have waits, which arguably could affect health is something remains undetected for additional days or weeks. However, I was able to get a scan done within about five days of the appointment. Optional procedures sometimes have months-long waits. This is due to an overall shortage of funding in the system. Example: You may wait 6 months for a surgical spot for hip replacement surgery, but then it's free.

("Often die while waiting months for treatment" - Utter rot. Propagandists can make a generality out of any isolated snippets of information, regardless if they are true in general or the specific. Has anyone ever died in Canada while waiting for surgery. Probably, although even one death is one death too many. Was the wait unreasonable and the proximate cause of death? Unlikely. Does it happen often, or even occasionally? Absolutely not. Exercise: Compare with the number of people who have died in the US while being transferred from one hospital to another when they weren't accepted for admittance at the nearest hospital...)

I would like to see more preventative medicine / proactive healthy living programmes in place - this will reduce the load on the medical system - we are slowly creeping our way towards that.

But what I have seen of other medical systems (I have seen them in the US and in Greece), I would not trade the Canadian system for any other.
 

alex_ant

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Feb 5, 2002
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CanadaRAM said:
OK, I'll weigh in.
If I am injured or take sick, any hospital in Canada will treat me, I don't have to prove I have a private insurance plan or a platinum card. My government medical premiums were $108 a month for a family of 4. People on reduced income pay less, under $20,000 income pay nothing.
http://www.healthservices.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoben/premium.html

We do have waiting lists -- not very often for anything critical. Optional procedures sometimes have months-long waits. This is due to an overall shortage of funding in the system. Example: You may wait 6 months for a surgical spot for hip replacement surgery, but then it's free.

("Often die while waiting months for treatment" - Utter rot. Propagandists can make a generality out of any isolated snippets of information, regardless if they are true in general or the specific. Has anyone ever dies in Canada while waiting for surgery. Probably, although even one death is one death too many. Was the wait unreasonable and the proximate cause of death? Unlikely. Does it happen often, or even occasionally? Absolutely not. Exercise: Compare with the number of people who have died in the US while being transferred from one hospital to another when they weren't accepted for admittance at the nearest hospital...)

I would like to see more preventative medicine / proactive healthy living programmes in place - this will reduce the load on the medical system - we are slowly creeping our way towards that.

But what I have seen of other medical systems (I have seen them in the US and in Greece), I would not trade the Canadian system for any other.
I understand completely. But how can you submit to all this without being a socialist liberal pinko commie bastard? I mean it makes too much SENSE. It works too well. There's gotta be a catch. What is it???? Surely your health care system must crush your freedoms in some way??? Help terrorists? Coddle dictators? Punish the wealthy? Somehow?? Please explain for the benefit of the U.S. conservatives and libertarians in the audience who would vehemently oppose this type of (seemingly pragmatic but, I'm sure, secretly sinister) system.
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
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alex_ant said:
Please explain for the benefit of the U.S. conservatives and libertarians in the audience who would vehemently oppose this type of (seemingly pragmatic but, I'm sure, secretly sinister) system.
What would be the point? You can't hear anything when your head is stuck up your own arse.
 
US healthcare will not move to "socialist" medicine because too many people stand to lose financially. Doctors, drug companies, and in particular the insurance industry would be lose too much money. That is where all the propaganda comes from and most republicans and conservative believe it because they don't want a socialized system to be better than a free market. That and the people that make most of these decisions have never had to worry about how to pay their medical bills and those same people have a hard time caring whether 40 million other people have can go to the doctor or not.
 

fistful

macrumors 6502a
Mar 29, 2004
892
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Socan
I don't really have a problem with it but then I've been relatively healthy so far.


alex_ant, you forgot "bleeding heart"...
 

alex_ant

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If the conservatives in the house won't step up and argue it then I will

This is what you hear in the U.S.:

http://www.pacificresearch.org/pub/sab/health/speech_sally.html
http://www.effwa.org/opeds/2004_05_27b.php

The Canadian single-payer system offers only a false promise for what ails governments, patients, and doctors. Today, after 30 years of government intervention, the Canadian system suffers from long waiting times for critical procedures, lack of access to current technology, increasing costs to taxpayers and patients, and a brain drain of doctors, who head south for better working conditions and more money.
When it comes to health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP, Canada ranks highest out of the 28 industrialized OECD (2) nations included in the survey. Canadian taxpayers are not getting a very good deal for this expenditure.

Canada ranks in the bottom half of the nations in the study when it comes to life expectancy. Twenty-seven percent of Canadians report waiting four months or more for non-emergency surgery for themselves or a family member. Forty-four percent of Canadians reported that it was somewhat difficult or extremely difficult to access a specialist when needed. The survey revealed that Canadians with low incomes are more likely to have difficulties seeing a specialist, the opposite of what single-payer advocates in the US claim to want.

When looking at accessibility to physicians and availability of medical technology, the Canadian study is also troubling. Canada ranks in the bottom half of the OECD nations in the number of physicians, MRI machines, CT scanners, and lithotriptors (ultrasound) per capita. In fact, Canada tied for last place when it came to the number of lithotriptors available (.4 machines per million Canadians). The Czech Republic, Turkey and Luxembourg have more lithotriptors per capita than Canada -- not exactly the nations that come to mind as a place you want to be if you have a major medical emergency.

This report hardly paints the picture of affordability, access and quality that single-payer fans in the US want to make us believe exists in Canada. As the report authors themselves found, private health care and user "ownership" over health care choices is the key to more cost-effective and customer driven results. In that case, we had better run towards consumer directed health plans and health savings accounts as fast as we can.
I particularly like the health savings accounts idea, as I happen to have just enough cash in my life savings to be able to afford a splint for a broken finger (although I would have to put the ER visit itself on a credit card). Surely if all taxes and government regulations and frivolous lawsuits were eliminated, the free market would burst forth like an unbridled stallion, raining money into my savings account, while health care costs simultaneously plumetted due to the increased efficiency.
 
Regardless of whether this information about Canada is true or not,let's take a look at the systems in the UK or France or one of numerous other countries that seem to make this system work. Surely Canada is not the most successful.

We don't even have to move to "socialized" medicine, the 300 some odd billion that has been spent in Iraq/Afganistan would probably pay the health insurance premiums for every US citizen this year.
 

Thanatoast

macrumors 65816
Dec 3, 2002
1,005
134
Denver
Why should I pay for somebody else's healthcare? Just because they didn't plan ahead doesn't mean that i should give up my hard-earned income. I work hard for my bread and my insurance premium. If someone else can't work hard enough to earn that, why should the onus fall on me?

It's like theivery. Everybody loves Robin Hood, but what if he came to *your* hosue? He wouldn't be quite so popular if he stole from *you*, would he?

Even if the costs worked themselves out to be cheaper with this socialized medicine system, I would still be against it. It's the principle. Making someone better-off pay for someone unlucky enough to be stuck working at Taco Bell is wrong, regarless of whether the well-off person can "afford" it.

The unlucky person should pull himself up by his bootstraps and get a better job, or more education. There's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. We have tons of technical, vocational, 2- and 4-year colleges who would love to teach that person new skills. Any number of people have done it in the past. Why not this generation? Are they just lazy? Expecting a free ride?

Life is only as tough as you yourself make it out to be. Dedication and hard work will get you as far as you want to go. If an individual only wants to work hard enough to get a fast-food job with no insurance, then they can do so without my pity and without my taxes.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Gotta pick up some of those ones

> Canadian system suffers from ... increasing costs to taxpayers and patients

Doh! and here I thought medical costs were going up in other countries too. Only in Canada are costs increasing ?!? Gonna have to move.

> Canada tied for last place when it came to the number of lithotriptors

Wrong metric. Why don't you count whether there is a deficit in the demand vs. supply of procedures, rather than counting the machines? Not saying there isn't a deficit in some communities of some types of advanced equipment.

> private health care and user "ownership" over health care choices is the key to more cost-effective and customer driven results.

Private health care = private profits. I submit there is far more waste in the private system. Look at the relative cost of procedures and hospital stays.
User ownership is a code word for "pay for it yourself and the devil take the hindmost"

> Canada ranks in the bottom half of the nations in the study when it comes to life expectancy

That is a truly misleading statement. I am going to make a study of the top 4 math students in your class. I find that the scores are 99, 98, 97 and 96. Your score was 97, so I conclude you are the bottom half of all students in the study when it comes to mathematical abilities.

The true story is that Canada is variously listed as 7th to 11th in the entire world at L.E. of 79.4 years. USA is back in the 30th or 40th position, at 77.1 years. (US Census Bureau data)

http://geography.about.com/library/weekly/aa042000b.htm

> When it comes to health care expenditures as a percentage of GDP, Canada ranks highest out of the 28 industrialized OECD nations included in the survey. Canadian taxpayers are not getting a very good deal for this expenditure.

Right. Other countries spend far less taxpayer dollars on medicine, and their population pays $1000's or $tens of thousands a year on private medical insurance. And the lower X% of the population simply do not get medical services. Wanna bet that the insurance expenditures were not calculated into the statement above?

I find the cynical manipulation of information to influence opinion to be so... cynical.
 

CanadaRAM

macrumors G5
Thanatoast said:
Why should I pay for somebody else's healthcare? Just because they didn't plan ahead doesn't mean that i should give up my hard-earned income. I work hard for my bread and my insurance premium. If someone else can't work hard enough to earn that, why should the onus fall on me?

It's like theivery. Everybody loves Robin Hood, but what if he came to *your* hosue? He wouldn't be quite so popular if he stole from *you*, would he?

Even if the costs worked themselves out to be cheaper with this socialized medicine system, I would still be against it. It's the principle. Making someone better-off pay for someone unlucky enough to be stuck working at Taco Bell is wrong, regarless of whether the well-off person can "afford" it.

The unlucky person should pull himself up by his bootstraps and get a better job, or more education. There's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. We have tons of technical, vocational, 2- and 4-year colleges who would love to teach that person new skills. Any number of people have done it in the past. Why not this generation? Are they just lazy? Expecting a free ride?

Life is only as tough as you yourself make it out to be. Dedication and hard work will get you as far as you want to go. If an individual only wants to work hard enough to get a fast-food job with no insurance, then they can do so without my pity and without my taxes.
Trying to decide whether this is serious.... satirical.... serious.... satirical....
(gives up)

If you look at this post as satire, it succeeds, splendidly.
 
Thanatoast said:
Why should I pay for somebody else's healthcare? Just because they didn't plan ahead doesn't mean that i should give up my hard-earned income. I work hard for my bread and my insurance premium. If someone else can't work hard enough to earn that, why should the onus fall on me?

It's like theivery. Everybody loves Robin Hood, but what if he came to *your* hosue? He wouldn't be quite so popular if he stole from *you*, would he?

Even if the costs worked themselves out to be cheaper with this socialized medicine system, I would still be against it. It's the principle. Making someone better-off pay for someone unlucky enough to be stuck working at Taco Bell is wrong, regarless of whether the well-off person can "afford" it.

The unlucky person should pull himself up by his bootstraps and get a better job, or more education. There's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. We have tons of technical, vocational, 2- and 4-year colleges who would love to teach that person new skills. Any number of people have done it in the past. Why not this generation? Are they just lazy? Expecting a free ride?

Life is only as tough as you yourself make it out to be. Dedication and hard work will get you as far as you want to go. If an individual only wants to work hard enough to get a fast-food job with no insurance, then they can do so without my pity and without my taxes.

I think I will call this the Middle Class Manisfesto
 

alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Original poster
Feb 5, 2002
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Thanatoast said:
Why should I pay for somebody else's healthcare? Just because they didn't plan ahead doesn't mean that i should give up my hard-earned income. I work hard for my bread and my insurance premium. If someone else can't work hard enough to earn that, why should the onus fall on me?

It's like theivery. Everybody loves Robin Hood, but what if he came to *your* hosue? He wouldn't be quite so popular if he stole from *you*, would he?

Even if the costs worked themselves out to be cheaper with this socialized medicine system, I would still be against it. It's the principle. Making someone better-off pay for someone unlucky enough to be stuck working at Taco Bell is wrong, regarless of whether the well-off person can "afford" it.

The unlucky person should pull himself up by his bootstraps and get a better job, or more education. There's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. We have tons of technical, vocational, 2- and 4-year colleges who would love to teach that person new skills. Any number of people have done it in the past. Why not this generation? Are they just lazy? Expecting a free ride?

Life is only as tough as you yourself make it out to be. Dedication and hard work will get you as far as you want to go. If an individual only wants to work hard enough to get a fast-food job with no insurance, then they can do so without my pity and without my taxes.
So you are opposed to all insurance, or just government-run insurance programs? Since under a single-payer system, you are not paying directly for anyone else's health care, but rather for insurance, just like the current U.S. system...
 

miloblithe

macrumors 68020
Nov 14, 2003
2,076
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Washington, DC
Thanatoast said:
Making someone better-off pay for someone unlucky enough to be stuck working at Taco Bell is wrong, regarless of whether the well-off person can "afford" it.

The unlucky person should pull himself up by his bootstraps and get a better job, or more education. There's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. We have tons of technical, vocational, 2- and 4-year colleges who would love to teach that person new skills. Any number of people have done it in the past. Why not this generation? Are they just lazy? Expecting a free ride?

Life is only as tough as you yourself make it out to be. Dedication and hard work will get you as far as you want to go. If an individual only wants to work hard enough to get a fast-food job with no insurance, then they can do so without my pity and without my taxes.
Think about what you're saying a little more and you'll realize that it makes absolutely no sense. Are you seriously saying we can have a nation where there are no service jobs? There is going to be a division of labor and there are going to be fast food jobs. It's a very misleading approach to look at it on an individual basis. Sure, any particular person in the fast food industry might be able to get a better job, but that doesn't change the fact that millions of people will work in the industry.

And more fundamentally, we need to respect each other a little more as human beings. There are people who are more successful and people who are less successful than anyone.
 

Peterkro

macrumors 68020
Aug 17, 2004
2,143
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Communard de Londres,Tiocfaidh ár lá
Thanatoast said:
Why should I pay for somebody else's healthcare? Just because they didn't plan ahead doesn't mean that i should give up my hard-earned income. I work hard for my bread and my insurance premium. If someone else can't work hard enough to earn that, why should the onus fall on me?

It's like theivery. Everybody loves Robin Hood, but what if he came to *your* hosue? He wouldn't be quite so popular if he stole from *you*, would he?

Even if the costs worked themselves out to be cheaper with this socialized medicine system, I would still be against it. It's the principle. Making someone better-off pay for someone unlucky enough to be stuck working at Taco Bell is wrong, regarless of whether the well-off person can "afford" it.

The unlucky person should pull himself up by his bootstraps and get a better job, or more education. There's no reason why that shouldn't be possible. We have tons of technical, vocational, 2- and 4-year colleges who would love to teach that person new skills. Any number of people have done it in the past. Why not this generation? Are they just lazy? Expecting a free ride?

Life is only as tough as you yourself make it out to be. Dedication and hard work will get you as far as you want to go. If an individual only wants to work hard enough to get a fast-food job with no insurance, then they can do so without my pity and without my taxes.
How very neanderthal of you.Best wishes paying for your own socialised services.I never before knew socialised could be used as a derogatory term,you learn something every day.
:confused:
 

skunk

macrumors G4
Jun 29, 2002
11,745
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Republic of Ukistan
Peterkro said:
How very neanderthal of you.Best wishes paying for your own socialised services.I never before knew socialised could be used as a derogatory term,you learn something every day.
:confused:
I think it's a wind-up. Anyway, homo sapiens neanderthalensis had a bigger brain than homo sapiens sapiens... :cool: