Oh Canada! Health care… 6

We are going to be hearing more and more about health care systems as the Obama administration and Congress try and sort this mess out. Many have pointed to Canada’s system as a model. But a model of what? I came across this post from a cartoonist I read (warning: the strip can be a bit rude) who is a Canadian and thought I would share some of it with you.

In 2007, documentary director Michael Moore released his latest film, entitled “Sicko”. The premise of the doc was to compare the American health care industry to other nations, including Canada.

As a proud Canadian myself (eh?), I was forced to watch in disbelief as Moore painted the Canadian health care system as something other countries should aspire to. At several points during this segment, I kept waiting for a Unicorn to come out into the waiting room to announce that Cancer had been cured, and a free vaccine was now available to all.

At no cost, of course.

I feel the need to set a few things straight, and also to point my fellow countrymen to a site where they may be actually able to help affect some change.

The bottom line to the Canadian Health Care system is this: You get what you pay for.

With that in mind, this is the reality: It is absolutely impossible to get yourself a family doctor. A 5 hour wait in the Emergency Waiting Room is considered a brief stay. Government run means government bureaucracy. You will still pay for certain things, any thing that the government can cut out to trim their budget (Ie, a doctor’s note for school to explain why you missed class can cost you 10$). Need any kind of specific test or scan? You’ll get it, within 6 months to 2 years.

By Ryan Sohmer.


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6 thoughts on “Oh Canada! Health care…

    • Chris Brady Post author

      I suppose it all depends upon what the cost is, i.e., what do you get for $X? We have been very fortunate to have pretty good healthcare with the universities or which I have worked so births, for example, were covered. There is little doubt that getting healthcare to as many people as possible should be a goal (one that the current proposal in Congress would not achieve even with its trillions of dollars price tag, some tens of millions will still be without coverage after 10 years according to the official I heard on NPR last week. That is more a question of payment rather than the care received, a distinction that I think is often lost in this debate.

  • Don Fines

    I am a Canadian and have used the health care system recently. It is not the horror that many Americans describe our health care system. True you may wait long time in hospital emergency if you have a minor health problem. If you have a more serious health problem you are seen quickly. True if takes time to find a family doctor but if you make an effort you can find one. We also have many walk in clinics for people with routine health issues. If you are poor you can see a medical doctor, see a medical specialist and receive hospital treatment free. While I get frustrated with our medical system which is far from perfect, I would be more scared living in U.S. fearing I will become bankrupt if have have a chronic medical condition or do not have employer medical benefits should I become seriously ill. I feel it is not Christian to support a system that does not care for the poor. Many of problems in our system are in fact caused by doctors who are independent businessmen trying to maximize their income.

    • Chris Brady Post author

      Don, that was why I posted that other story, the author is a Canadian so his experience was more relevant that from someone “outside.” In my four years in England we had very mixed experiences. My wife was 6 months pregnant with our first child when we moved back to the US and she ended up having a very difficult delivery that ended in a c-section. All went well and was covered by Tulane’s insurance policy, but a year before we left the UK one of our friends had a similar difficult delivery and ended up with horrible injuries because the docs did a poor job of the c-section. A case of a bad doc or the system? I don’t know, it is all anecdote.

      Certainly for those without healthcare coverage it is a moot point, some (good) care is better than none. I too believe that as Christians we are called to care for the poor and the needy but is the best mechanism through the government? Just because someone supports a non-universal healthcare model doesn’t mean they are not living up to their Christian calling (not caring about others does, however). I think the question is and ought to be how to get the best care for the most and judging by other programs I am not sure the government is the best solution. (But I could be persuaded otherwise).

  • Rick Wright

    It is no secret to Chris that politically I am “conservative”. (Actually I am a centrist with libertarian leanings – but during the Obama presidency that makes me very conservative.) During my family’s 5 years in the UK we occasionally used the national health care system – but am pretty sure we had private as well. My memories are vague (what does a teenager know?) but what I recall is that is was neither awful nor great.

    Where I differ from some “conservatives” is that – with Chris – I think universal health care (really – what we mean here is health insurance/coverage) is a great goal. My concerns are: what is it going to cost? how will it affect quality?

    The one thing that needs to be addressed badly is the situation where health coverage (excuse me – insurance) is tied to having a good job with benefits. If you lose your job or even just want to leave your current one – you got a serious problem. (We know about COBRA and have been there done that. It is danged expensive.) Charles Krauthammer also focuses on the problem of tying health insurance to employment – and has some ideas about a possible solution.