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http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/07/21/...ealth-care.html

I read this article on the CBC and at first my knee jerk reaction was to get my back up about the issue. I mean honestly what could be more un-Canadian than going to the states and defaming our national institution of universal healthcare? It’s a veritable bastion of liberalism, the crown jewel in our self proclaimed moral superiority over our neighbors to the south. Now suffice it to say I don’t precisely agree with the way she went about it, I mean how very rude to air our dirty laundry on the international stage. Be that as it may it certainly caught some media attention.

Now you would be hard pressed to find a Canadian that does not agree with some level of universal health care, after all it’s been with us since the 60’s and its all most of us have ever known. But what you will find is a wide range of disagreement on what to do about our system. If you care to read the blogs on the CBC about the article you’ll find many of them even refuse to acknowledge the problems in our system, as if talking about the issues with our system is taboo at best and at worst tantamount to high treason.

The article, and subsequently many of the blogs got me thinking about our system and the problem inherent in it and I’m honestly at a loss for how to fix it. The issue as I see it is not that the government does not want to provide the services, or even most of the tax payers for that matter, but that the demand is high and the supply is low and therefore the services must be rationed accordingly. At a glance it appears the solution is quite simple, hire more doctors. While this would certainly solve the problem that is much easier said than done as the Tories no doubt have learned since 2006. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t fault them for not fulfilling their promise as it is nigh on impossible to fulfill. We are competing with a country that has turned healthcare into a multibillion dollar business that is extremely lucrative for any type of specialist. The problem with our system is not so much a shortage of GP’s it’s a shortage of specialists. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that, someone that has spent a large part of their adult life to become a specialist when presented with two options, to work in Canada or in the US for more money, generally the more money option is going to win out.

Honestly our public system can’t compete with the salary possibilities that the US can offer. The only advantage we have in Canada is that the amount of malpractice suites are significantly lower and some doctors see that as balancing out the salary differences.

With the ever aging baby boomer population putting increasing demands on our health system the problems are only going to grow worse. All this leaves me questioning what is the solution? I think full privatization of services is out of the question, and even partial privatization or a two tiered system gives me pause. Nevertheless the fact remains that something needs to be done. While again I don’t like how the woman in the article went about it she does have a point. We need to talk about the problems in our system and ensure our politicians, regardless of their stripe, do something about the problem. We need real solutions or the system will continue to deteriorate.

Are the Tories doing enough to address or even determine what the issues with healthcare are? Did the Liberals before them? What should the Tories or any government for that matter do going forward? What are your thoughts, solutions or suggestions?

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http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/07/21/...ealth-care.html

I read this article on the CBC and at first my knee jerk reaction was to get my back up about the issue. I mean honestly what could be more un-Canadian than going to the states and defaming our national institution of universal healthcare? It’s a veritable bastion of liberalism, the crown jewel in our self proclaimed moral superiority over our neighbors to the south. Now suffice it to say I don’t precisely agree with the way she went about it, I mean how very rude to air our dirty laundry on the international stage. Be that as it may it certainly caught some media attention.

Now you would be hard pressed to find a Canadian that does not agree with some level of universal health care, after all it’s been with us since the 60’s and its all most of us have ever known. But what you will find is a wide range of disagreement on what to do about our system. If you care to read the blogs on the CBC about the article you’ll find many of them even refuse to acknowledge the problems in our system, as if talking about the issues with our system is taboo at best and at worst tantamount to high treason.

The article, and subsequently many of the blogs got me thinking about our system and the problem inherent in it and I’m honestly at a loss for how to fix it. The issue as I see it is not that the government does not want to provide the services, or even most of the tax payers for that matter, but that the demand is high and the supply is low and therefore the services must be rationed accordingly. At a glance it appears the solution is quite simple, hire more doctors. While this would certainly solve the problem that is much easier said than done as the Tories no doubt have learned since 2006. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t fault them for not fulfilling their promise as it is nigh on impossible to fulfill. We are competing with a country that has turned healthcare into a multibillion dollar business that is extremely lucrative for any type of specialist. The problem with our system is not so much a shortage of GP’s it’s a shortage of specialists. Now it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that, someone that has spent a large part of their adult life to become a specialist when presented with two options, to work in Canada or in the US for more money, generally the more money option is going to win out.

Honestly our public system can’t compete with the salary possibilities that the US can offer. The only advantage we have in Canada is that the amount of malpractice suites are significantly lower and some doctors see that as balancing out the salary differences.

With the ever aging baby boomer population putting increasing demands on our health system the problems are only going to grow worse. All this leaves me questioning what is the solution? I think full privatization of services is out of the question, and even partial privatization or a two tiered system gives me pause. Nevertheless the fact remains that something needs to be done. While again I don’t like how the woman in the article went about it she does have a point. We need to talk about the problems in our system and ensure our politicians, regardless of their stripe, do something about the problem. We need real solutions or the system will continue to deteriorate.

Are the Tories doing enough to address or even determine what the issues with healthcare are? Did the Liberals before them? What should the Tories or any government for that matter do going forward? What are your thoughts, solutions or suggestions?

The single payer system represents the lowest cost option available. It presents a large base from which premiums are collected to fund the expenses incurred. In order to reduce costs we must focus on; administrative expenses, methods of delivery, wellness and prevention, research and development, increased diagnostic abilities. Along with this is of course the wait times situation which adds expense due to the lack of timely effective treatments that avoid the cost of advanced illness. In addition we need to concern ourselves with the people working within the system, we need more doctors and nurses.

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It would seem that the ad in question is based on a fabrication.

Please read Another Healthcare Lie, and the Lying Liar That's Telling It.

The story says in part,

The current star of the Insurance Industry cabal is Shona Holmes, a whisky-voiced Toronto woman of ample aggregate and dubious honesty. See TV Spot Here.

According to Ms Holmes, she was diagnosed with a “brain tumor” sometime in 2005. In scores of interviews, she consistently claimed she could not receive timely treatment in Toronto and was forced to seek medical care at the Mayo Clinic in Arizona. Shona is a wannabe-be poster child for the Worldwide failings of government run Healthcare. She spins a shocking yarn, one that would make Socialists everywhere bow their Public Option heads in shame –

if only her story was true.

Over the 4 years since Ms Holmes’ cyst was removed from the ample cavity between her ears, her condition has worsened. Not her actual physical condition, but rather, the ubiquitously reheard and revised description of her medical odyssey.

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It would seem that the ad in question is based on a fabrication.

Please read Another Healthcare Lie, and the Lying Liar That's Telling It.

The story says in part,

Oh I don't doubt that this particular woman is of dubious character, but nevertheless I feel she does raise a valid point, even in spite of the fact that is is for all the wrong reasons.

In all honesty the "brain drain" to the south is inevitable, they can and do pay better than we can. Hiring more doctors is the solution yes but can we compete with the US salary levels? The answer of course is a resound no. I do agree with Jerry J F that more nurses need to be hired, and this isn't an issue of the US stealing our qualified nurses as we pay ours better than they do theirs.

I don't disagree that wait times need to be addressed but what is the primary cause of the wait times? Is it poor administration or lack of doctors to meet the demand?

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The wait is because of a lack of doctors and certain diagnostic equipment. That said, what this woman claims simply doesn't happen. My father has very minor symptoms and is waiting just over a month to see a neurologist. There are certain areas in each province were problems exist, but overall, as the number of doctors and nurses increase again (as they have been doing) the system should sort itself out. Programs like the one in Manitoba that returns all money spent on post secondary to graduates that stay in or come to the province really seems to be helping. Last year we increased our doctor count by 83 and our nurse count by 245. The purchase of new equipment when governments can afford it is also an important step. Another important step is the increase in training facilities. Over the last 5 years, we've done that here.

I don't think that there are huge worries with the system in most jurisdictions, but there are some problems....besides, according to recent polls, if anyone tried to touch medicare (with the exception of making it more comprehensive), they would be hanged.

Edited by Smallc
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In all honesty the "brain drain" to the south is inevitable, they can and do pay better than we can. Hiring more doctors is the solution yes but can we compete with the US salary levels? The answer of course is a resound no. I do agree with Jerry J F that more nurses need to be hired, and this isn't an issue of the US stealing our qualified nurses as we pay ours better than they do theirs.

According to some sources, Canada has a had a net increase of doctors returning over the last few years.

http://www.chsrf.ca/mythbusters/html/myth29_e.php

There’s no doubt that Canada - like other wealthy nations - is losing some of its physicians, particularly to the U.S., vii and that this emigration represents a loss for Canadians. However, when it comes to the brain drain, it’s nowhere near a mass exodus. At worst, it’s more a trickle than a flood.
I don't disagree that wait times need to be addressed but what is the primary cause of the wait times? Is it poor administration or lack of doctors to meet the demand?

During the 1990s many provinces cut the slots for doctor training in universities and hospitals. They also cut nursing programs. We are now paying for that decision.

Most provinces have dramatically upped doctor and nurse training because of the huge amounts of retirements coming and the shortage they created with their cuts.

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The wait is because of a lack of doctors and certain diagnostic equipment. That said, what this woman claims simply doesn't happen. My father has very minor symptoms and is waiting just over a month to see a neurologist. There are certain areas in each province were problems exist, but overall, as the number of doctors and nurses increase again (as they have been doing) the system should sort itself out. Programs like the one in Manitoba that returns all money spent on post secondary to graduates that stay in or come to the province really seems to be helping. Last year we increased our doctor count by 83 and our nurse count by 245. The purchase of new equipment when governments can afford it is also an important step. Another important step is the increase in training facilities. Over the last 5 years, we've done that here.

I don't think that there are huge worries with the system in most jurisdictions, but there are some problems....besides, according to recent polls, if anyone tried to touch medicare (with the exception of making it more comprehensive), they would be hanged.

Tell that to the Wildrose Alliance Party in Alberta please. They seem to think they can mess with the system to make it better.

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It would seem that the ad in question is based on a fabrication.

Please read Another Healthcare Lie, and the Lying Liar That's Telling It.

The story says in part,

Yep! Can't be true! She must be a liar! Shoot her!

Same old, same old. We will never fix anything if we deny there's a problem.

I guess the woman should have just waited and died, like a good Canadian.

I know for a fact about wait times. A very good friend collapsed at work with a seizure. Her doctor wanted an MRI. He was told that would take 6 months. He explained it was an emergency. He was then told it would be 6 weeks.

So she went to Buffalo, where she had the MRI that afternoon. It cost about $2000. Her supposedly mean, capitalistic boss paid it for her!

Turns out she has MS. Could've been much worse. She might have died during the wait if she didn't go to Buffalo.

During his term as premier of Ontario Bob Rae took his granny to Buffalo to escape wait times. Any politico or civil servant in Ottawa has access to a 'special' hospital.

Sounds like we already have a two-tier system, to me!

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.....Sounds like we already have a two-tier system, to me!

Of course that is the case, but many Canadians refuse to admit it. No worries, those who can will seek relief in the "states" or abroad rather than suffer like patriots in queue. So much for equitable sufferin'.

The funniest part is that Holmes met doctors at Mayo Clinic - Arizona who were from Canada! :lol:

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Of course that is the case, but many Canadians refuse to admit it. No worries, those who can will seek relief in the "states" or abroad rather than suffer like patriots in queue. So much for equitable sufferin'.

The funniest part is that Holmes met doctors at Mayo Clinic - Arizona who were from Canada! :lol:

There are no doubt problems with our system, but it is still much preferred to the American version of pay to live. The problems with our system are wildly exaggerated in the US, of that there is no doubt. Much in the same way our gun control is. The problem with this story is she had to take out a second mortgage on her home for 100k to receive this "relief". This to me points out an enormous fundamental flaw in the American system. You either have to be wealthy or willing to face bankruptcy if you wish to live. In the case of this rather lucky Canadian, she is no doubt reimbursed 10 fold by the private clinic, the PUN group and the health insurance industry.

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There are no doubt problems with our system, but it is still much preferred to the American version of pay to live. The problems with our system are wildly exaggerated in the US, of that there is no doubt. Much in the same way our gun control is. The problem with this story is she had to take out a second mortgage on her home for 100k to receive this "relief". This to me points out an enormous fundamental flaw in the American system. You either have to be wealthy or willing to face bankruptcy if you wish to live. In the case of this rather lucky Canadian, she is no doubt reimbursed 10 fold by the private clinic, the PUN group and the health insurance industry.

The larger point is that of choice....bankruptcy is better than dead or months/years of suffering needlessly. The American "system" already has more efficient, single payer programs that dwarf anything in Canada, with faster access to better technology and health care professionals. The fear that Holmes' story strikes in some Americans is the possibility of having no legal option besides government mandated procedure queues. Canada's system is the most expensive and least effective universal access program amongst OECD nations, and provinces use the excess capacity of the USA on a routine basis.

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The larger point is that of choice....bankruptcy is better than dead or months/years of suffering needlessly. The American "system" already has more efficient, single payer programs that dwarf anything in Canada, with faster access to better technology and health care professionals. The fear that Holmes' story strikes in some Americans is the possibility of having no legal option besides government mandated procedure queues. Canada's system is the most expensive and least effective universal access program amongst OECD nations, and provinces use the excess capacity of the USA on a routine basis.

Of course, thats why so many of your citizens point to our system which covers ALL citizens in our nation as an alternative to your own system. How many people have no coverage in your nation? No citizens are without coverage in Canada. How many citizens go bankrupt due to medical expenses in your nation? No citizens go bankrupt due to medical expenses in Canada. Since your system is so good and cost effective compared to ours, just exactly why do you folks seek reforms to your already perfect and cheaper system?

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Of course, thats why so many of your citizens point to our system which covers ALL citizens in our nation as an alternative to your own system. How many people have no coverage in your nation? No citizens are without coverage in Canada. How many citizens go bankrupt due to medical expenses in your nation? No citizens go bankrupt due to medical expenses in Canada. Since your system is so good and cost effective compared to ours, just exactly why do you folks seek reforms to your already perfect and cheaper system?

About 45 million Americans lack insurance coverage, and a portion of those are by choice. Canadians may have coverage, but that does not always equate to timely and effective care. Americans like me do not want to lose the options that a private/public system offers....the best of which supposedly existing in France, not Canada.

Why do Canadians seek private care in the USA or abroad if the CHA/UHC is so great? Keep your system as you wish, but don't force others to drink the Flavor-Aid if they have other options.

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The larger point is that of choice....bankruptcy is better than dead or months/years of suffering needlessly. The American "system" already has more efficient, single payer programs that dwarf anything in Canada, with faster access to better technology and health care professionals. The fear that Holmes' story strikes in some Americans is the possibility of having no legal option besides government mandated procedure queues. Canada's system is the most expensive and least effective universal access program amongst OECD nations, and provinces use the excess capacity of the USA on a routine basis.

Again an exaggeration, I can choose bankruptcy or death, what kind of choice is that really? Again the line that "months/years of suffering needlessly" is hyperbole. Are the resources rationed absolutely, but at the same time all have access to it, not just those who can pay. These stories of Canadian citizens not receiving the care they need to live in a timely manner are few and far between. In a system that everyone has access to triage will indeed rule, as it should, as such mistakes will be made and tragedies will happen. By far and in large though, in the end it's a better system, that's why most of the G8 nations have some form of universal health care.

What happens to those who can't afford to pay BC? What legal recourse do they have? What are their choices; death or oh death.

In pointing out a flaw in the Canadian system, the inefficiency and lack of capacity, you've also highlighted a major issue in your own system. With a population the size of the US you shouldn't have excess capacity in your medical system, this only serves to underscore how many people in your country that aren't getting the care they should be.

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Again an exaggeration, I can choose bankruptcy or death, what kind of choice is that really? Again the line that "months/years of suffering needlessly" is hyperbole. Are the resources rationed absolutely, but at the same time all have access to it, not just those who can pay. These stories of Canadian citizens not receiving the care they need to live in a timely manner are few and far between. In a system that everyone has access to triage will indeed rule, as it should, as such mistakes will be made and tragedies will happen. By far and in large though, in the end it's a better system, that's why most of the G8 nations have some form of universal health care.

I understand that all Canadians have equal access to a waiting queue, however long or short that may be. The point you are missing is the choice to skip that patriotic wait in exchange for private insurance or cash. It is a very un-American idea to legally force those with the means to buy private insurance and/or pay outright for health care, dental, drugs, etc. Suffering equally is not an American value, and apparently is not a value shared by some Canadians it would seem based on "stateside" visits.

What happens to those who can't afford to pay BC? What legal recourse do they have? What are their choices; death or oh death.

They still have more choices than Canadians for mandated procedures. Care cannot be denied when presenting at a public health facility.

In pointing out a flaw in the Canadian system, the inefficiency and lack of capacity, you've also highlighted a major issue in your own system. With a population the size of the US you shouldn't have excess capacity in your medical system, this only serves to underscore how many people in your country that aren't getting the care they should be.

You are making a moral judgement...I can make the same claim about the lack of facilities and staff for all of Canada.

We know where Canadians go when it really starts to hurt.

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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I understand that all Canadians have equal access to a waiting queue, however long or short that may be. The point you are missing is the choice to skip that patriotic wait in exchange for private insurance or cash. It is a very un-American idea to legally force those with the means to buy private insurance and/or pay outright for health care, dental, drugs, etc. Suffering equally is not an American value, and apparently is not a value shared by some Canadians it would seem based on "stateside" visits.

The danger is the moment we start emphasizing the needs, regardless of how minor they may be, of someone who can pay over the needs of someone who cannot, even if those needs are more serious, we start down a very dangerous path; a path that inevitably leads to the full capitalization of health care. Allow me to make another "moral judgment" if you will, Healthcare in the US is not about American's well being, it's about making money, this is what drives all it's efficiencies yes, but it is also a direct cause of the inherent flaws. Healthcare costs are out of control in the US and rising at a disproportionate rate to other G8 countries, capitalism does not work in all circumstances I'm afraid, and Medical care is definitely one of them. Be that as it may I'm certain you're not suggesting that the American Healthcare system is above repute. I can admit to the flaws in the Canadian system, can you admit there are flaws in yours, heretofore it would appear the answer to that question would be no.

They still have more choices than Canadians for mandated procedures. Care cannot be denied when presenting at a public health facility.

I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you mean by "public". Are they government run hospitals? If they cannot, which would imply they are not, be refused care why than do we have so many Americans crossing the border trying to get some free health care? Why make the effort if it is available on your side of the boarder? Medicare fraud has been a huge issue that the provincial governments have really been trying to curtail over the past few years. I would suggest that there are as many Americans who can’t afford healthcare trying to get in on our side as there are Canadians who can afford to pay for it on your side.

You are making a moral judgment...I can make the same claim about the lack of facilities and staff for all of Canada.

We know where Canadians go when it really starts to hurt.

Perhaps I am but it seems to me very odd that a country with the population of the US would have such a wanton surplus of medical facilities and or staff sitting about twiddling their thumbs just waiting for a well to do Canadian to come along to occupy their time.

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.... Allow me to make another "moral judgment" if you will, Healthcare in the US is not about American's well being, it's about making money, this is what drives all it's efficiencies yes, but it is also a direct cause of the inherent flaws.

Correct..that is how it is designed. Health care is not a right, not in the USA, and not in Canada. When provided by government, it is just another entitlement program.

Healthcare costs are out of control in the US and rising at a disproportionate rate to other G8 countries, capitalism does not work in all circumstances I'm afraid, and Medical care is definitely one of them. Be that as it may I'm certain you're not suggesting that the American Healthcare system is above repute. I can admit to the flaws in the Canadian system, can you admit there are flaws in yours, heretofore it would appear the answer to that question would be no.

Not only have I admitted to the flaws, I embrace them as the exercise of free will and enterprise, starting with the notion that intellectual property and services should not be co-opted by the state over individual rights. America's for-profit system has never had universal access as a goal.

I'm afraid I don't quite understand what you mean by "public". Are they government run hospitals? If they cannot, which would imply they are not, be refused care why than do we have so many Americans crossing the border trying to get some free health care? Why make the effort if it is available on your side of the boarder?

For ther same reasons so many Canadians cross the border....better choices given personal circumstances. The cases I'm talking about present at emergency rooms or clinics. Private hospitals will discharge deadbeats to a public facility as soon as possible.

Medicare fraud has been a huge issue that the provincial governments have really been trying to curtail over the past few years. I would suggest that there are as many Americans who can’t afford healthcare trying to get in on our side as there are Canadians who can afford to pay for it on your side.

Could be.....no numbers cited. Still, more choice is better than less choice. Let 'em cross the border as they please, and that includes medical professionals going south more than going north. For cost and effectiveness, Canada's system is the worst performing for universal access....France is much better. But no matter....please enjoy what you have....it's better than nothing.

Perhaps I am but it seems to me very odd that a country with the population of the US would have such a wanton surplus of medical facilities and or staff sitting about twiddling their thumbs just waiting for a well to do Canadian to come along to occupy their time.

It is a profit driven system, with wild excesses by design. The US government and states already have single payer systems that are better and cheaper than those found in Canada's provinces. These systems reside in the same health care space without legal restictions on insurance, procedures, doctor pay, etc. US doctors can refuse participation in capped rates...it's a free country!

Edited by bush_cheney2004
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The single payer system represents the lowest cost option available.

Odd that no one else in the world seems to think so.... don't you think?

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Of course that is the case, but many Canadians refuse to admit it. No worries, those who can will seek relief in the "states" or abroad rather than suffer like patriots in queue. So much for equitable sufferin'.

The funniest part is that Holmes met doctors at Mayo Clinic - Arizona who were from Canada! :lol:

There's no question the Canadian system has a lot of problems. But no one sane would ever want the American system.

Imagine what the wait list would be in Canada with our system if we spent twice as much money per capita on it!

And yet, we'd still be spending less per capita than the US does on theirs.

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The larger point is that of choice....bankruptcy is better than dead or months/years of suffering needlessly. The American "system" already has more efficient, single payer programs that dwarf anything in Canada, with faster access to better technology and health care professionals.

No, actually it doesn't. Adminstrative costs in the private US system are MASSIVELY higher than the government run system in Canada. The US system is grossly inefficient at allocating resources, monstrously expensive, and even while leaving 50 million Americans uninsured, still doesn't produce better results in terms of survival rates, life expeectancy, infant mortality, etc. than Canada.

It's also a socialistic system in that the doctors aren't free to operate or treat people as they choose, but must ask permission of the insurance commisar thousands of miles away sitting in a cubicle in an insurance company office.

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There's no question the Canadian system has a lot of problems. But no one sane would ever want the American system.

Of course.....many Americans are insane.

Imagine what the wait list would be in Canada with our system if we spent twice as much money per capita on it!

It sucks already without spending twice as much. Why is the wait so loooooooooooong?

And yet, we'd still be spending less per capita than the US does on theirs.

And you would still be getting less.

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About 45 million Americans lack insurance coverage, and a portion of those are by choice. Canadians may have coverage, but that does not always equate to timely and effective care. Americans like me do not want to lose the options that a private/public system offers....the best of which supposedly existing in France, not Canada.

Why do Canadians seek private care in the USA or abroad if the CHA/UHC is so great? Keep your system as you wish, but don't force others to drink the Flavor-Aid if they have other options.

Give me a break, AS IF we are forcing our system on you. Canadians do in fact go to the US for treatments that they believe they need,want, or desire in a more timely basis than they believe they can get here. That itself is a fact. It is spun up very nicely too! Just how many Canadians do that, or even want to do that BC, let me tell you a little secret. It isn't very damned many. I think that even you will agree there are far more Americans seeking treatment and perscriptions from Canada by a long shot.

You Americans can choose what you want for a system, nobody will dispute that. Yes France has an excellent system, I think the system in Germany is better, maybe Austria, I am not really sure, but the point is cost. Cost to the citizen and cost to business, you need to look at that little factor. The stats produced only show the cost per capita expended by governments! To get a complete picture you need to look at the cost to the end user. Insurance over there is paid by the employer, the employee AND by the government.

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I understand that all Canadians have equal access to a waiting queue, however long or short that may be. The point you are missing is the choice to skip that patriotic wait in exchange for private insurance or cash. It is a very un-American idea to legally force those with the means to buy private insurance and/or pay outright for health care, dental, drugs, etc. Suffering equally is not an American value, and apparently is not a value shared by some Canadians it would seem based on "stateside" visits.

I highly dissaprove of the lack of private medical care in Canada. There should definitely be alternatives to the public system, as there are throughout Europe.

But no one on the planet wants American-style health care, where you can be cut off in the middle of cancer treatment because the insurance company thinks you've spent too much already, or have your policy cancelled just when you need it on some ridiculous pretext.

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