Canadian Health Care

Ken AshfordBloggingLeave a Comment

Commentor Steve H writes:

My parents, who are in their 80s, are adamant Republicans and as such disagree on "principle" with anything Obama, or the Democrats, try to do. They're really in an uproar about the health-care thing. Mom says "Government health care is terrible, look at all the problems they have in Canada." She went on in this vein and only subsided, glaring, when I pointed out that she's on Medicare, and Dad gets his health care through the Veterans' Administration, so they're ALREADY on "Government health care" and they both think it's terrific.

I think there is a lot of that.  The objection to Obama's health care reform is that it is Obama's health care reform.  We even have GOP senators who openly admit that the purpose of their opposition is to defeat Obama, never mind what the overarching issues are or how it might affect American lives:

I'm not sure what "problems they have in Canada" with healthcare.  No doubt there are some — waiting times are longer I believe, but it's virtually undisputed that their health care is better and cheaper to the consumer (especially the drugs).  And, as one Canadian put it, there are certain words you never here in the with respect to healthcare in Canada:

1. "Out of network"
There are no "networks" in Canada. Doctors and hospitals are not affiliated with private insurance companies. Doctors are private business entities and hospitals are usually run by non-profit boards or regional health associations.

2. "COBRA"
Health coverage is NOT tied to your place of employment in any way. So any COBRA-like scheme is unnecessary.

3. "Co-Pay"
The government pays 100% of basic care, 100% of the time. Drugs are not covered, but are subsidized by government to a point. And because of mass buys, discounts are obtained from the drug companies. That's why our prices are so much lower. Most employers offer a drug plan that pays for 100% of drug cost coverage.

4. "monthly premium\deductible"
Wazzat? We don't consider our health to be the same as our possessions.

5. "waiting for approval"
Doctors are the sole decision makers for health care. NOBODY influences or delays their decisions, warns them of costs or prevents them from giving treatment for any reason.

6. "Government interference"
The provincial government in each province PAYS for whatever services doctors provide. No questions asked. Unless the procedure is experimental, not medically necessary or unwarranted, doctors cannot deny basic care – by law.

7. "Health insurance lobby"
There are NO insurance companies for basic care, only companies for providing insurance for travelers. No money to be made here.

8. "bureaucracy"
When we visit a hospital or doctor's office, we walk in, get treated, walk out. No "applications", "registrations" or any other kind of paperwork is required. We NEVER have to talk to a single "government official" or wait for a "judgment".

This is such a foreign concept to us. A Canadian's usual reaction to the explanation of this term is astonishment.