Tuesday, December 31, 2002

13 December, 2002


One of my more frequent American correspondents, Dave Mecklenburg, has been reading a bit about Canada lately and is not impressed by what he has learned. He comments as follows:

"Canadians are proud of their healthcare system, which does not constitute "health insurance," nor does it provide "better access to healthcare." Canadians have socialized medicine, paid for with taxes. That is not health insurance; it is Big Government. I, on the other hand, have "health insurance." My health insurance gives me access to the best medicare in the world. My health insurance has covered two elective surgeries, and of course, I didn't have to wait. From initial check-up to actual general-anesthetic surgery took less than two weeks both times. Canadians on the other hand get to wait for inferior healthcare, which is why Canadians cross the border for American healthcare.

Now do Canadians really have "better access", even if you ignore the inferior medicine and long waits? This is a complete lie from the Left. Every American has access to a job with healthcare insurance. If an American chooses to take a job that does not offer healthcare insurance as a benefit or if a person is self-employed, health insurance can be bought for approximately $130 per month for an individual under 30 years old. $130 is affordable to any working American, including individuals making the minimum wage.

But because America is a free country, individuals can choose to spend their income on car payments, stereos, cable television, cell phones, and other non-necessities if they so choose. The other thing the Left hides is that any hospital that accepts Federal money, which is the great majority of American hospitals because of the Federal Medicare payments, CANNOT turn away anyone from its emergency rooms. It turns out that every American DOES have access to healthcare, either through affordable private health insurance or through emergency room of public hospitals.


9 December, 2002


Canadians sometimes seem to have an obsession with being different from the USA. This appears to have been disastrous in the field of health insurance -- where Canada has a "single tier" system. In this system you have only the government to rely on for your health care! How any sane person ever thought that was a good idea escapes me. The result of course is NEGLECT rather than CARE. To get important medical services, Canadians often have to cross the border into the USA. Even the Canadian Prime Minister does so!

The big claim to fame of the Canadian system, however, is its universality. Medical care in the USA is clearly better but you have to have health insurance to use the best of it -- and many poor people have no insurance. Poor US patients are forced to go to badly overworked public hospitals.

It seems a pity that the Australian compromise is not better known in Canada. Australia has a compulsory and universal national health insurance scheme (with premiums collected through the tax system) that enables people to access health care in either the public or the private sector. Government insurance routinely pays for you to see a private doctor and will also pay part of your costs if you are admitted to a private hospital. The scheme is "community-rated" -- i.e. everyone pays the same, no matter how "at risk" they are. Like the Canadian system, however, the scheme falls down when public hospital admission is called for. Urgent cases are treated promptly and well in public hospitals without charge but anything that is not life-threatening can take years to get treated in public hospitals.

For those who dislike the thought of such a wait there are private hospitals that will treat you promptly and well but there will be extra charges that you will have to pay that are not covered by the government insurance scheme. There are, however, many private health insurance schemes you can join that will pay for the whole or almost the whole of those extra chages.

It seems to me that having to wait for non-urgent surgery is a fair price to pay for making a lesser contribution to your own health insurance.


28 October, 2002


Meadow Lake Hospital in Saskatoon, Canada: The hospital is being sued by a woman who says she was left completely alone in the delivery room with no one monitoring her or her baby as the baby came out and fell onto the floor. The baby was flown to another hospital for observation but luckily appears to be fine. And those kind socialists did not even give her an apology!

Source: http://tinyurl.com/2967

Thanks to Jerry Lerman for that one!