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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2003
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    1,898

    Default Seriously, Canadians, tell us about your health care system

    In the US, we're getting all kind of info and misinfo about the Canadian health care system. So please, tell us about it - what are the pros and cons from your viewpoint?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug. 31, 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    426

    Default

    Pros: Its free!
    Con's: Unless you have a drug plan, you have to pay for medication.
    Proud mother to Matt, a 18 year-old TB gelding.

    FOREVER



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2004
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    8,016

    Default sorry for my life story

    I will start by saying that it is not perfect, BUT we never have to think twice about seeing a doctor, going to a hospital, having tests run. Health plans are managed/regulated on a provincial level and each province has a different way of funding it. If you travel across Canada, you will not necessarily be covered in another province than your own. The amount your province would cover will be covered, but not more even if the other province charges more. The same goes with out of country.

    I can only give my personal example. Last year, I made around 30K and I paid a total annual premium of about $300. My daughter paid about $80 and my husband had about 4 months w/o work and I think he paid about $100. So roughly for less than $500 a year, our family could visit our doctors as many times as we needed. If the doctor ordered tests, we would get them, without having to pay the lab, etc.

    I had a mammography, a bone density test, a regular check up, blood tests. No out of pocket expenses. Then I broke my ankle in late December. I signed in at triage at 1 10 pm, had xrays, and was in the OR at 3 pm. Went home by 8 pm. No bills to pay.

    I went back to the fracture clinic to change my cast 3 weeks later, more xrays, new cast. No bill to pay. Removal of cast, more xray, removal of one screw, stitches. No bills to pay. Removal of stitches a week later. No bill to pay.

    AFTER the hospital treatment/surgeon visits, I needed physio. That is covered by my husband's private insurance. I chose the physiotherapist and I had about a dozen treatments. The maximum covered by the insurance in a year is $400. Any medication is covered 100%. That is the plan offered by my husband's employer. Some plans are much better and have higher limits.

    My husband hurt his knee in the late spring and could not work for months. On commission, no income means no disability income. However, he saw his family doctor several times, got an MRI and xrays. Since he was not considered "urgent", his appointment with a surgeon was not scheduled until November!!! He refused and told his doctor to find him another surgeon who could see him sooner. One was found in Brantford, 45 minutes south of us. He saw him on August 10, had arthroscopic surgery the 12th!!! Follow up visits with the surgeon. No bills to pay.
    He had physio with the same maximum amount. He had complained to the surgeon that his hip hurt. On the last control visit for the knee, surgeon ordered a hip xray and confirmed my husband needed hip replacement surgery, which will take place on Dec. 4th. We have already had the surgeon pre-op visit, the hospital rehab pre-op visit, tomorrow is pre-op visit. Still no bill to pay.

    We can choose our doctors, our hospitals, our physiotherapists, our labs.

    I have had two children, a mastectomy, chemotherapy, other minor surgeries, other tests related to cancer diagnostic and follow ups, a mammography every year in the last 10 years, broken ankle and NEVER have I had to worry whether it would be covered or whether I could afford to go.

    To me, that is what is most important. I can go without worrying. I grew up in France and had the same kind of medical care (not the same model, but universal care anyway).

    For out of province/out of country insurance, my son who has no extra insurance through his work subscribes a CAA insurance. For $60/year, he is covered for any trip of 15 days or less. For extra days, he just pays a daily premium before he leaves!

    Sorry this has been a novel, but even if we complain that things are not perfect, they are pretty good! When I read that people in the US pay $500/month for insurance with all the restrictions... I shake my head and wonder what would happen to them if they lost their jobs?



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan. 31, 2009
    Location
    Montreal, Canada
    Posts
    56

    Default

    It's free so there are no worries about not having enough money to see a doctor and no worries about what could happen in the case of an accident or disease.

    The con is that, as far as I know, our wait times for treatment are longer than yours.

    I think it's worth it, though, to know that if something happens to you, you won't lose everything you have.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug. 1, 2003
    Location
    Georgia.
    Posts
    2,364

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrookdaleBay View Post
    Pros: Its free!
    It's free. How? Who is really paying for it? Someone has to pay, right?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 5, 2009
    Location
    Southern Colorado
    Posts
    293

    Default

    AWESOME!!! I've never talked to a Canadian that didn't like their health care system. My husband and I pay SOO much for really poor service and there's a co-pay, deductible, etc.

    Of course I can see why it would never work here...too much big business running it now...too much greed. HOW can people question it AT ALL????



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar. 31, 2009
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Our taxes pay for it.

    My son was hospitalized as a 6 week old for 2 weeks...everything was paid for. Personally for myself or my children we haven't had to deal with wait times.

    Having visited the hospital with both kids this summer and my husband I'm so glad we didn't have to pay out of pocket for it. I think with our health care more people actually go to the Doc when something is wrong because they do not have to worry about how to pay for the visit.

    We also have private insurance as my province does not cover drugs, or dental. Our drug plan is through our company, but if we were to pay out of pocket for it, it would be around $167 a month and it covers everything one could possible need.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    6,556

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by BrookdaleBay View Post
    Pros: Its free!
    Nothing is "Free!"

    Because you don't pay for it means some other poor bastard is covering the cost for you.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2006
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    257

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    Because you don't pay for it means some other poor bastard is covering the cost for you.
    This is a very American mentality.

    A society should care about its citizens, and that includes its citizens health. I don't mean for this to get into a huge debate, but the Canadian system makes much more sense and that is why the American system is now in an uproar.

    Our taxes pay for health, education, and welfare for the citizens of OUR society. That way, we can go to the hospital or our doctor and not worry about whether or not we can afford treatment for our wellbeing; we can go to post-secondary at subsidized rate and not be in debt for 100k by the time we're finished; and people who are not as well off, well we can ensure their children are clothed and fed.

    I would rather pay taxes and live in a society that puts its people first.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2003
    Posts
    1,898

    Default

    I've had a lot of health problems over the years. If I didn't have health insurance, I'd be dead by now. Just wonder how many of my fellow Americans have died because they didn't have insurance - or didn't have someone to throw fundraisers for their care, which is a regular newspaper staple.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    33

    Default

    No, of course it's not free - but it is included in our taxes.

    YES, you will have to pay for medication, dental, physiotherapy, etc, if your job does not provide additional benefits.

    But it is a great relief not to worry about being treated while ill, or for preventative exams. You do have to advocate for yourself sometimes, but my understanding is that you may also have to advocate for yourself when you have private insurance as well.

    Really, everyone just chips in to the pot, and everyone draws out eventually. If not now, then later. If not you, then maybe your child or parent. It all works out in the grand scheme of things.

    (and in the meantime, it makes a really great way of holding the politicians to the axe )



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep. 9, 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    253

    Default

    I think I'd be very very broke without it!

    Let's see, I so far have broken my femur, wrist (x2), and rib. I had major surgery twice with my femur and have had countless doctor's visits relating to those three visits. I have ulcerative colitis and see doctors far more than I'd like to, but its all paid for. I've had a colonoscopy and have had countless problems because of my ulcerative colitis that doctors have helped me with.

    I have joked on many occasions that I do my best to get all I can out of the government because I constantly see doctors as I seem to find myself in situations where I need them far too often!

    In a few years, once I'm 25, it will be difficult to pay for my very expensive medication every month as I will then be off of my parent's drug plan. So by then, I'll just have to be out of school and have found a job to make sure I will have the health coverage to pay for it.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan. 29, 2008
    Location
    Ottawa,Ontario
    Posts
    1,642

    Default

    I agree with what has already been said, to a certain extent. England has a much better health care system than we do. Sure,we can go to hospital and not worry about paying, sure, we can go to a clinic(located on every block it seems) and not pay.But.....if you need an MRI and it's not an emergency, the wait in my city can be up to 6 months. Because we can see the DR at any time and go to hospital when need be, many people do not carry medical insurance.....so, if you are dying of cancer, you must pay for your drugs, do you need insulin to keep you alive? Be prepared to pay through the nose...
    There is a major shortage of DR's and nurses, many of them head to the U.S. , where the pay is better. It's really hard to find a GP now, as there are long waiting lists. A wait to see a dermatologist is approx 6 months.

    A woman at my work, well, her daughter had headaches so they did a few tests and found a tumour, but the kid must now wait 4 months for an appt with the neuro surgeon(sp?). They are thinking of crossing the border and paying for a consult..who has time to waste when it's your kid that is sick??

    Our health care is great, but has some MAJOR flaws. My daughter lived in England for a year and never paid one cent for the insulin she needs to keep her alive.....it was free, as it sustained her life. Here in Ontario it costs us 200 bucks a month.

    And...our care is not free, we pay for it..the premium is deducted from our provincial taxes.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2002
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    3,554

    Default

    You know, no one makes it through their entire life without needing some type of medical care at some point. So even the "poor bastard" gets his health care covered by some other poor bastard.............

    After all, in the US we do EXACTLY the same thing. Pay higher premiums even when we have never used the services. All to cover the cost of the people who have chronic or catastrophic illness. All of our costs are just massively higher! We already pay for universal medical care(except most of us are restricted from using it) through our taxes, it's called the Medicare/Medicaid deduction. So we have to pay for everyone's care twice. It would be better to have everyone covered out of all taxes, period. And I am a medical professional and yes, I believe socialized medicine is the way to go.
    "We don't ride the clock. We ride the horse." Reiner Klimke.
    http://community.webshots.com/user/arnikaelf



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    33

    Default

    up-at-5, you make good points about the shortage of doctors/nurses and the wait times...I am cautiously optimistic though, for at least the near future, and for this reason: I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Baby Boomer generation will INSIST on top notch care as they continue to age. As far as I know, the number of medical school spots were increased a few years ago, and there are an enormous amount of young people being pushed towards health science. Consequently, I think there may be more shifts towards the type of healthcare system you describe in Britain. Which would be excellent, IMHO.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep. 17, 2003
    Location
    Toronto, Canada
    Posts
    393

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    Nothing is "Free!"

    Because you don't pay for it means some other poor bastard is covering the cost for you.
    Yup. I'm that poor bastard – and I don't mind a bit!

    I'm single w/o dependents; no kids in school; healthy as a horse; self-employed – so no group insurance coverage; income taxed at approximately 45%.

    Some of that 45% goes toward healthcare for someone who needs it.

    It's all good
    Proud Rubenesquestrian



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2008
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    898

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by subk View Post
    Nothing is "Free!"

    Because you don't pay for it means some other poor bastard is covering the cost for you.
    And this is one of the major problems... the average person hasn`t got a clue where the money comes from.

    Our taxes are very high in this country and health care is a major part of the reason. Ok, so our taxes pay for the system that everyone can use. So you get someone that cuts their finger. Bandages are $4.89 at the drug store or you can go to emergency and it's FREE to have your finger bandaged up. It may have just cost the 'system' $2K but to you it's FREE. Your kid has the sniffles. You can buy some cold meds at the drug store, book an appointment with the doctor (FREE) or go to emergency because it's FREE too. And on and on it goes. The abuse of the system is huge. And costly. I won't even go into the illegals that use the system but don't pay into it.

    The government controls what can be charged for what procedures. So an excellent doctor will make roughly the same amount of money as a crappy one. So you have two choices.... you either move to a place like the US where your extra skills make you extra money, or you strive to be just average because the incentive is taken away.

    Wait times are huge. Sure in the case of an emergency, you get in right away - same as the US. But as an example, I had a botched surgery on my foot last Dec. They knew in January my foot was healing incorrectly and would have to be rebroken and redone. I got a September surgery date only because of a cancellation, it still may not have been done - now, a year later - otherwise. I took someone into emergency a week or so ago because he got a chunk of wood stuck in his eye and the wait time was just over 4 hours. A friends husband who was dying of cancer, ended up going to Buffalo for many tests (and paying for them) because of the wait times here. He didn't have time to wait.

    Many times people are left in beds in hallways because there are no rooms. Many things that used to be included no longer are. I had to pay for the casts put on my feet. I fell down a flight of stairs and tore my rotator cuff and had to pay for the sling.

    So is it the magical solution the the US problem.... I don't think so. I have family in the US and they say they would rather pay less money for general living expenses and have the money to pay their own insurance and get good care. They've lived in both places, making pretty much the same money and feel the US is a better 'deal' overall.
    Sometimes I just think funny things - Dudley Moore in Arthur
    Come join us at - TheMuckBucket



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Jul. 1, 2008
    Location
    Southern Ontario
    Posts
    898

    Default

    Just want to add.... once the government gets ahold of it, it will never be free to go back to the previous system. And what has the government done well? So seriously, think hard on this one.
    Sometimes I just think funny things - Dudley Moore in Arthur
    Come join us at - TheMuckBucket



  19. #19
    Join Date
    May. 4, 2003
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    14,311

    Default

    I've lived in Britain and in Canada. Canada has a better system IMHO. While there are stories of wait times, of not being able to find a family GP and so on, especially in outlying areas, when push comes to shove, there is world class care available on a timely basis. We have no fears that 'socialized' medicine will shorten people's lives or limit care - just not true. Nobody here would lose their home to pay bills. We pay a premium, but those who cannot, get assistance.
    We have a drug plan that we pay extra for and also for physio, chiro and massage.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Feb. 15, 2004
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    8,016

    Default

    ok, I agree with you that it is not free, but...

    I just got my 2008 tax return out to check.

    Taxable income of Annual Ontario Health Premium
    Less than $20K - $ 0
    more than $20K but less than $25K Taxable income minus $$20K x 6% =
    so for someone making $23K 23000 - 20000 x 6% = $180
    more than $25K but less than $36K - $300
    more than $36K but less than $38.5 -
    ex.: 37000 - 36000 x 6 % + $300 = $360
    more than $38.5 but less than 48K - $450
    more than $48K but less than $48.6 -
    ex.: 48500 - 48600 x 25% + $450 = $600
    more than $48.6 but less than $72K - $600
    more than $72K but less than $72.6
    ex.: 72300 - 72000 x 25% + $600 = $675
    more than $72.6 but less than $200K $750
    more than $200K but less than $200.6
    ex.: 200 600 - 200 300 x 25% + $750 = $825
    more than $200K $900

    So, no it is not free, but frankly someone earning $200K and more can darn well pay an annual health premium of $900! Chances are at this level his private insurance will cover everything else, ie dental, eyecare, private room, etc. And it is still a lot less than your annual insurance premiums!

    As I said I paid $300 last year. This year, I will not pay anything! and I can still claim the amount of physio not refunded by my insurance, etc.

    The wait times I think depend on the location. As I mentioned my husband (in Waterloo) would have had to wait until November to meet with a surgeon. He got in in August in Brantford with a surgeon affiliated with Hamilton McMaster and a professor at the Medical school there. You do have to be your own advocate!

    Neighbours and friends with cancer were seen and treated immediately. It all depends of what/where and when I think.



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