Canadian VS. American Health Plan

  1. Which is better?

    I've heard stories about each system. Living in the U.S. and being part of the health system I see how our system runs. I'm limited in my knowledge of the Canadian Health Care system.

    I had a patient's family member that moved to Windsor...he said, "Canadian's have the best health care system. It's not a thing like american's system." All I asked him was how the wait for routine testing was. He said there's no wait.

    But my cousin's and some aunt's live there and tell me different stories.

    Also I work with a lot of Canadian nurses. Is it true when you graduate you're limited where you can work. She said, "I'm working here because there's better opportunities in Canada I'd have to work in a nursing home" I forget how long she said she'd have to.
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    Joined: May '01; Posts: 365; Likes: 1


  3. by   fergus51
    I have lived and worked in both (I am a dual citizen), and if I was sick, I would prefer to be in Canada. There are never any hassles about how treatment will be paid for and I don't have to worry about bankcruptcy. The standard of care is as good here, and waitlists are not long for most procedures, in my experience, and life threatening conditions are treated immediately. My father waited about 2 months for a knee surgery.

    The US has more nursing opportunities for NPs, but there are plenty of nursing jobs in Canada for new nurses and experienced ones alike in all areas. The US tends to have the best and the worst hospitals in the world, whereas Canada has similar hospitals.
  4. by   DMR1
    One of the reasons Canada is ranked so high on the UN's standard of living list is because of it's health care system.

    It USE to be the best in the world I believe. Cut backs a few years ago sure brought it down a few levels though, but it's still a great system.
  5. by   Katnip
    This was interesting, because I just stumbled across this article before I came here.

    Edit to add: In the U.S. I had a car accident. Had to wait 3 months for knee surgery. So there is no monopoly on waits for non-emergency procedures.
    Last edit by Katnip on Aug 12, '03
  6. by   NurseJ
    Having lived in Canada all of my life I realize that the system is not perfect but is the only place I will ever go for health care. My mother has had cancer three times over the last ten years and I know that our family would be bankrupt if we had lived anywhere else and my mother would have died a long time ago. I could not have handled fighting with an insurance company over weather or not she would get the treatments she needed.

    I'm sure there are those who will disagree, americans have access to some of the most state of the art medical care, if they can pay for it. The cancer center is our city (in Canada) is world renound and the care my mother recieved was excellent, she has been a survivor three times thanks to the doctors and nurses who work there.
  7. by   fergus51
    There is a book comparing the 2 systems called "Universal Health Care: what Americans can learn from the Canadian system" or something like that
  8. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Socialized medicine in Canada is far from perfect, but IMHO it is a blessing I will treasure always. Without it, not only would our family be bankrupt, but my son would be long-since gone. He has had open-heart surgery, cancer treatment, a liver transplant and lifelong rehabilitation for transplant-related stroke. He has never waited more than a few weeks for non-urgent care, and never more than a few hours for critical treatment. The calibre of medical care in Canada is very high.

    The federal government is the single payor, but each province administers their own health care system. In that respect there will be slight variations in availability of specific treatments. Rather than finding high-tech diagnostics and treatments at every hospital in the country, centres of excellence have been developed. Organ transplants are done at a limited number of facilities where skills are maintained at a high level. Similarly, pediatric CV surgery is only available at about eight hospitals across the country. (Let's not forget that Canada's population is roughly 10% that of the US.) Travel for specialized care is paid for by the province of origin via interprovincial agreement.

    As for nursing jobs in Canada, the LTC thing was likely true ten years ago when the big budget-slashing exercises were underway. Now there are shortages of qualified nurses all over the country. Huge amounts of recruitment monies are being spent to lure nurses back to Canada with variable success.

    I like knowing that if I got sick I'd be well looked after at no out-of-pocket cost other than parking, food and out-of-hospital prescription drugs. I'll fight to maintain Canada's universal health care with my last breath.
  9. by   manna
    Socialized medicine... I think it's NOT A good thing... maybe that's just the libertarian in me, but I won't go any further into my opinions on that at the moment.

    Do you pay alot of taxes in Canada?
    Last edit by manna on Aug 13, '03
  10. by   fergus51
    I take home about the same percentage of pay here as I did in the US, mainly because I had to pay for health insurance in the US.

    I have found most Americans are terrified of "socialized" medicine and think anything universal is socialized. They tend to think that we can't choose our own doctors, have little say in our treatment and have none of the high tech care they do. Of course, none of this is true. But, the US will never embrace anything "socialized", whether or not it would benefit them.
  11. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Let us not forget that the US has more people who are uninsured than Canada has people. Period.

    Yes we pay a good amount in taxes. But we live very comfortably, have two new cars in the driveway, live in a nice house in an upscale neighbourhood and are not paying the huge medical bills we'd have south of the border.
  12. by   healingtouchRN
    I have recently cared for another (of many " we affectionately call Canadians who live here). Mr "Snowbird" lives here most of the year because he has a heart condition & knows in his home town he is on a waiting list for heart surgery. Well he has had his AMI now & got his heart surgery here. He is such a nice man & I am sorry to know he has to be so far way to get the treatment he needs. I am not knocking Canadian health care. I have never been a recipient of healthcare in Canada so I cannot say. I have visited the country & love the people & esp. the provence of Alberta---- gorgeous!!!
  13. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    As I said, our health care system isn't perfect. Waiting lists are one of the flaws. Underfunding is another one. Maybe underfunding isn't the correct term, since there is a lot of money in the system, maybe I should say "maldistribution of funds". Too much money is spent on health care administration and not enough on actual health care. Truth is, people like CV surgeons make a lot more money in a for-profit system and many of them choose the money over altruism. Fewer surgeons = fewer surgeries = waiting lists.
  14. by   Tweety
    I work with a lot of Canadians and there are a lot of Canadian visitors snowbirds. Almost universally when discussing their country health care is brought up. It's a source of tremendous pride (and an attitude of superiority for the snooty, and there are some of those, just as there are ugly Americans). As it should be. Here there are plenty of MDsand hospitals that accept their health plan, so their health care (along with their other monies) can follow them to Florida.