Canadian Healthcare

  1. Hi,
    I am doing a paper on Healthcare in Canada and the U.K. I did read a blog recently on what it is like in these countries. (I am in the U.S.) I wanted to use this as an interview of sorts for my paper and presentation. The many articles I have read depicts how much trouble it is. I would like a first hand account from someone who knows. Any one willing to tell me their story? Are there long lines, poor care and people dying because they were unable to see a doctor? Are you going bancrupt due to taxes because of your healthcare?
    I would love to hear from you.
  2. Visit beej32 profile page

    About beej32

    Joined: Apr '07; Posts: 10
    Specialty: critical care and long term care


  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Quote from beej32
    are there long lines, poor care and people dying because they were unable to see a doctor?
    1)there are waiting lists for elective procedures and for many diagnostics but as a rule, emergent and urgent problems are dealt with relatively quickly. my husband had an mri only days after it was discovered he had very elevated serum cortisol levels, and had an adrenal tumor ruled out immediately. here in alberta, diagnostics have been privatized, so when a physician determines a person needs a specific (non-urgent) test, they give the patient a requisition with a number of locations where the test is available and the patient makes the appointment.
    2)care is definitely not poor. the picu where i work has about the lowest mortality rate in north america at 2.6%. but because health care is a provincial responsibility, there are variations, just as there are in the for-profit system. and of course, there are provincial variations in health care issues on a population basis. manitoba has the highest incidence of multiple sclerosis in the world and the highest incidence of pediatric brain tumor and adolescent type ii diabetes in canada. the northern territories have the highest per capita number of smokers in the country; northern ontario the highest incidence of suicide. so priorities are adjusted based on the issues.
    3)people don't generally die because they can't see a doctor. if a person doesn't have a primary physician they can access health care at a system of walk-in clinics, health centers and emergency rooms, which is also similar to for-profit systems. no one is asked for money before they're seen and no one is turned away because they're poor.

    Quote from beej32
    are you going bankrupt due to taxes because of your health care?
    no!! admittedly, health care costs eat up a large portion of the provincial budget, but the cost is spread out over the entire tax base: personal income taxes, corporate income taxes and a number of other income sources, such as petroleum exploration royalties in alberta. people with very low incomes are exempted from most taxation, and social programs help to cover other costs. my son is on assured income for the severely handicapped (alberta's income support for people unable to work due to disability) and his annual income is $12,000. he pays no income tax, and has his goods and services tax refunded. yeah, it's not a lot of money and if he didn't live at home he'd be struggling, but his health care is completely covered by the province (including medications such as botox, which costs about $1500 per treatment five times per year, dental and vision care) and he has access to money for replacement of durable goods,(wheelchair, tub lift, walker, etc) and incontinence supplies, among others. he also receives funding for a day program and respite services that would be impossible to obtain for him any other way. i would say that for most canadians, the standard of living is pretty good.
  4. by   beej32
    Thank you!!!! Alot of what I read does not depict Canadian or for that matter any other county well. I am sure it has to do with keeping us advocates for single-payer systems quiet.
    You were a great help. The detail was what I was looking for.
    Here in the U.S. even with the best insurance you can still go bankrupt due to medical expenses.
    Thanks again.
  5. by   linzz
    All of what janfrn said is very true. You will not go broke here from medical expenses and taxes are high but they are spread out. Here in certain parts of Ontario, the services can be very limited for things such as primary care. I live in a town of over 150 000 people and we do not have any walk in clinics that are open on the weekends or after 1700. We also have 50 000 people who have no family doctor. In addition, we have a huge wait list for government subsidized long term care. Care is available but, we must wait for it or drive an hour or two to get it. From what I read on these boards, it appears that in many ways Alberta is providing care that is far more accessbile and of excellent quality.
  6. by   OgopogoLPN
    Quote from beej32
    Are there long lines, poor care and people dying because they were unable to see a doctor? Are you going bancrupt due to taxes because of your healthcare?

    1. No! The health care is not poor! If people are urgent or emergent, they do get seen very quickly. Maybe not as quickly as they'd like, but they do get priority. The general surgeons in my area have specific time blocked off every week for women with breast cancer diagnoses. A woman will be seen within a week or so with this diagnosis and a mastectomy/lumpectomy or whatever schuduled within 2 weeks or so (or sooner if it's a later stage cancer).

    I developed complications with my 2nd pregnancy and the day of my ultrasound my doctor recieved the results she called me from her home and had me see the top OB/gyn in the city THE VERY NEXT DAY. This doctor normally has a wait list months long for more 'elective' things.

    I used to work for a plastic surgeon and if we received an urgent/emergent referral, that person would be seen immediately/within a day or two.

    There are definate flaws in the system though, no doubt about it. Anything considered "elective" can have a VERY LONG wait to be seen in consultation and then surgery. The OR's at my hospital run at full capasity during regular OR time and often into the night to catch up on surgeries. My daughter jammed her two front teeth into the coffe table and had to be put under to have them extracted (she was 2). We were told to bring her to the hospital at 8am, npo, for surgery at 12 noon. We were bumped all afternoon for more urgent surgeries and she didn't have hers until 7:30 that evening. That really sucked bad since she was only 2 and was soooooooooo thirsty and hungy. But, she is fine and if I was in a horrible car crash and need emerg surgery, I should think I'd be put ahead of tooth extractions.

    2. We do pay a lot of income tax to pay for our healthcare system, but once you are so used to it, it just becomes normal, KWIM? The taxes are deducted from your cheque and you never see it, so you dont' ever count on that part of your pay. I'm in BC and we do pay healthcare premiums, $108 per month for a family of 3 or more, $76 for a family of 2 and $54 for a single person. Although, if a family's income falls below $28,000 per year, this premium is reduced or eliminated all together for lower incomes. This premium covers all doctor visits, diagnostic tests, hospital visits, stays, surgeries, childbirth etc. You don't pay anything out of pocket for a hospital stay unless you want a TV, phone or private room.

    You can purchase "extended benefits" from a private company, or many workplaces offer it as a benefit. This would include Rx coverage, vision, dental, physio, chiro, massage etc. If I were to purchase this privately for me, my DH, and two children, it would cost us about $130 per month, but this is tax deductible.

    Many people can get by just fine on the provincial health, which I listed above.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions about Canadian healthcare. I have worked in the public/private healthcare system for 12 years now (not as a nurse, but as a medical secretary)
  7. by   Fiona59
    Just want to add that the "homeless" or economically challenged are cared for as well, whether or not they have proof of medical coverage. Same quality of care is offered to them (but it's often a challenge to get them to accept it). I know of inner city clinics that provide bus tickets, arrange escorts, etc. to get their challenged patients to appointments.

    I think that we as a whole have a negative idea of American healthcare due to the horror stories of financial ruin, no care for the poor, and the abundance of hospital dramas produced by Hollywood....

    Mind you our hospital patients are becoming more demanding in what they consider are necessities in hospital, the other weekend, we had someone complain that we wouldn't let her use her laptop and tap into the unit WiFi...
  8. by   CHATSDALE
    just a note. i know many people who, here in the usa, are not dying from substandard care because of lack of insurance
    i have a friend who is diabetic and has only done nursey work and she has zero insurance...her deabetic supplies are supplied free of charge, she has a mammogram every year, and she has access to a nurse pract. between md visits
    don't believe the horror stories that you hear, we take care of our needy
    some of the homeless also have some mental problems that hamper their seeking the aid they need until the disease has progressed into an unmanagemable state
  9. by   beej32
    Exactly what I was looking for . Thanks so much!!! Care if I use this info in my paper?
  10. by   beej32
    Thanks. I recently read a study that tells of 47 million people in the US without insurance. Not good!
  11. by   beej32
    You right about about the drama!
    About people who have no insurance . I know a fellow who had no insurance, wrecked his car. Obtained a broken back, punctured lung, had surgery... The bill was $274,000 dollars. He applied for medicaid and it is covered. It all comes out of the American taxes any way. It would not be much different if we had Universal coverage.
  12. by   OgopogoLPN
    Quote from beej32
    Exactly what I was looking for . Thanks so much!!! Care if I use this info in my paper?

    Yes, absolutley you can use it for your paper.

    I just wanted to add about the financial part: I belong to a baby message board and have heard that even with GOOD insurance, you can pay a few thousand dollars when you go into a hosp to deliver a baby in the USA. We have two kids and if we had had to pay $5000 at the time of our first child's delivery, we would not have been able to afford a second child!!!

    Also, I've heard of cases where families pay $600 or more per month for health insurance (in the states) and then on top of that have to pay $15-$20 "co pay" at a doctors visit. Never mind there's no way we could afford $600 per month, but what if a child was sick and you just didn't have the $20 for a co pay? Or the $20 for the Rx you might get from a visit? I'm so glad I don't ever have to hesitate in taking my children to the doctor if they need it because of $$$ isssues!!!

    I'll add more if I think of it