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|From: ||soooright (184.108.40.206)
|Subject: ||A Canadian writes about his free healthcare. |
Date: || December 2, 2011 at 12:08 pm PST|
I live in Ontario, Canada where we have 'free' health care.
It works like this.
I am told how much to pay in taxes towards OHIP (Ontario
Health Insurance Plan). I am not free to say no or bargain.
I am not free to purchase medical insurance so I could pay
my doctor directly.
My doctor is told that for seeing a patient, she will be
paid X amount. To make a profit to pay the rent for the
clinic and pay her assistants and her mortgage, she has to
see one patient every ten minutes. You figure out how
thoroughly she can diagnose a patient in ten minutes and do
the government paperwork to make sure she gets paid. She is
not free to refuse treatment or bargain for a higher
payment. She is not free to 'extra bill' me, i.e. asking for
a co-payment from me, that is illegal. The doctor is
effectively an indentured servant to the state. A panel of
appointed anonymous bureaucrats decides what treatments and
tests will be covered by OHIP. Treatments are only approved
if they are deemed to be cost effective, not on whether they
give a higher chance of survival for the patient. I am not
free to appeal their decision were I to need a treatment
that is not approved due to high cost. I have to accept the
cheaper treatment with a lower survival rate.
In summation, nothing about free government health care is
The Ontario government will spend $47B dollars on 13 million
citizens this year. That's over $3,600 per person. The
waiting list for an MRI is 3 months, the waiting list to see
an Orthopedic surgeon is 9 months and there is a years-long
waiting list to have a family doctor. You are not free to go
directly to a specialist, you must have a referral from a
GP. Got a sore shoulder? First wait three weeks to see your
GP to get a referral. Then wait six to nine months to see
the surgeon. Then wait three months for the MRI. Then make
an appointment to see the surgeon again, three months this
time, since you're an existing patient. If you need surgery
wait six months for an operating room. There are months long
waiting lists for surgery and people are dying on waiting
lists and in the emergency room waiting to be seen. So there
is very little good about the system either.
And, a few more observations:
In Canada, the universities where medicine is taught are
funded and controlled by the provinces. In the '90s, the
NDP* Ontario government decided that to control future costs
they would limit the number of medical students. The plan (I
won't call it thinking) was less doctors = less patient
visits =lower costs. As you might guess there is now a
[* NDP = New Democrat Party, the only major political party
in Canada that ever sent money to ComIntern and its
successor SocIntern during the cold war. Members in Toronto
helped fund the raising of a statue of Lenin there while we
had troops in Germany to defend it from the CCCP.]
Many Canadian doctors and nurses 'go foreign' right out of
University to make big bucks overseas to pay off their debt.
Under the payment schedule that the government imposes it
would be almost impossible to pay off their student debt,
buy a house and start a family. This is part of what is
referred to as the 'brain drain' up here. The local hospital
in Hawkesbury put up a $5000 bounty to anyone who could find
a doctor willing to work the emergency room. In remote
northern communities the municipal governments will offer
inducements such as free housing, clinic space and signing
bonuses to attract a family doctor.
There was a well known case in the papers a few years ago. A
woman was diagnosed with a brain tumour and given six months
to live. She was told she had to wait NINE month for the
neurosurgery. She went to Texas (I think) for the surgery
and requested compensation for the $160,000 it cost and was
initially turned down as OHIP only pays for treatment in
There is now a 'medical tourism' industry in Canada.
Canadians with enough money fly to India or Germany to have
hip and knee replacement rather than hobbling around on a
cane for a year. Package cost including airfare $10-20,000.
The USA is another destination but the costs are much
higher, due to the legions of ambulance chasers there. By
the way, delaying surgery on one knee puts a greater strain
on the other leg, ruining that knee so the waiting lists get
ever longer. The worst part is the righteous indignation
from some twits up here that such people have 'cheated'. A
true socialist wants everyone to share in the misery
equally, to use your resources that you have earned in order
to spare yourself pain is unfair in their eyes.
When I went for shoulder surgery last time I was wheeled
into the OR at 11.30 AM and overheard the nurses saying this
was the last surgery of the day. I asked the surgeon about
that the next time he saw me. He explained that the nurses
in the recovery room work until 4 PM and since it takes 4
hours for the patient to recover from the anesthesia,
therefore the last elective surgery of the day has to be
finished by noon. The hospital is owned and operated by the
province, the government administrator does not have the
budget to pay for a second shift of nurses in the recovery
room until 8pm. Can you imagine any businessman allowing a
valuable resource like an operating room to be used for only
4 hours a day when there is a line-up of customers?
If you need glasses the optometrist will see you tomorrow.
Laser surgery for your eyes, come right in and sit down. The
dentist can see you today if you have a toothache. The
physiotherapist will start your therapy today if there's a
spot available. Your dog can have an operation today. All
these things are not covered by OHIP so the free market
reigns and it works well.
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