Comparing Canadian and American Health Care

Comparing Canadian and American Health Care



JOANNE FARYON (Host): Hello everyone,
I'm Joanne Faryon thanks for joining us. We're pre-empting San Diego Week
this holiday weekend (tonight) and instead will air an Envision
San Diego special. We'll hear a little bit more about the Obama
administration's proposed public healthcare plan at the end of the program
from Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. But first, here's Right to Health. FARYON: Tonight you will meet a woman who
tried to refinance her house to pay for an MRI and a man who went blind because
he couldn't afford to see a doctor. And we will tell you about a patient whose care
in hospital cost more than a million dollars; he can't pay, the government won't
pay, so just who is picking up the tab? You'll be surprised. These stories replay themselves
in just about any city in America. It's the fallout from a privatized health care
system that is loaded with administration costs. Would universal health care make us healthier? We asked the Canadian broadcasting
corporation to help us answer that question. Here is the CBC's Waubgeshig Rice in Winnipeg. The coldest big city in the world,
right in the middle of Canada. WAUBGESHIG RICE (Reporter): Hello Joanne,
Canadians have had universal health care for more than 50 years, we don't
call it socialized medicine here. Doctors remain in private practice,
only they don't bill their patients; they bill the government for their services. Here, cost doesn't keep people away
from the doctor, waiting lists do. Tonight, I will tell you how people
cope with those waiting lists, and you will meet some seniors who say
they will never trade universal health care for American style medicine, but they
would like some changes, here in Canada. Joanne… FARYON: Thanks
Waubgeshig, I've lived on both sides of the border there is a great mythology that
surrounds the American health care system in Canada and one that exists here
too, about the Canadian system. There is the belief that America
will leave you to die on the street if you can't pay your hospital bill. And here in the U.S. many believe in
Canada you may die waiting to get care. So let's begin there. What happens here in San Diego County when you don't have health insurance
and you don't have any money. Meet Leeann Brady. 52-year-old Leeann Brady loved being a waitress,
but she hasn't worked for more than a year. She has back pain and can't
lift her arm above her head. LEEANN BRADY (uninsured): I could no longer
carry the plates without severe pain; shaking. FARYON: Brady needs an MRI, but like 46
million other Americans, that's one in seven, she doesn't have health insurance. BRADY: If I needed back surgery
right now, forget it. I mean, I will probably wind up crippled. FARYON: A few years ago, Brady even tried
to refinance her house to pay for the test but couldn't, her credit wasn't good enough. DR. JEOFFRY GORDON (family doctor): I actually think her shoulder would get
much better if she could have surgery. FARYON: Doctor Jeoffry Gordon is Brady's doctor. He sees her regularly for about $15 a visit, about one tenth of what a doctor
could bill for an office visit. DR. GORDON: What I would only call Shocking Gap
FARYON: Dr. Gordon lectures to other doctors on what's wrong with America's
health care system. DR. GORDON: It's set up to make money for
insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and surgical instrument companies. FARYON: According to the California medical
association private health insurance companies made more than 4 billion-dollars
in profit last year and spent another 6 billion
on administrative costs. In this country if you have the money or
good insurance you will virtually never wait for something like an MRI, if you're broke
you will never even make it on a list. DR. GORDON: Don't get sick in
America, that's the way it is. FARYON: If you do get sick in America and you don't have insurance you will
probably end up here, in the emergency room. At federal law requires all emergency rooms to treat patients regardless
of their ability to pay. As a result, emergency room doctors
are seeing patients for illnesses that should have been diagnosed and
treated by primary care doctors. DR. KIRK RAEBER (ER doctor): Such as renal
disease, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, they could have probably prevented them
from coming in from this acute problem and a huge bill and hospitalization. FARYON: We met Betty Ann Bayliss in
the emergency room, she has insurance but it only pays for her breathing
medication ten months out of the year. BETTY ANN BAYLISS (ER patient):
And I can't afford it too much. So, I have to skip you know
maybe one day, two days, three, four days at the most on my medicine. FARYON: Making the problem worse is the
increasing cost of health insurance, premiums have nearly doubled in the past 8
years, and that's affecting the middle class. Employers are dropping from health
care plans or the premiums are so expensive they are dropping out on their own. Doctor Gordon supports a publicly funded
health system like Canada, he tells the story of his Canadian friend's son who hurt his
knee in California and didn't have insurance. The doctor's advice, fly home to Canada. I bet you people in Canada are saying I
wonder how long he waited to have surgery. DR. GORDON: Waiting is much better than going
without or going broke or going bankrupt or having to take money from your
mortgage or from your home equity or your kids college fund to
pay for your medical care. RICE: It's sophisticated medical technology
that can pinpoint problems in the body from your brain to your heart to your limbs,
Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI uses magnets and radio waves to take a
closer look at soft tissue. Health officials say getting an MRI
in Manitoba has never been better. DR. BLAKE MCCLARTY (Manitoba health):
I think we have improved things. And the volume of Diagnostic imaging procedures
has gone up an awful lot over the years. RICE: Compared to the United States
Canada has fewer MRI machines per capita but does more scans per machine and
patients the get the scan free of charge. But there is a catch, if it's not
an emergency you'll have to wait. TERESA CLIFTON (Canadian waiting for an
MRI): Extremely painful, it's hard to walk. RICE: Teresa Clifton broke her foot last spring, but months after she got the
cast off she was still in pain. After CT scans and x-rays
doctors couldn't figure out why. CLIFTON: They finally said, okay, we are going
to send you for an MRI, we think it's muscle or tissue damage but now I'm on
a four month waiting list for it. RICE: She knows others need the scans more
than she does, still that wait is too long, and if the price was right,
she would pay for one. CLIFTON: I would really like to get this
fixed, find out what is wrong with it. Because the last thing I want to do is
take medication for the rest of my life. RICE: For non-urgent MRIs the wait
is typically five to eight weeks but the prevention government health department,
recently, changed how doctors order them, and that's bumped wait times
up to fourteen weeks. Health say officials are working
on getting that back down. A unit like this scans 29 patient as day. This clinic also recently
expanded its operations to 7 days a week to see even more patients. The regional health authority also
has plans to add another MRI unit to another Winnipeg facility
hoping it will reduce wait times. DOCTOR MCCLARTY: Historically we've done
well on almost all of the wait list issues. RICE: Still health officials acknowledge that's
little comfort for the people who are in pain, and if their health issues escalate
they will be bumped up for an MRI. So Doctors are asking people
on waiting lists to be patient. DOCTOR MCCLARTY: I'm not overly concerned that
there is a major health risk in any of that but it's more should they have the right
to buy that if they can buy a steak at the grocery store, can they buy an MRI. That, I think, is the controversy. I'm comfortable with the quality of and the
availability of imaging services in Manitoba. CLIFTON: I definitely prefer our Canadian
medical system over the states, but when you — if you do get an opportunity to
pay a couple extra bucks to get down to the problem, I kind
of like that as well. FARYON: More than half of all bankruptcies filed in the United States are
triggered by medical bills. Evidence, the system takes its toll financially. But are we healthier in the U.S. than Canada,
we took a look at a very common diseased caused by an even more common condition,
diabetes and obesity. The statistics tell us we are the fattest nation
in the word and it's making us sick, even blind. JEANNE TEAGUE (Volunteer, Center for the Blind):
For a diabetic, bacon does not count as a meat. FARYON: Every Monday at this support
group at the center for the blind, Armando Carrillo learns about what she
shouldn't eat to control his type-two diabetes. Its information he should have had years ago,
information that could have saved his sight. MARIA CARRILLO (Diabetic): It was a slow thing. FARYON: Carrillo was working in a California
restaurant, back in the early 90's, when he got stick, he was feeling weak
and constantly going to the bathroom. He didn't see a doctor because
he didn't have insurance. He was finally diagnosed with
type-two diabetes when he went to the emergency room because he hurt his knee. Soon after, Carrillo went blind. TEAGUE: At least Armando has his life still. So many of the people that have come
through this center, this was fatal to them. This lack of insurance. FARYON: Type-two diabetes is preventable. In the U.S. 1 in 13 people are affected by
the disease, among the Latino population that rate is even higher, one in ten. The reason, obesity, one of the
main causes of type-two diabetes. The U.S. is the fattest country in the world. In just one generation, obesity rates
have doubled tripled among children. DOCTOR JERRY PHELPS (UCSD Wellness Center):
What we are seeing now is cardiovascular disease in teens, and that is very scary. FARYON: Fast food and TV contribute to our
waistlines so does all the sitting in traffic. And as the economy struggles, it's becoming more
difficult for Americans to buy healthy food. DOCTOR PHELPS: But for example a
hamburger costs less than a veggie burger. FARYON: On average, people living in low income
neighborhoods have five fast food outletsand convenient stores near their home. Twice the number than their
more affluent neighbors. Obesity rates are higher in America
than in Canada, especially among women. And despite the year around good
weather, and access to all this, more Californians are overweight than in a
place like Manitoba, Canada where cold weather and snow keep people indoors six months a year. Experts say it may come down to health
care and a simple visit to a family doctor, but government programs like Medicare don't kick
in until people with diabetes are on dialysis. Carrillo lists all his family
members who also have diabetes, he is learning now why the disease has affected
his family, and now that Carrillo is blind and had a kidney transplant, he has two
government funded health care plans. The irony of the American health care system
is not lost on a man who worked all his life but couldn't afford to see a doctor
to prevent a disease that, in the end, cost him his vision and a kidney. And now costs the government tens of
thousands of dollars in care and disability. RICE: For John Paintin, it's simple, the
more he runs the longer he will live. Just three years ago he weighed
twice as much as he does today. JOHN PAINTIN (Canadian): I took a look
in the mirror and thought wow look at me, I'm 400 pounds; massively overweight. I had to do something with myself otherwise
I was going to be at risk of heart attack, diabetes, whole range of
different health problems. RICE: Paintin managed to skate off
diabetes as many Canadians have. In Canada only one in 17 has the disease,
a far healthier percentage than south of the border where it's one in 13. And for anyone who is at risk in
Canada, getting good health advice is as easy as a free trip to the doctor. But for Canadians like Wendell
Oigg, free healthcare wasn't enough to prevent his kidneys from
failing five years ago. He says he never took the
warning signs seriously. WENDELL OIGG (type-two diabetic): I'm sick. It comes back to haunt you. Why did I not listen to that? I should have listened, but I was stubborn. RICE: Wendell was first diagnosed with type
two in 1990 when he was 23 and 300 pounds. He never took his doctor's advice to
lose weight and eat healthier food. Just a year after the kidneys
failed he slowly went blind. OIGG: If I would have listened and
ate everything I was supposed to eat. RICE: Wendell is an Ojibway,
one of the groups making up Canada's 1.1 million aboriginal people. And while diabetes was virtually unknown
in aboriginal communities 50 years ago, today it's reached epidemic proportions. Experts estimate one in four have the disease. DINA BRUYERE (Canadian Aboriginal
Diabetes Association): Today we live a sedentary lifestyle. And the food that we were able to access
now is not very good for our systems. RICE: A half century of change to traditional
lifestyles has meant less physical activity and less access to a healthy, natural diet and
a greater reliance on cheaper processed foods. BRUYERE: That's very concerning. It should be a priority health
issue on Canada's health agenda. RICE: So while Bruyere feels
the government has to act, she also thinks individuals can
improve their own situations too. Winston Thompson has seen the disease tear through the family a few years ago his brother
died from complications of the disease. WINSTON THOMPSON (type-two diabetic): Not
even less than two years after he passed away, that I was diagnosed with diabetes. And so I thought okay, that doesn't sound
like – it's not a good situation to be in. RICE: So he decided to get in
shape, now he watches what he eats and monitors his blood sugar regularly. BRUYERE: I think people are starting
to become aware of it now because a lot of people are experiencing complications. RICE: Complications that people like
Wendell can't get fixed, only treated. He is grateful he is able to access
free treatment like dialysis. But that is little solace when he has himself to
blame for suffering through this new epidemic. OIGG: Take a look at what happened to me. I didn't listen. Do you want what I'm going through? FARYON: The U.S. spends more money
than any other country on health care. But it's not buying us longevity, Canadian
men and women live at least two years longer than Americans, we wanted to speak with
Canadian ex-patriots living in San Diego about which health care system they preferred
and where do you find a Canadian in California? At the hockey rink, of course. This isn't hockey night in Canada; this
is hockey night in Escondido, California. "Who is from Canada?" Almost all of the players are
Canadian, a handful from Winnipeg. When they're asked which
country has better health care, Canada versus the U.S., there's no clear winner. Rob Kerr moved here years ago from Alberta,
his 22-year-old daughter can't get insurance because she once had a benign cyst on her ovary. ROB KERR (Canadian living in San
Diego): Now, it's called a precondition so she can't get healthcare, anywhere. GEOFF LEIBL (Canadian living in San Diego): Well Rob that's the difference we were
talking about, who falls through the cracks. FARYON: That's Winnipegger Geoff
Leibl, he is an immigration lawyer. He moved to San Diego 15 years ago and has a successful law practice helping
thousands more Canadians immigrate to the U.S. LEIBL: The Canadians
biggest fear of moving to the states without a doubt is the health care system. FARYON: But it's a misconception that is usually
cleared up when they visit an American doctor or see the inside of an American hospital. Leibl's first experience with the
health care system happened just months after he arrived in the states. He had pain in his leg for weeks, when he finally saw a doctor,
he learned he had a blood clot. Leibl says if he'd been living in Canada
he probably would not have seen a doctor. He assumed he would have to
wait weeks or even months for an appointment and that
could have been fatal. LEIBL: As a Canadian growing up, I feel that
everybody should have access to health care. And the last thing you want to be worried about,
when you're sick, is how am I going to pay for it, or what am I going to do? Am I going to get $100,000 in bills? But you also should have access to good
health care and immediate health care, there's no point having free health care
if you are going to die waiting for it. FARYON: Canada spends about 10%
of its gross domestic product on health care, the U.S. spends more, about 16%. But still here in America, one out of
seven people has no health coverage. JAN SPENCLEY (former hospital administrator):
A lot of people will not agree with me on this but I'm going tell you that health care
should be a right for every American. FARYON: But not the way they do
it in Canada, Jan Spencley says. She is a former hospital
administrator turned advocate. SPENCLEY: I don't want to wait a year for an
MRI like Canada does and I don't want my father who needed hip surgery to
wait for more than a year for hip surgery because it was debilitating. So I think that we have to not — I
don't use Canada as the only model. I think we need to be looking at the
world and picking and choosing the best and what fits our culture and our world. DOUG FROST (Canadian living in
San Diego): I think it all comes down to is it a privilege or is it a right? I think in Canada they see it as a
right here we see it as a privilege. FARYON; Leibl believes health care is a
right but like a lot of Canadians accustomed to waiting he feels privileged he has
immediate access to care here in San Diego, something he wishes for his
parents back in Canada. LEIBL: Sometimes I get the urge to say
get on a plane and come on down here and we can get the treatment down here quick and take the results home
and have them deal with it. They haven't done it yet,
but I could see it happening. WAUBGESHIG RICE (Reporter):
Ron Leibl is Jeff's dad. He knows staying active plays a huge role
in staying healthy, so he meets twice a week with his buddies at this Winnipeg Curling club. For Ron Curling has become as Canadian as
universal health care, he and his wife, Anne, have lived on the prairies their
whole lives and they see access to healthcare as one of the big advantages. RON LEIBL (Canadian): Everyone gets it. That's the big picture. ANNE LEIBL (Canadian): What makes me happy
about it is that everybody is covered. RICE: Outside of a few minor procedures,
the Leibl's haven't had to rely too much on the health care system in recent years but as they get older they
know they're covered regardless of their pensions or other insurance plans. RON: We wouldn't dare go to the
states without having coverage over and above what we have here. RICE: But that's exactly what their son, Geoff,
did when he moved to San Diego 15 years ago. RON: He went down with not
that much money at the time, and so we didn't know how he
would be able to afford it. Yes, there was a concern, obviously. RICE: Jeff eventually got a good
job and health care along with it. His parents believe he is in good hands
if he or his family gets hurt or sick. RON: It's wonderful that they get
terrific coverage, they use the system to their advantage and it
works out well for them. RICE: So well in fact that, even
though the Leibl's are big supporters of Canadian health care, they wouldn't rule out
someday going south for specific treatments. And it's all because of where
they see Canada falling short – long wait times for different services. RON: I think it should be
enhanced quite frankly. I think there should be other schemes too
that should be outside the universal system. RICE: In Manitoba, you could
wait up to 7 weeks for a CT scan if you need a hip replacement you will wait 14
weeks, and for cataract surgery up to 10 weeks. ANNE: If somebody wants to pay,
they should be able to pay. RICE: There is an on-going debate
in the Canada, stick with a system where everyone has equal
access to healthcare or allow for some private services
which would relieve wait times. But that would mean people who
could afford it would jump ahead of the line.The Leibl's seek marrying a
system that allows some private services, but for now they are happy to be at home
in Winnipeg especially during a time of economic hardships straight
across the continent. ANNE: Massive layoffs in the United States. Those people now have no medical coverage. At least that's my understanding
anyway, they have no medical coverage. Layoffs are happening in Canada,
but those people are still covered. That's a big plus as far as I'm concerned. FARYON: Now a story about a man who,
after spending a year recovering in a hospital made his way to the top. As president of one of San Diego's
largest health care providers, Chris Van Gorder is president
and CEO of Scripps health. And just wait until you hear what he
has to say about health care in America. With five hospitals, ten clinics and
12,000 employees, Chris Van Gorder runs one of the largest corporations in the county. Scripps Health is a nonprofit
health care provider. Today Van Gorder is sharing some
good news with his employees. Scripps has made fortune magazine's
list of top 100 companies to work for. It's been an unconventional
road to the top for Van Gorder. He started out as a police officer,
but was seriously injured on duty. Van Gorder spent a year as a patient. And eventually left the force
and changed careers, working his way up in the world
of hospital administration. CHRIS VAN GORDER (CEO Scripps
Health): So I had, I guess, a fairly unique perspective on healthcare. FARYON: When Van Gorder sat down to tell us about his perspective on
healthcare, he was direct. The system in place now isn't
working; it's full of gaps and has left hospital emergency
rooms holding the bag. VAN GORDER: We really do have a national health
care system, it's called the emergency room, but it's a very expensive
way to get health care. FARYON: By law, emergency rooms have to treat
people regardless of their ability to pay. According to a San Diego
study, nearly half the people in emergency rooms could have
seen a family doctor instead. VAN GORDER: We've literally had
generations of families that believe that the emergency room is
their doctor's office. Their parents got care in the emergency
room, so their children now get care in the emergency room because
nobody else will take care of them. FARYON: This kind of treatment is expensive. Scripps absorbed almost $240 million in
medical bills that were never paid last year, other hospitals in the county
report similar costs. Sharp spent more than $257
million on unpaid care. Van Gorder tells a story of
a 63-year-old man who walked into a scripts emergency
room almost three years ago. His diabetes was so out of control,
he needed his leg amputated. He spent a year recovering
in ICU; he had no insurance. VAN GORDER: It cost us over a million
dollars to take care of this gentlemen. That's at cost, a million dollars. FARYON: The story doesn't end there, the
man had nowhere to go when he was better but wasn't well enough to live on his own. So, Scripts paid for the patient to live in
nursing care at a cost of $86,000 a year. VAN GORDER: This is a gentlemen, that because
there is no other program in this country that will take care of him, and he came to our
hospital emergency room, we have now have had to assume responsibility for his life. And we could be paying for his care, unless another system develops,
for the rest of his life. FARYON: Those costs eventually get passed
on to people who do have insurance. It's one of the reasons hospital
fees are so expensive these days and insurance rates are climbing. Van Gorder believes health care would be cheaper
for everyone if everyone had health care. That is, a more regulated system that allowed
everyone to buy in at affordable rates. VAN GORDER: I can't imagine looking
at somebody that needs health care and saying I'm sorry you don't have health
care I'm just going to leave you now. You can't do that as a healthcare provider,
these are human beings that have a right to health care, because we have the
ability of delivering that healthcare. The issue isn't the desire for providers to
give care; it's the economics of healthcare. That's the problem. We need to fix the economics of health care. FARYON: President Obama has committed to the
creation of a health-care-reform bill this year. His proposal for a public healthcare
plan is being opposed by private insurers and has been slow to gain
support from legislators. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and
Human Services was on the NewsHour recently and she spoke about the how the
president's plan would impact all Americans. KATHLEEN SEBELIUS (Secretary, Health
and Human Services Administration): He's a pretty strong proponent of a
new marketplace for those Americans who can't afford the coverage they have, they don't like the coverage they
have or have no coverage at all. A marketplace that would have
private plans standing side by side with a public option some competition
and some choice for consumers, he thinks is a very good thing and so to I. FARYON: We'll continue to cover
this issue here on San Diego Week. Join us again next Friday at night at 7. Thanks for watching.

43 thoughts on “Comparing Canadian and American Health Care

  • Canadian weighing in here if you are urgent u don't wait !!!!! I had a colonoscopy several months back I had to be rehydrated before surgury then after o was there for dinner hour so got a meal in recovery and a taxi chit home didn't pay a cent!!!! I don't make alot of money I'm scared to think what I would have done if I lived in the states.

  • People don't die in Canada because of wait time. Like it was said on the video if it is a priority or emergency you will get treatment. My sister was recently not feeling very well, dizzy spells, cold sweats, etc. She went to the hospital where I met her along with my parents. We patiently waited about 3 to 4 hours for a diagnosis from a doctor. An MRI later my sister was released, eat better and exercise more was the conclusion.

  • I've had MRI's and I have NEVER waited even close to a year for one. That's just bullshit. The wait times are being addressed by training more technicians. Why have an outrageously expensive MRI machine sitting idle outside normal business hours. Staff them around the clock. My last MRI was at 8 PM, and I had a friend who had hers at 3 in the morning. If you want a business hours appointment it may result in a 4-6 week wait. But if you are willing to accept off-hours, it's a couple of days.

  • If it’s a real emergency (in Canada), you DO NOT wait. One example is I was diagnosed with breast cancer and three weeks later I was in the operating room.

  • The lawyer in this video is either stupid, too lazy to bother with facts, wilfully lying or all the above. I will bet he is a paid huckster for big health providers and/or big pharma.

  • So far this year I have had an MRI, CAT scan, two days of cardiac tests at the hospital, countless lab tests, an ultrasound, five specialist appointments, three family doctor visits and have cataract surgery next month. Obviously I am Canadian because all of this has cost me nothing.

  • Mr Liebl is utterly wrong but thats to be expected from someone that has not been part of the Canadian Healthcare system in over 25 years! If he went to a Doctor with his problem in Canada he would of been sent immediately to a hospital emergency to get his leg checked and it would have been done right away(within 24 hours) 10 years ago I had similar issue with my shoulder after failing off my an off road motorcycle. I thought it was just badly bruised but within 24 hours I had sharp pain in my arm, my family doctor told me to come in right away at 9 am before he started his scheduled patients he made assessment and told me he was worried that it could be serious so he called the local hospital emergency letting them know my situation and prepare for me. When I got their, I went thru right away because of the triage system, Seen immediately by Doctor and within 45 minutes had a number of test and scans done I was diagnosed with blood clot in my upper arm and some other muscle ligament damage. Thats my free Canadian healthcare. I was admitted for a few days to deal with the blood clot issue and then upon discharged booked for followup with specialist and also booked with the hospital physio to help with the other damage to my shoulder muscles… 6 months later I had final assessment and all was fine. My Family Doctor right up to the Hospital Doctors, Nurses and Specialist all did the best professionally to help me get better fast with no lasting effects. I also want to say that choosing Manitoba as comparison, why did you not choose British Columbia more on equal footing to San Diego. I don't want to bash Manitoba Healthcare system they do a good job but it should be noted that Canada has one issue that effects healthcare up here and thats the available Doctors especially specialist. In nutshell alot of Doctors don't want to live in Winnipeg Manitoba it the coldest places to live in Canada and also being somewhat isolated from other Medical Centres, creates real problems for Doctor Recruitment. Vancouver British Columbia on the other hand is the Hollywood North with beautiful weather almost year round and close to all the major centres of medical research on the West Coast USA and does not have those kind of problems recruiting Doctors!!

  • As a Canadian I have had to have a few MRI's and Cat-scans and have never had to wait more than 7-10 days and I live in Ontario. Any tests my doctor has ordered I have usually been able to have them done within a week. No matter what you have done you won't get turned away because you can't afford it. Sure…we all want lower taxes but I will gladly pay for universal healthcare. Went to University in the States and had to have an x-ray done…my parents told me if I have to do it again to come home first; it would be cheaper. Not sure how true that is but I know they weren't happy with the bill.

  • There is an awful lot of incorrect information being bandied about on health care in Canada. The bottom line is, our health care is great. Waits are a fact of life like waiting in line at an airport to get through security. I have had much longer waits there than to see a doctor or have tests done. We love to complain about any wait times but I would never trade our system for one like the US is suffering with. My broken wrist took a total of 3 hours from walking in to see a doctor to walking out the door in a cast, not a bad result. Get over it people and be happy that you have a government who understands what the people of their country need and are are constantly working to improve things.

  • We in Canada do not pay taxes for health care. Rather we invest in Public Health. And the dividend is care when and where we need it.

  • I am a Canadian.. I had a CVA in 2013, I rushed to emergency and right there I was CTscanned and admitted. The following day I had an MRI. I stayed 8 days at the acute care hospital and transferred to a rehab facility where I had intense therapy for 43 days, I returned home and was given a caregiver to give me showers 2x a week, with a cleaner weekly, and continuous therapy as an outpatient at the same rehab facility until I am able to walk and talk. I PAID ZERO (I know I already did through taxes deducted from my 30 year employment.)

    Last Nov 27, 2018, I was admitted again due to heart ailment. I had all medical tests done to me within hours of my arrival at the emergency. I stayed in the acute care hospital for 17 days in their effort to stabilize me. Then I was transferred to another convalescing facility for 63 days . I was released last Monday Feb 19th and at home, my caregiving care increased to daily, plus weekly cleaning. I will continue my therapy at another facility as an outpatient.
    I PAID ZERO.
    EVERYTHING COVERED, FREE BOARD AND LODGING, MEDICINE, MEDICAL TESTS, NURSING CARE by the excellent CANADIAN UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE.

  • while I HAVE waited up to two-three months for an MRI (for problems like joint pain), I can usually get a scan within a week or two for anything more urgent. I also take issue with one of the statements in the report, with then gentlemaqn who says he probably would not have seen a doctor in Canada because of the wait time. Now granted, things have improved since this story was filled, so I won;t say the gentleman is lying, but I am 63 years old, and have lived in two separate provinces (important distinction since provinces administer the national program, making it less than "universal"), and I have NEVER waited longer than a day or two to get into to see my family physician. NEVER. To be fair, I do live in a major city now, but in my youger days I lived in a town of 10,000, and again, never had to wait for a doctors appt.

    I don't think this gentleman's statements were intentionally deceptive, and it may have been the case in his province 10 years ago, but it is highly misleading in regards to the general state of affairs under the Canadian system.. And remember the primary truth – no one waits when the problem is life threatening, and for all but the very rare exceptions, Canadians NEVER SEE A BILL.

  • Our healthcare was great until Obamacare kicked in…now it is much higher rates and higher deductibles…I am a fitness junkie and stay healthy so I have needed minimal healthcare. I am sorry but i have heard lots of horror stories about Canadian healthcare. My officer at the fire service took his dad out of Canada and brought him to Georgia and he had aggressive treatment for cancer. His wait time in Canada was over a year for surgery. That seems crazy to me! He paid into the system for lots of years.

  • i have type 1 diabetes and no insurance for the last 7 years….i can't work full time any more so no hope of health insurance through my employer and i work 26 hours per week so i work too many hours to qualify for disability…there are millions of people like me….i could i guess quit working and be homeless so i can die quicker….😢

  • Why the hell why and to what end do Americans think that they are the best at fn anything??.. apart from gun deaths!
    Sure there are things that the US is good at…, but they talk about & tell themselves that the are/ should #1…. F knows…

  • I have lived in the US and I returned to Canada because I had a family, I returned to Canada. Americans have the worst health care and I have never had to wait for anything. The reporter who stated that one has to wait long if you need care is few and far between. I know that I would never live in the USA as their system is the worst in the civilized world. I never have to wait and I get the best care in the world. Thank you Canada!

  • Not just fast food and sitting in front of the TV contributes to obesity. The adding of sugar to foods or corn syrup to drinks all to make them sweeter and therefore to make you buy more of them is expanding the waistlines of so many people. Super sizing foods and drinks like a huge Coke which has about 54 teaspoons of sugar in it. It's not just the US it's all around the world.
    When the first low fat products came out they tasted bland and many had little to no taste at all. So they added sugar to low fat foods.
    Fat was considered the number one enemy and sugar got away without any of the blame. Anyone who said that sugar and the adding of sugar into foods was bad was hounded in oblivion. It would eat into the profits of food companies and farmers growing corn to make corn syrup. Corn to eat via corn off the cob, not enough money in that.
    I heard a comedian describe a workout class. 'Bend over and touch your toes. That's right, stretch come on stretch, imagine your toes are made of chocolate you fat turd!. Unfortunately it's all too true nowadays.

  • It comes down to pigs eating themselves to death, so suck it up, fatties. Send them to the fatty island where they can eat coconuts and drink coconut water. Also, do a little activity, instead of being lazy asses and getting fatter by the day. You are what you eat.

  • I have never had to wait for medical care, nor has anyone in my family. It costs us nothing, except that, yeah, we pay taxes. The lie that those taxes are crippling is ridiculous. Having to pay the huge medical bills for my mother when she broke her hip would have been crippling.

  • I find this a fairly balanced look at health care. As someone who has experienced both health care systems, I'm an American-born Canadian who grew up in the US and now live in Canada, I see the waiting vs the cost problem in the states. The truth is, we Canadians don't wait for most urgent necessary items. What we wait for are non-life threatening specialty procedures. You still can get to a clinic the same day if you have a cold, or something like a sprained/strained ankle. The only thing we wait for are things like the lady in the video, a non-life threatening MRI. These circumstances do happen, but its less stressful than not being able to pay for care. Most people get sick when they can't work. When you can't work in the states for a longer period, you lose health insurance altogether. Its incredibly difficult to get it and maintain it when you're truly sick. Fundamentally, the problems are bigger in the states, but we also need to improve wait times here for sure. One thing I do think the video whimsically focused too much on was the cold weather. Yes, Canada is seasonal! But even in Winnipeg (where I lived for two years) you can jog outdoors well into November and can grab a jacket and easily jog in April. Its not 6 months a year that Canadians spend inside! And Edmonton is colder than Winnipeg, it isn't the coldest city on the planet. LOL Also, just after 17 minutes when the Canadian expat starts to talk, he said he "thought he might have to wait" and goes into the wait list issue. That is just assumption, he would have received fine care in Canada. You don't wait for necessary care. Even an MRI, if you need one in an ER you'll get it same day if you're in need of something truly emergent. In all honesty, if your leg is in pain, you can show up at an ER and request a scan same day, right here in Canada. You just have to ask. I'm surprised even Canadian expats like that guy forget this about the Canadian system so quickly. I suppose his being in the states for 15+ years has erased his memory on that.

  • Wait times ? Its called triage we have the patience and understanding to know that those who have the most life threatening circumstances come first.

  • I'm American living in Canada. It is now 2018. In 2004 I was living in San Diego. I had a fairly good job and had had Kaiser Permanente Health Group insurance for 20 years and the payments per month were acceptable. My last 4 years in San Diego (2001-2005) I was paying Family Insurance Plan payments of $298.00 to $340.00 per month. That was acceptable and I thought is was a great deal and reasonable. Then in 2005 my monthly payments jumped from $340.00/mth to $740.00./mth because the State of California said that Californians now had to pay for Undocumented Immigrants and Welfare Recipients to have Full Coverage as paying enrollees.
    Thank heavens that I had a Canadian spouse who had enjoyed fast service and the best doctors and treatments that money could buy and new the value of Health Insurance. She had been diagnosed with some pretty costly ailments and even though I could afford ailments at the time — my company closed their doors and I was without money to pay so off to her country of Canada we went. Not for me but, for my wife – who already had a GP in Canada. I was completely bafooned at the excellent Canadian Health Care she introduced me to in December of 2005. I became a Permanent Resident in early 2006 and I now was under the same Canadian OHIP Health Plan. It wasn't quite as super as Kaiser at the time — but, pretty darn close. I would say it matches Kaiser and Sharps now in 2018 for the most part. The major difference is we don't have to pay anything and yes MRI's and CT's took a bit of time to get into back in the day (2006) but, now they are readily available in Emergencies and with a few weeks for NON- Emerg cases which I still had to wait for in the MRI Trailers at Kaiser and Sharps. The lines were pretty long just like they had become at Kaiser after new California Health Rules had taken affect — so I was okay with the one hour wait to see the GP that I didn't have to pay for. But, then — I had a bicycle accident and four months later had a brain bleed start and that's when the OHIP Canadian Health System went into action. Paramedics are within 10 to 20 minutes anywhere in Ottawa and I had a CT within 20 minutes of arriving at the E.R. and was at the Brain Center for this stuff within the hour afterwards. I treatment had been started at the ER and the bleed had all but stopped. I had had maybe 3 CT's and three MRI's as I remember before leaving the hospital 12 days later. I had lost my speech so I was ushered into an immediate Speech Rehab for patients like me who could no longer speak clearly because of some brain damage. I went to Rehab for three months and when I left I was speaking with some noticeable stumbling — and went to Group Therapy to continue therapy for the brain injury. I can now give group talks as well as anyone.
    Then — I had a LAD 96% blockage (Widowmaker Heart Attack) for whatever reason as I was an avid bicyclist riding 50 milers all the time…but, in any case — I got to the Heart Institute within 30 minutes and was in the operating room 10 minutes later and got my 3 stints. My cardiologist was none other than the man who started the Stemmy Program which is now all over the world and I am still riding just as hard as ever and giving my dogs 2 to 3 mile walks at break neck walking speeds (my dogs out walk me) and so far I am doing pretty good. Will I ever have another heart attack — who knows? But, for now — I've learned to eat better, stress much less and appreciate the Canadian way of life which includes a great health care system that actually serves the people and saves lives every day. I have NO complaints and say no bad things about the system. If I had stayed in California — I probably would have died twice and even if the Paramedics were to get to me — I'm not sure I would have been able to pay for insurance to save my bacon so — my hat is off to Canadians who make the Ontario Health Insurance Program (OHIP) possible.
    ….and that's not to mention that my GP is a young beautiful blonde who is really smart. I'm an old fart now of 64 this year…15 years her senior. Not to worry — my wife loves her, too.

  • Thanks Dr. Gordon !!! Oh you have to wait…….how sad! I hope your boo boo gets better…..this is so bogus.Canadian Health Care is great. "Wait times" are used to scare Americans.

  • The difference in healthcare costs between San Diego and say Bloomington Indiana is huge. WHY? In the rest of the 1st world healthcare is free. It's called civilization. Try it! You'll like it.

  • "If you could pay, you should be able to get the exam sooner."
    I find this shoking ! The problem is when there too few equipment, and the waiting list is established, of course, on the base of urgency.
    But I don't like the idea that paying would make someone be taken care of before someone who would need it more urgently.

  • Fuck the immigration lawyer all he says is that he thought he would have had to weight resulting in his death. That would not happen, never have I ever heard of someone waiting for months to see their doctor. If I have an issue I book an appointment and go see my doctor that day or a few days later at the latest.

  • There is no comparison, Canada's system is better for everyone except the very rich who can afford to skip lines and pay the excorbitant costs in the US.

  • You can talk about waiting all you want but Emergencies don't wait. Yah I've had to wait for some procedures but if I had to pay for it out of my own pocket it would never happen.

  • As to the wait times I developed cataracts and to see my optometrist who immediately referred me to a specialist within 6 weeks I received surgery on my left eye and got the right eye done 3 months later and that three month period was to be sure there were no complications with the first surgery and that I would at least have vision in at least one eye.

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