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View Diary: Health Care Friday (126 comments)

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  •  Thank you and Zakarriah (7+ / 0-)

    for getting out the most important policy number in a North American context. Canada's health care system is spectacularly cheaper than the U.S. system. And having joined the ranks of heart attack survivors a year ago I can tell you that the care is second to none when the chips are down. I probably got several hundred thousand dollars worth of super high-tech care, the ambulance was at my hous faster than I could put on my clothes (I was functioning and not in much pain, just short of breath), the emergency workers were spectacularly competent and caring, the surgeons the same, the operating room spectaclarly high tech with six to eight highly paid people on the job. Total cost: $75.00 for the ride back home from Toronto (since my son who was with me doesn't drive) plus $50.00 for eight weeks of uncovered and excellent (optional) cardiac rehab classes.

    The reason the system here is cheaper: it is administratively simple, doctors are always paid so they can charge a little less, everything is bought in bulk since it is one big system.

    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:43:15 AM PST

    •  Zakaria (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Churchill, axel000

      Zakaria, Zakaria, Zakaria. That should do it.

      We have only just begun and none too soon.

      by global citizen on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:44:44 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  What insolvent Social Security system? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ferg, Churchill, Robobagpiper

      Fareed must be talking out his ass again, because his head knows better.
      We really need to kill that meme.

      St. Ronnie was an asshole.

      by manwithnoname on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 06:52:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I agree (0+ / 0-)

        It might need some adjustments especially to the upper salary level that is taxed but I do not think that it is too far off. The Canadian adjustment was fairly minor and they timed it well by doing at a time of very low unempoyment when there was a surplus in the unemployment insurance fund adjusting that slightly downwards as they adjusted the social security tax upwards.

        A national single-payer health insurance would solve the Medicare and Medicaid deficits so it makes some sense to fix it all at the same time. They could probably fix social security out of the efficiency savings on health care if they had the courage to just take out the private insurance schemes -- though there would be job losses because a unified public system would need fewer clerical workers and accountants both in insurance companies and in doctor's offices.

        We have only just begun and none too soon.

        by global citizen on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 07:40:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Our Soc Sec system isn't involvent, liar zareed (0+ / 0-)

        SIGN UP for NetRoots Nation! 80 % of success is just SHOWING UP

        by Churchill on Fri Feb 20, 2009 at 08:56:18 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I recently saw Sicko for the first time (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tmo, global citizen

      It blows my mind that Canadians can fall ill, or be injured, and they all just go see a doctor.

      They don't hesitate, wondering which portions of their care their expensive insurance company will deny them coverage for, they don't dread having to pay out-of-pocket expenses for prescriptions if they're uninsured, and they don't have to just blow their illnesses and injuries off altogether because they are uninsured and cash poor... They just go, and let doctors and nurses take care of them.

      I don't blame Canadians one bit for refusing to let American health care providers lay a finger on you without insurance from Canada.

      I had no idea that I had yet more capacity for amazement at how willing (eager, even) the U.S. government is to sit back with it's feet kicked up on a desk and see it's citizens be robbed by the profit motive.  I thought I hit my limit, but it turns out there's more disbelief in me.

      Right now, I've got a sinus infection.

      Were I a Canadian, I would have already been to see the doctor and the infection wouldn't have a chance to become unmanageable - I gather.

      But I'm an uninsured American. The doctor's "visit" alone (30 minutes of filling out redundant paperwork, 30 to 60 minutes of waiting alone in an examination room  and a two minute pat-n-chat with a doc) approaches unjustifiable. I liked my doctor and he liked me but why the fuck would I pay hundreds of dollars for that? It's a quarter of my mortgage - for two lousy minutes of his time.

      And we haven't even broached the subject of what Big Pharma will charge me to unload a barrage of their finest newfangled antibiotics on this thing.  

      The last time I got a sinus infection, my general practitioner (who's since retired) openly acknowledged that there was no way in hell I could afford the medication. We treated the infection with a series of samples and I was all but asked not to return - he had been my doctor for 20 years.

      It boils down to this: they don't want cash customers anymore. Plain and simple. I'm too poor to play.  

      But the infection is back... Now what?

      If memory serves, my former doctor mentioned something about surgery being necessary if the infection becomes chronic.

      Surgery? Not happening.

      I'm not selling my home for surgery on my sinuses. I won't trade the security of having a roof over my head for that. I shouldn't have to. So I won't - no matter what.

      I the idea that there are millions (perhaps tens of millions) of taxpaying Americans facing problems like these down every day while our politicians rail against the very "socialized" medical care that they themselves are afforded... Appalling.

      Totally. Fucking. Appalling.

      •  hm... (0+ / 0-)

        This is why I believe a huge part of the problem in America is education. I recently got a sinus infection as well and when I finally decided to stop sucking it up and get treated for it, I was walking out of a clinic with my prescription within 2 hours of deciding I needed to go. When I hear people discuss how long they had to wait at a doctors office/ ER/ etc... the problem is usually misuse of resources on their part.

        I work in an ER if the reason we are so inundated and have such huge wait times is that people misuse and abuse the ER. You wouldn't believe how often you hear "I'm not dying, I shouldn't have to wait this long!" in an EMERGENCY ROOM.

        As a side point, if you've been in the military like I have, you've experienced America's version of socialized medicine and it SUCKS. Tricare is the most inefficiently managed health care system in the universe. If you want to fix America's health care system, you start with the law suits and the HMOs.

    •  have to disagree... (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, that's not at all why it's cheaper in Canada. It's expensive as hell in the US for many reasons, most of which fall under the category of "lawyers". Doctors can charge less in Canada because they don't have to pay INSANE insurance fees on their license.

      I submit that the US also spends so much on health care because it has so many people, not to mention a much more diverse social structure (see: more poor people who can't pay for insurance OR medical fees).

      Bottom line, I think when people point out how screwed up our health system is (which can't be understated), I think it's an easy trap to fall into to compare us to other countries because it's really comparing apples to oranges.

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