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I am an American now living in Canada and cannot sing the praises of the Canadian healthcare system enough... And I have worked in the American healthcare system for 16+ years (non-clinical support services)... so I know a ~little bit~ about it...

Three years ago this coming September (9/11 actually) my big strong steel worker of a husband had a massive stroke...for about 6 weeks it was touch and go if he would live at all...four of those six weeks he was in ICU with round-the-clock, one-on-one nursing care. And that care was excellent, state of the art. Not one bed sore, not one mishap...

He had surgery to remove a huge blood clot from his brain. He was paralyzed on his right side and unable to speak. He was in a coma for most of the time in ICU and on a ventilator and had a feeding tube....He was in the hospital for about three months in total.

He is now on the mend. His right leg has improved to the point that he can now walk about 2 miles each day with just a cane...and he is getting his speech back. His right arm and hand are still paralyzed, but they tell me that in time it will come back too. Probably not 100% though....

My husband, a Canadian Citizen, has paid into the healthcare system via his *gasp* taxes all of his working life. As a result, we have had to pay ZERO for the excellent care he has received... I am sitting here looking at two statements from the hospital that detail just some of the charges. These ARE NOT bills...

For example... He had 10 CT scans while in the hospital at a cost of $44.55 CN EACH...

That's a total of $455.00CN or about $400.00 US

As far as I have been able to discover, the average cost of ONE CT scan in the States is $1,186 US

You do the math...

The ONLY thing we paid for was a $45.00 charge for the ambulance service. It is a private service. I haven't SEEN any charges from the Neurosurgeon nor any of his other 4 physicians who have been consulting on his case...and I won't.

When he first came home, he received physical therapy in our home, and then after about a month he began to attend physical, occupational and speech therapy...three times a week for 18 months, on an out-patient basis...all paid for by the Province...

We received help in outfitting our home for his disabilities...all paid for by the Province... etc., etc., etc.

He received specially fitted/molded braces for both his leg and his arm/hand... He is receiving botox injections every three months...at $1,700 per round of shots...all paid for by his employer's insurance...They pay for ALL of his medications...

He receives home care visits twice a week...to help with a shower and his exercises at home...and to give me a few hours of respite, to go to the store or just to sit and read if I want...

His $5,000+ wheel chair was paid for through his employer based insurance and the Province. The insurance pays 25% and the Province 75%.

He is 100% disabled and receives about $2,700.00 per month from the Province and his employer's insurance (each pays half) in disability payments.

Granted, as with ANY system there are problems (although I've not encountered any yet) but if this had happened in the States....well, I shudder to think where we would be right now... It was such a shock AND a relief when I arrived at the hospital to find that no one was demanding to know how we planned to pay for his care... A swipe of his Health Card, and I was ushered into the ER to be with him...No one even MENTIONED money at ANY time...

And that lack of added stress at a time when stress was my constant companion, was, and is....priceless.

Thank you Tommy Douglass

Originally posted to SaraBeth on Mon Jun 22, 2009 at 08:39 AM PDT.

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