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Canuckistanian at DU lists some of the words every American knows but that mean virtually nothing to Canadians under their universal single-payer health insurance system:

Words you'll never hear in the Canadian health care system

  1. "Out of network"

There are no "networks" in Canada. Doctors and hospitals are not affiliated with private insurance companies. Doctors are private business entities and hospitals are usually run by non-profit boards or regional health associations.

  1. "COBRA"

Health coverage is NOT tied to your place of employment in any way. So any COBRA-like scheme is unnecessary.

  1. "Co-Pay"

The government pays 100% of basic care, 100% of the time. Drugs are not covered, but are subsidized by government to a point. And because of mass buys, discounts are obtained from the drug companies. That's why our prices are so much lower. Most employers offer a drug plan that pays for 100% of drug cost coverage.

  1. "monthly premium\deductible"

Wazzat? We don't consider our health to be the same as our possessions.

  1. "waiting for approval"

Doctors are the sole decision makers for health care. NOBODY influences or delays their decisions, warns them of costs or prevents them from giving treatment for any reason.

  1. "Government interference"

The provincial government in each province PAYS for whatever services doctors provide. No questions asked. Unless the procedure is experimental, not medically necessary or unwarranted, doctors cannot deny basic care - by law.

  1. "Health insurance lobby"

There are NO insurance companies for basic care, only companies for providing insurance for travelers. No money to be made here.

  1. "bureaucracy"

When we visit a hospital or doctor's office, we walk in, get treated, walk out. No "applications", "registrations" or any other kind of paperwork is required. We NEVER have to talk to a single "government official" or wait for a "judgment".


This is such a foreign concept to us. A Canadian's usual reaction to the explanation of this term is astonishment.

I'll add a few more words to the list:

  1. "rescission"

Your health insurance won't be cancelled when you need it most, i.e., when you get sick. That's the whole point of having insurance, isn't it?

  1. "individual rates"

There are no individual rates based on your age or medical status. The premium for everyone in a provincial plan is the same.

  1. "uninsurable"

No one is uninsured or uninsurable. Everyone is covered.

  1. "profit"

There's no private insurance companies offering coverage for primary medical care, so there's no question of profit, no corporate bottom lines to incentivize screwing people out of the medical care they need.

It's a shame something as transparent, straightforward, and unbureaucratic as the universal single-payer system Canadians and other citizens of developed nations enjoy is not even being considered by Obama and the Dems in congress. More Americans may get health care insurance out of these health care reforms, at a more affordable price, and that's a good thing. But true bold change isn't even being proposed, just tinkering with the existing system, and I can't help thinking that it's a shame. Opportunities for sweeping change don't come often, and this one is being missed.

Originally posted to Alien Abductee on Tue Jul 21, 2009 at 11:02 PM PDT.


Do you think you'll be happy with what comes out of the current health care reform process?

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