I keep getting into arguments with Republicans or fiscal conservatives who are otherwise liberal (pro-choice, pro-marriage equality).
Yesterday I went to dinner with some friends and among them was this conservative Canadian who was disappointed Obama won. As a business owner who works “hard” to grow his business into an international franchise and as a job creator (he used that term), he said he wanted someone who understands that the economy depends on making business such as his grow. We talked debt, economy, socialism, among other topics and I countered his arguments with mine (The Daily Kos/Immizen view – Immizen.com is my lil blog), but when it came to discussing Obama's healthcare law as it compares to the Canadian healthcare system, I was at a loss for arguments because I am not familiar with the Canadian system, but also because his story was shocking, perhaps bordering on unethical.
Before writing this article I did a little online research. Wikipedia has some nice sections that discuss “Criticisms” about “waiting times” and “Canadians visiting the US to receive health care”, among others, but if there are Canadians in the house tonight or people who know more about this I’d like to hear from you. Is the Canadian system offering a substandard quality of service compared to the US?
The “Health care in Canada” Wikipedia page says that
A Strategic Counsel survey found 91% of Canadians prefer their healthcare system instead of a U.S. style systemBut it also says
Respondents rated quality of service as excellent (36% Canada, 40% US), and being very satisfied with health care services (42% Canada, 53% US).When our conversation turned to healthcare, the Canadian guy recounted his own experience with the Canadian system. He said he had some skin pigmentation or spots and that in Canada he had to wait forever to get an appointment and then the doctors would dismiss it and just give him creams and tell him it was “nothing” serious. When he went to a doctor in the US, since he lives here, the doctor did a biopsy and diagnosed it as skin cancer. He tried to get an appointment to have the skin cancer excised in Canada but as it took too long, he went to a doctor here at the US, paid $20,000 to have it removed and now he has peace of mind.
I honestly have a hard time believing that the Canadian doctors would not have diagnosed the skin cancer. I was also shocked that he had to pay $20,000 for skin surgery. He seemed to be happier about getting the procedure done promptly even if it cost him so much money (but the guy has money) than having to wait to get treatment or a proper diagnosis elsewhere. I think he should have gotten a second opinion here in the US. Maybe that surgery was not necessary. I believe there is a psychological/emotional aspect that makes us want to deal with health problems immediately. I understand that.
I wonder if the experience by this Canadian is an outlier and how to ensure that these issues don’t occur with Obamacare.
Update: I thank you all for your comments and I agree that this case is an outlier as patients with abundant cash are rare. I also agree that sometimes aggressive treatment is not necessary and even counterproductive. And as mankoff said, conservative PMs have cut the health care budget in Canada, which is equivalent to US Republicans blocking of Dem initiatives, and then people blaming Dems for the economy. And of course I agree that a "Fee for Service" healthcare system sucks and relieved that it will soon be a thing of the past!