Tips from a Friend up North on the Canadian Health Plan
December 3, 2007
Contributed by an American Citizen
This was sent from Canada to a friend in the States.
I saw on the news up here in Canada where Hillary Clinton introduced her new health care plan. It's something similar to what we have in Canada. I also heard that Michael Moore was raving about the health care up here in Canada in his latest movie. As your friend and someone who lives with the Canadian health care plan, I thought I would give you some facts about this great medical plan that we have in Canada.
First of all:
1) The health care plan in Canada is not free. We pay a premium every month of $96 for my wife and me to be covered. Sounds great, eh? What they don't tell you is how much we pay in taxes to keep the health care system afloat. I am personally in the 55% tax bracket. Yes, 55% of my earnings go to taxes. A large portion of that and I am not sure of the exact amount goes directly to health care: our #1 expense.
2) I would not classify what we have as a health care plan; it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get into to see a doctor quickly enough so he can tell you "yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation" but now the challenge becomes getting treated. We have long waiting lists, some as much as two years down the road.
3) Rather than fix what is wrong with you the usual tactic in Canada is to prescribe drugs. Have a pain? Here is a drug to take- not what is causing the pain and why. No time for checking you out because it is more important to move as many patients through as possible each hour for Government reimbursement.
4) Many Canadians do not have a family doctor.
5) Don't require emergency treatment as you may wait for hours in the emergency room for treatment.
6) My wife's dad cut his hand on a power saw a few weeks back and it required that his hand be put in a splint - to our surprise we had to pay $125 for a splint because it is not covered under health care plus we have to pay $60 for each weekly visit to get it checked.
7) Her cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage and put on a waiting list. He died before he could get treatment.
8) Government allots so many operations per year. When that is done no more operations, unless you go to your local newspaper and plead your case and embarrass the government; then money suddenly appears.
9) The Government takes great pride in telling us how much more they are increasing the funding for health care but waiting lists never get shorter. Government just keeps throwing money at the problem but it never goes away. They are good at finding new ways to tax us, but they don't call it a tax anymore; it is now a user fee.
10) A friend needs an operation for a blockage in her leg but because she is a smoker they will not do it, despite her paying into the health care system all these years. My friend is 65 years old. Now there is talk that maybe we should not treat fat and obese people either because they are a drain on the health care system. Let me see now, what we want in Canada is a health care system for healthy people only. That should reduce our health care costs.
11) Forget getting a second opinion, what you see is what you get.
12) I can spend what money I have left after taxes on booze, cigarettes, junk food and anything else that could kill me but I am not allowed by law to spend my money on getting an operation I need because that would be jumping the queue. I must wait my turn except if I am a hockey player or other athlete; then I can get looked at right away. Go figure. Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not be allowed to spend money to get healthy?
13) Oh, did I mention that immigrants are covered automatically at tax payer expense having never contributed a dollar to the system? They pay no premiums either.
14) And we now give free needles to drug users to try and keep them healthy. Wouldn't want a sickly druggie breaking into your house and stealing your things. But people with diabetes who pay into the health care system have to pay for their needles because that is not covered.
I send this out not looking for sympathy but as the election looms in the States you will be hearing more and more about universal health care down there and the advocates will be pointing to Canada. I just want to make sure that you hear the truth about health care up here and have some food for thought and informed questions to ask when broached with this subject.
Step wisely and don't make the same mistakes we have.