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A reminder of how things are going up North:

The system is beset by problems. According to the Canadian Medical Association, roughly 4 million to 5 million people don’t have a family physician.Patients wait for practically any problem, sometimes with disastrous results. A Montreal woman died recently after waiting four days in a hospital ER, the last of a string of Quebec deaths that led the head of that province’s College of Physicians to hope openly for a “miracle.”

Even according to government statistics, Canadians wait too long for everything from surgeries like knee replacements (seven provinces fail to meet the benchmark wait times) to MRI scans. In other words, by the governments’ own standards and data, Canadians wait too long for care, even after massive increases in spending.

In the past few decades, in order to bend the curve of health costs, provincial governments have trimmed back on the supply of care: reducing the number of medical-school graduates, removing hospital beds, and failing to invest in new diagnostics and pharmaceuticals.

It’s the reason that Regina is so lacking in CT scanners (a 1970s technology). Indeed, Canada sees half as many CT scans performed per capita as the United States.

2 Responses to “Insurance is Not Care”

  1. I have a Health Card says:

    Professor Rizzo it is not often that I disagree with you, but these reports on Canadian Healthcare (and there are a lot of them), are so blown out of proportion it is stunning. You can read just as many reports that claim we have lower wait times and better services than the US. Reports on both ends all twist the facts and present a depiction of Canadian Healthcare that is completely false.

    I would never claim our Canadian healthcare system was perfect, or even good for that matter. It is quite simple: if you are severely injured you will not wait. If you are not severely injured you will wait, and probably a long time.

    I recently ate dinner with a former Economics Professor at Harvard University, he is now the CIO of Manulife Securities in Canada. He moved here a few years ago. He remarked that one of his biggest problems with moving to Canada was his belief that Canadian healthcare was terrible and wait times were enormously long. He based this belief on reports he had read. Having moved here and experienced our healthcare system, he told me he was stunned at how much better it was than he EXPECTED. Still not great, but not as bad as Libertarian media portrays it to be.

    “Roughly 4-5 million people don’t have a family doctor”, and yet every single clinic rotates their doctors to handle people who don’t have a family doctor. Perhaps you don’t get to know one doctor as well as you would like, but clearly this statistic is twisting the facts, making it seem like not having a family doctor means you have no coverage at all.

    Your second paragraph contradicts many arguements you’ve made in the past. “Canadian patients wait to long” – according to who? (-the canadian gov’t…since when do you believe gov’t standards and convictions) Like you taught me, “Everyone has a right to healthcare”- To what extent? A bandaid is healthcare, so is a heart transplant.
    To long is very subjective in a world with limited supplies and unlimited demand, just like a right to healthcare is to vague. Even in a perfect healthcare system people would have to wait. That could be considered to long to some.

    Using one example of a Montreal woman waiting 4 days in a hosptial is insane. Firstly because it is a single example, and using one example is irresponsable. Secondly because the story is severely exagerated. She was 86 (NOT TO SHABBY) and appeared to be in no immediate harm. She was in a hospital bed and was receiving treatment, she just did not have a room. Her bed was in the hall, but otherwise was the same as any other patients. “Waiting in ER” is a little exagerrated don’t you think?

    Now I am not a proponent of public healthcare at all. I think Canada has it wrong and I think Obama has it wrong. Insurance companies should be able to offer their services across borders, patients chose the doctors and treatments they prefer, and altogether the industry needs to be less regulated. But I hate when people twist facts to try and prove a point.

    No offence intended, as I always I agree with yoru underlying message, just this time I do not approve of the approach.

  2. wintercow20 says:

    The last two paragraphs, and the title of my post, are the important ones. The point simply is that just giving someone an insurance card does not mean they get care. And that is as true here as there. Nothing else is intended. Of course, those are not my words, but an article from a respected publication. In any case, the second paragraph that you find distasteful is making the point that the UK is dealing with already – that the current way of doing business is unsustainable. Now of course, “our” way of doing business is also “unsustainable” whatever that word means. But just thinking we could be more like Canada and avoid the problems we are worried about, is well, unhealthy.

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