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PinkPanther

Health care: Canada’s system ...

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PinkPanther

Everyone has their opinions, and I don't know to what extent these are opinions or facts, but found it interesting nevertheless (the article, not the comments from yahoo readers ;) )

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/davidvsdavid/health-care-canada-system-no-longer-considered-point-183628818.html

Edited by PinkPanther

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Karen

Our health care system is far from perfect, but it is also far from terrible! You may be lucky and have it work for you, or you may not.

It is used and abused and underfunded in areas where it should have more, but, for the most part, it works on some, if not all, levels.

You just have to learn to take the good with the bad of the system and exercise a great deal of patience, which can be very difficult.

Waiting months for specialist appointments, diagnostic procedures and non- elective surgeries, is a definite con to the system. It will only ever be rectified by introducing a two tier system to free up the public one a bit.

I believe the system, as it is now, is not sustainable in the long - term, what with an ageing population and governments bent on cutting back.

Time to look at models from other countries such as Australia etc. I want to the choice to fast track if I can. I don't want the government making decisions about my health care and when I can access it.

Having said all of this, I am grateful not to pay out of pocket of many services the system provides, but then my taxes are high enough to ensure I am really paying through the nose, anyway!

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Sideline

Welcome back Karen, you have been sorely missed whilst being locked out.

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CharleneK

It's true that you have to wait long for elective or non-urgent care. However, the system really comes into its own in case of an emergency. It's very reassuring to know that you get high quality, (mostly) timely emergency care at no cost to you. Some of the emergencies experienced by my family over the past decades would have bankrupted me in most other places, but here it didn't cost me a cent. Of course, my US brother requiring hernia surgery while traveling without insurance was not so lucky...

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Jules

I think SAns accustomed to having good medical aid and therefore access to private healthcare in SA will find Canada's government health to be a step down. And the fact that you cannot access many services faster even if you want to pay cash is frustrating - but it's the basis for universal healthcare that all are treated equal.

Overall I would rate the system here as ok. Obviously helps if you have a good family doctor. If you must depend on walk-in clinics then it gets frustrating.

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Nelline

I am used to the UK's NHS (which worked fine for us by the way). So far, so good with the Canadian system as well. Fingers crossed.

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Karen

Went for my mammogram today, as I do every two years. I am part of the Ontario Breast Cancer Research project, and have been going to the same local hospital for this test for years now.

I was taken exactly on time. The mammography unit is new and state- of - the art. Changing rooms clean and lockers provided for my clothing. Staff all professional, polite and friendly. Equipment all the latest.

Four pictures later,I was out and dressed and on my way. If more images are needed, I will be called to return. If not, I will get a letter in the mail in about a week or two from the radiologist with my result and when next to return.

No money changed hands for this, and I will never see a bill. My health card was swiped on arrival, and that was that.

Sometimes you just have to marvel at the system!

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Sheryl

Yes, I had the same excellent service for mine a few months ago and must say I am grateful for the medical treatment I have received thus far. Fortunately I am healthy and (touch wood) haven't needed anything of a serious nature attended to. I just remember that taking out medical insurance the final year we were in SA cost a fortune (and this was only hospital insurance!) Well, I have to say I kept doctors' visits to the minimum as it started really eating into our pockets!

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Tracey22

I find myself more willing to go to the doctor, and take the kids to the doctor than in SA, simply because it is all prepaid out of my taxes, and there are no co-payments. i think we are a healthier family as a result. Another consequence of the National health is that because I am not paying for the doctor each and everytime I go, I am keeping up with the 6 monthly checks at the dentist. I am more willing to make those payments to ensure the dental health of the family is maintained. i commented to the dentist that in SA, I could go 2 to 3 years without seeing the dentist. here, I go every 6 monthys, as do the rest of the family.

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Merv

Need to chime in here, although the health system is fine for most things, where it really falls down is if you need to get (expensive) prescription medication. Gov't health plans do NOT cover medication (unless you receive them as an in-patient). Case in point (and I am not looking for sympathy), late last year I was diagnosed with a central retinal vein occlusion (basically a stroke or blood clot in the main vein exiting the eye. The prognosis is severely restricted central vision in the affected eye, treatment is a series of injections (with about a 30% chance of success) into the eye at $1800 PER INJECTION! (no typos there). Our private health insurance (my wife and I are both self employed and don't have the luxury of company sponsored medical plans) only covers us for $4000 per year (which for "normal" stuff is fine). Now, I don't know about you guys, but I certainly don't have that kind of spare cash lying around.

In Ontario, there is a gov't sponsored plan (Trillium Drug Plan) which will help out, but the deductible is based on income, and in our case, once approved, we will be responsible for the first $900 per quarter of expenses. Still a hefty chunk of change to be shelling out (especially if you (like most people) haven't budgeted for that extra expense).

SO, if someone tell you that we have "free" health care, don't believe them. Eye care (corrective lenses and so on), are also not covered by Gov't, neither is dental care.

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Tracey22

Health care is not free - it comes out of our tax dollars. But in SA I was paying 13% VAT, tax on petrol and 40% income tax - and still had to pay for medical aid, and all the things medical aid did not cover. Here, I pay roughly the same amount of tax, and still do not have to pay to see the doctor or most hospital expenses. Give me Canada's system over SA's system any day.

What Canada gives is access to healthcare for EVERYONE.

I took my son to Emerg yesterday, and the wait to see the doctor was the same as if I went to casualty in Linksfield clinic in SA. I did not have to pay a cent. In SA, I would have had to pay a deductible, and any shortfall that my MSA did not cover. I remember that I would run out of MSA benefits by August each year with discovery - so if I was there today, I would have been paying R7,600 PER MONTH to discovery, to only run out of benefits by August, and still have to continue with the R7,600 per month until December, when I would renew coverage again in Jan.

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Merv

Yes Tracey, no-one is arguing with you that primary health care is streets ahead of what we were used to In SA in many respects. Yes, although there is no out of pocket expenses, NORMALLY. to see a doctor, there are also exceptions to that. Some tests, for example, are not covered by provincial health e.g. PSA testing for men (prostate cancer screening). If you need an ambulance, you may well also get a bill for that, depending on circumstances

The point I was trying to make though, is if you have any significant MEDICATION expenses, you are pretty much on your own (for most people) unless you are covered by private/supplementary health insurance (which, being self employed, we cough up for to the tune of, if memory serves me correctly, about $400/month). In our case, the drug benefit only covers us for $4000 / year, which for the average person would be more than sufficient, but when you are hit with $1800/month for a single medication, that runs out pretty quickly.

Similar situation with dental and eye care, the province doesn't pay for that (unless you are on a gov't disability or hardship program)

btw, you were extremely fortunate to have such a short waiting period in the emergency, normally, unless things are life threatening, you can wait many, many hours to be seen. The emergency dept's work on a strict triage system, not in order of first come first served.

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Karen

I agree with Merv about having to be out of pocket for meds and treatments that the health plan should cover, or at least cover most of. People have to take out additional mortgages to pay for essential treatments, and this is most unfair. Physiotherapy is another case in point. My private med insurance here, gives me $500 per annum. Not much at all when each physic appointment is about $70 and the initial assessment $100. As a result, you can use up that $500 in no time at all, and then you have to pay yourself. So, I just don't go when I should, and how good is that?

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