Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Canada's Ass-Crack Health Care System

I lived in Canada for a long time. Too long. Yes, the people are nice. That is, pleasant to be around in most situations; but, most Canadians I've known, and most metropolitan Canadians in general, share conspicuous tenets that I find intolerable: the pair of sacred cows that are their versions of socialized health care and gun control. That's why I left. That, and I'm a proud American who had been away from home too long. It wasn't my fault, my parents moved there when I was a toddler.

Anyway, now I'm back, and I have a short story.

I've been getting strange symptoms for the last two years or so, which my friends describe as painless migraines. I lose peripheral vision in one eye (or some similar symptom, that's how it starts) and start to feel wonky. Sometimes I get a mild headache as the vision symptoms subside. I have a really hard time concentrating and reading during and after these episodes. Now, long story short, I went to the doctor yesterday with an appointment I'd made a couple hours earlier. The doctor was very pleasant, and though she figured it was nothing serious, she wanted me to have an MRI to be thorough, since the symptoms started after 30 years of age.

I called the MRI facility today, and they scheduled an appointment for me. They apologized that it would be such a long wait for the diagnostic test: eight days. Contrast this with what I already knew and what Walter Williams was kind enough to print at Capitalism Magazine today
Is Canada better? In her book, Sally Pipes reports the case of 58-year-old Canadian Don Cerniz, who noticed blood in his urine. It took three weeks to get his first test and another month for an MRI, and treatment for his cancer didn't begin until six months later. According to the Vancouver, British Columbia-based Fraser Institute's yearly survey of medical waiting times, Cerniz was lucky: "The median wait for an MRI across Canada was 12.6 weeks. Patients in Prince Edward Island experienced the shortest wait for an MRI (six weeks), while Newfoundland residents waited longest (33.5 weeks)." Overall, Canada's total waiting time between referral from a general practitioner to treatment averaged about 18 weeks in 2004.
I've had near first-hand experiences like this while living in Canada. My roommate's girlfriend was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She had to wait over a month for surgery to remove the cancer. A month! No kidding, with the cancer growing all the time in her neck. Thank God I was never really ill or injured there.

The other thing that many Americans, who tout the Canadian system, are shocked to learn is that besides providing so called universal health care the Canadian government has made ANY private health care of medically necessary procedures ILLEGAL. I am not joking. The socialists saw that Britain's socialist health care system sucked and they figured it was due to allowing private care alongside the public stuff. The mantra of the indoctrinated is no two-tier health care system.They didn't understand that socialist health care simply sucks. So Canadians wait in lines. My father always told me the truism that you pay with money, or you pay with time. Canadians pay with time.

I'm omitting other debacles that are the Canadian health care system. I know our system has severe problems, but they aren't caused by the free market. Read Williams' piece, and you will see that it is caused by government intervention and lack of free market. And if you search elsewhere, it's clear that trial lawyers, like John Edwards, really stink the place up.

No Universal Health Care!

Stickwick's Note: Even Finland isn't this hardcore socialistic about their healthcare system, since their socialists allow private healthcare. Mr. Stapers comments that he isn't aware of any major differences between the quality (per se) of private vs. public healthcare in Finland, but he does note that the benefit of using a private hospital is that you get to choose your own care. If you use a public hospital, who knows what kind of treatment they've got in store for you, and you just have to accept it. I.e. if the docs would rather amputate your leg than operate on it, tough beans for you.


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