Discussion of Canadian Health Care-Mostly Truth!
Comments on Canadian Health Plan as Part of Debate about Senator Hillary Clinton's Health Care Proposals-Mostly Truth!
Summary of eRumor:Prompted by Senator Hillary Clinton's health care proposals, the writer of the eRumor says all is not well in Canada where a universal health care plan has been in effect for a long time.
This is a complex story and some of it, such as whether Senator Hillary Clinton's health care proposals have merit, is a matter of political, social, and economic opinion.
We don't have a name for the writer of this eRumor or whether it was really written from Canada or not, but we can look into some of the specific topics it raises.
First, health care polices and prices in Canada may differ from province to province. The national government sends health care dollars to the provinces but the provincial and territorial governments each establish their own guidelines.
Some of the topics in the eRumor are personal and about people in the writer's family and we can't document those. Other topics are commentary, but here are some of the issues raised:
Canadian health care is not free and is funded mostly by taxes-Truth!
Most Canadians pay an annual health care premium that averages several hundred dollars per month. Low income families and those on assistance are exempted. But the bulk of health care costs is paid for by taxes. Whether the writer is really in a 55% tax bracket or not is not known. The Canadian Federal Finance Department estimates, however, that Canadians pay an average of 35% to 40% in income taxes.
There are long waiting lists for treatment in Canada-Truth!
Even the most enthusiastic of Canadians admit that the health care system can be sluggish when it comes to getting treatment. It's technically illegal for doctors and hospitals to provide private care for anything that is covered by the government health care system, but there is a growing industry of private hospitals where people can pay for services that they would otherwise have to wait a long time to get.
Many Canadians do not have a family doctor-Truth!
Most Canadians do have a family doctor but if you don't have one, finding one may be difficult. There is a shortage of physicians in Canada and you must find a family doctor who is accepting new patients. In 2004 the Canadian Medical Association estimated that about 14% of Canadians did not have a family physician.
You could wait many hours in an emergency room for treatment-Truth!
Almost anybody anywhere in the world has stories of long waits in emergency rooms--mostly because unless your problem is life-threatening you'll not get the attention of those who are facing more serious problems. But is is true that in Canada the lines at emergency rooms are legendarily long.
Immigrants get health care coverage in Canada-Truth!
According to the Canadian Government, immigrants are eligible for health care coverage under the Canada Health Act, although in some provinces there may be a 90-day waiting period.
Drug addicts get free needles but diabetics must pay for needles in Canada-Truth! & Fiction!
The Canadian government began needle exchange programs in several areas of Canada in the 1980's. The goal was to fight the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C by reducing the number of contaminated needles being used. Medical supplies for diabetics, however, including needles are covered by the health plan.
A real example of the eRumor as it has appeared on the Internet:
For those interested in the Hillary and other Social Democrat Health Care plans, here’s something from a Canadian on their social plan. One thing they don’t point out is when the Canadian Medical plan runs out of money (sometimes as early as Sept.) then only the critical can even be seen or cared for. No other illnesses or injuries can be seen until the following year. Government operating the Medical Plan in the US will result in poorer medical care and much higher taxes. The estimated cost for the Hillary plan are already known to be a small fraction of what the “REAL” cost will be (and that is going to be paid by you in taxes and premiums).
Subject: Health Care
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. 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 Canada 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 Shirley and I 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 health care plan, it is more like a health diagnosis system. You can get into to see a doctor quick enough so he can tell you “yes indeed you are sick or you need an operation” but now the challenge becomes getting treated or operated on. We have waiting lists out the ying yang some as much as 2 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 thru as possible each hour for Government re-imbursement
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 waiting for treatment.
6) Shirley’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 visit for him to check it out each week.
7) Shirley’s cousin was diagnosed with a heart blockage. Put on a waiting list 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. But 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 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 athlete then I can get looked at right away. Go figger. Where else in the world can you spend money to kill yourself but not 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 and pay no premiums.
14) Oh yeh 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 it is not covered but the health care system.
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.