A Canadian on Canadian Healthcare

Back when the Affordable Care Act was being debated, prior to it becoming law, the opponents resorted to an infinite number of tactics to kill it, often times resorting to distortion of the facts and outright lies. Since its passage the Tea Party controlled House of Representatives has voted to kill ObamaCare over forty times and most recently brought about the shutdown of the federal government trying to prevent the law from being funded.

While I have never liked the ACA I have supported it as a step in the right direction. What I want is a single-payer, government operated system that provides universal coverage for all Americans, regardless of income. A Medicare for all similar to what exists in our neighbor to the north, Canada. However, anytime one refers to the Canadian or British systems the far-right critics come out of the vapor spewing all sorts of claims about the national healthcare programs in these countries being total failures. I have listened to countless debates about the ACA, read any number of news articles, a couple of books on comparative healthcare systems, and talked with a number of Canadians and Brits about the reality of their systems. I have yet to find any significant evidence that ACA’s critics claim. I have not yet spoken to a Canadian or British citizen who speaks badly about their nation’s system

In the past year I have made a couple of Facebook friends who are citizens of countries who have universal healthcare systems. One of them is Tracy Tom…..n who is Canadian and lives in British Columbia. I recently ask Tracy to speak about their system and the following is the exchange between the two of us. I hope you’ll find his remarks informative.

QUESTION: Tracy, in the past several years I’ve spoken to several Canadians, including a cousin who is a registered nurse living outside Ottawa, and they have all spoken highly about their health care system. I’ve also read a lot about the negative claims made

by America’s far right and found the facts don’t support their claims. As a Canadian I would appreciate your comments. I know that no system is flawless so include the bad with the good. Thanks.

ANSWER: “You are so right about all the misinformation and propaganda that has been poked out by the extreme right. Our system as a whole works pretty good and is very flexible. The single most important difference between our systems is that ours is a single payer program. Contrary to the propaganda about government not being able to run efficient programs, the results of ours has been to eliminate gobs of duplication and plough that money into the Health Services people need rather than waste it on paper work shuffling.

Wait times are another tool the right tries to use as an argument. My last knee surgery was a three-week wait from diagnosis to the operating table. My surgeon is one of the best in the province, not just some young graduate fresh out of school. No deductibles…no copay…show up at the hospital, have the procedure, a few days of great care, and home to heal. All physio covered and 80% of drugs covered. My wife has issues that require a lot of pain blockers, some of the pills were very expensive, almost $20 each. Needless to say this burden would be beyond our ability to pay the full price…so our system asks that we pay a deductible of $250 and after that they pick it up for the rest of the year. Do people fall between the cracks still? Sure they do…it happens in any system, and these are the stories the right-wing troll for to use as propaganda. You never see them post any of the millions and millions of stories about the successes of our system! I wouldn’t trade ours for yours for anything!

And on another note…if I do have to wait for more than a few weeks, our system pays me 75% of what my wages were before being laid up. I will receive that until ready to return to work. If I am unable or unfit to return to my old job, then there are sponsored programs at no cost to me to retrain and re-educate. In my case I took early retirement to enjoy what’s left of my life at 62 years old!

Now, just what part of Tracy’s remarks make me think Canadians are displeased and croaking early due to inadequate health care availability?

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